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An Analysis of Biden's Climate Plan

For the Joe Biden administration, the environmental issue has been one of the most problematic and entangled, despite being at the forefront of his campaign.

Joe Biden

Photo: TW-JoeBiden

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: EE.UU: Análisis del plan climático de Biden

The White House and the Democratic Party have been in constant negotiations with the congressmen, for nearly a year and a half, to advance various reforms with a wide impact. The Senate and the House have approved the " Inflation Reduction Act". It is a plan that covers the climatic, fiscal, and sanitary areas of the country. Three very sensitive issues in the current context.

The economic package will have 433,000 million dollars in investment, which will be used to carry out an environmental plan never seen before, as well as to regulate the price of medicines and energy, and ensure access to medical treatment or health services.

The plan has drawn both criticism and praise. An example of this is that in the Senate the vote was 50 vs. 51. In fact, the tiebreaker was given by Kamala Harris, the vice president. One of the most controversial issues has been the regulation of drug and energy prices. Likewise, there are questions, mostly from Republicans, about whether it will really help regulate inflation in the country, since they assure that the government should not invest in these issues and that this will only stimulate higher inflation.

 

We recommend you read: Why is Biden Breaking his Environmental Promises?

What about the climate plan?

This plan proposes the investment of around $370,000 million to combat climate change. The document published by Congress, focuses on 5 main points:

  • Lower the price of energy for Americans: Reduce the cost to households in electricity bills and help finance technologies that reduce energy prices and emissions.
  • Increase American energy security: it will invest in green energy projects, at the same time that it is intended to end dependence on China. This, is supported by an investment in clean technologies and an increase in jobs.
  • Invest in the decarbonization of all sectors of the economy through federal programs that support the creation of climate solutions.
  • Focus investments on disadvantaged communities.
  • Support rural communities to be resilient to climate change, through investment in environmentally friendly agriculture.

The Democrats maintain that this project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. They assure that there will be tax deductions for the stimulation of renewable energies. At first glance, everything seems positive. However, it is a 730-page document.

 

Although this climate plan is more ambitious than one might expect from Republicans, it also has certain areas that raise questions. In the first place, it is a less ambitious plan than the one originally presented by Biden, since to get the votes and its approval it had to be negotiated and reformulated.
 
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin was one of the people who put up the most resistance to the initial plan and with whom Biden had to negotiate. However, this negotiation was not gratuitous. An investigation by the New York Times denounced that the climate plan will benefit large oil pipeline giants, such as the Mountain Valley company Machin, known for its business in the mining and energy industries, which has reportedly managed to win profits for large oil and mining companies. In this way, more oil and gas explorations on public lands were guaranteed.
 
In this regard, various environmental organizations and scientists have pointed out that it is a suicide pact. Although, on the one hand, investment in renewable energies is promoted, on the other, fossil fuels continue to be promoted. Nor should we forget that with the war in Ukraine, the United States has enormously increased its gas exports to Europe.
 
The Center for Biological Diversity has released a statement assuring that there are several "poisonous pills" in the "Inflation Reduction Law", in environmental matters. "A proposed climate and energy package would require massive leasing of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, reinstate an illegal 2021 Gulf lease sale, and mandate millions more acres of public land to be offered for lease before any new solar or wind power. Projects could be built on public land or water," their statement said.
 
In this way, the stimulation of the production of fossil fuels enters into a clear contradiction with the climatic objectives suggested by the government. However, it also reflects that the ambition is focused on energy security and not necessarily environmental security. Despite investment in renewable energy, it is difficult for these investments to compensate for the damage that new projects related to extractivism may cause. We must not forget that the Supreme Court also cut the power of the Environmental Protection Agency EPA  which cripples the possibility to fight these measures. 
 
The real problem is that the rest of the world depends on the policies implemented by China and the United States in climate and environmental matters since their impact is enormous. So the world expects a real commitment from these powers. Any step forward is good, but in the face of crisis, there is no chance of going back.
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