Breakdown of Biden’s $1.7 Trillion Climate Plan

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Kim Chwalek

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I'm a 25-year old girl based in Denver, Colorado. Kim Collective is a space where I share about beauty, faith, food & home, style, travel, well-being, and everything in between. Thanks for stopping by!

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It’s time to dispel the myth that strong environmental policy is bad for economic growth. Biden’s plan to spend $1.7 trillion over four years to escalate the use of clean energy across sectors will create climate-friendly economic opportunities.


What are the benefits?

First, the initiative will create 10 million new jobs by aiding millions of workers in transitioning away from polluting industries and toward clean alternatives. According to the 2019 U.S. Energy Employment Report, 611,000 people worked in zero-emission technology industries in the United States. Within these industries, solar installers and wind turbine technicians are the two fastest growing occupations through 2026 at 105% and 96% growth, respectively.

Second, clean energy investment creates a technological edge. In 2017, China invested $4 in renewable energy for every $1 in America. Today, it’s time for America to step forward as a world leader in clean energy research and investment. This research and investment is favorable for growth. Economists estimate that increasing infrastructure investment by 1% of GDP can raise growth by 0.4% to 1.5%.

Third, environmental policy protects people. Climate change poses a great threat to our environment, health, and economy. In 2019, 70 million tons of pollution were emitted into the atmosphere in the United States. According to JAMA Network Open, approximately 200,000 Americans die every year from air pollution. The National Academy of Sciences also found that 3 to 10% of Americans live in areas where water quality is subpar. To protect the health and well-being of our citizens, the United States must step up its environmental policies.


What will Biden’s plan accomplish?

To breakdown Biden’s Climate Plan, I focused on seven categories: construction, energy, environmental management, international governance, national governance, research, and technology.

I. Construction

Creating millions of jobs building and upgrading to a cleaner infrastructure.

  • Initiate the construction of 1.5 million energy-efficient homes and housing units

  • Upgrade 4 million buildings over four years to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency

  • Promote installation of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations by 2030

  • Ensure climate resilience of military bases and security infrastructure

  • Invest in railroad system and municipal transit networks


II. Energy

Investing $400 billion over ten years in clean energy and innovation.

  • Cut net U.S. emissions to zero by 2050

  • Achieve an emissions-free power sector by 2035

  • Reduce carbon footprint of U.S. building stock by 2035

  • Create net-zero emissions standard for all new commercial buildings by 2030

  • Encourage the installation of millions of new solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines

  • Keep in place existing nuclear energy plants

  • Invest in advanced biofuels

III. Environmental Management

Protecting America’s air, water, and land.

  • Conserve 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030

  • Permanently protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  • Ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters


IV. International Governance

Engaging the international community to strengthen climate and energy policy.

  • Re-enter Paris Agreement

  • Convene a climate world summit within 100 days

  • Demand worldwide ban on fossil fuel subsidies

  • Stop China from subsidizing coal exports and outsourcing carbon pollution

  • Ensure Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Export-Import Bank, and new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation significantly reduce the carbon footprint of their portfolios

  • Impose carbon adjustment fees or quotas on carbon-intensive goods from countries that fail to meet obligations

  • Seek 620 commitment to end export finance subsidies of high-carbon projects

  • Reform IMF and regional development bank standards on debt repayment priorities for development projects

  • Create a Clean Energy Export and Climate Investment Initiative to promote clean energy exports and investments to advance climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience

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V. National Governance

Strengthening policies that support net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • Restore full electric vehicle tax credit

  • Target airline emissions by encouraging new aircraft technology and standards

  • Require aggressive methane pollution limits for new and existing oil and gas operations

  • Establish an office of environmental and climate justice at the Justice Department

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by implementing Clean Air Act

  • Require public companies to disclose climate risk and greenhouse gas emissions

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VI. Research

Supporting investment in clean energy research.

  • New research funding and tax incentives for carbon-capture technology

  • Invest $400 billion over ten years in clean energy research and innovation

  • Direct Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to report on the impacts of climate change of defense posture, readiness, infrastructure, and threat picture

  • Commission a National Intelligence Estimate on national and economic security impacts from climate change

  • Establish ARPA-C, an Advanced Research Projects Agency, that will focus on grid-scale storage, small modular nuclear reactors, climate-friendly refrigeration and air conditioning, zero net energy buildings, decarbonizing food and agriculture sector, and capturing carbon dioxide from power plant exhausts

VII. Technology

Investing in new zero-emission technologies, including advanced nuclear reactors, direct air capture, and renewable hydrogen.

  • Accelerate deployment of carbon capture sequestration technology

  • Invest in farm equipment that captures planet-warming methane emissions from manure

  • Use the Federal government procurement system to work toward 100% clean energy and net-emissions vehicles


Who’s Paying for it?

Biden plans to pay for this plan by Increasing the corporate income tax rate to 28% from 21%, as well as using stimulus money.

Will it pass?

What will block Biden’s climate regulations?

  • Biden’s $2 trillion investment plan will only pass if Democrats win the Senate

  • The 6-3 Conservative Majority in the Supreme Court may also pose challenges

What initiatives will support Biden’s climate regulations?

  • Biden has pledged to sign a series of executive orders that focus on combating the global climate crisis

  • Future coronavirus relief bills may include substantial clean energy infrastructure spending

What are states currently doing to improve their carbon footprint?

To learn more about individual state actions, check out this article from the Business Insider.

  1. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham pledged to reduce GHG’s by 45% by 2030

  2. Colorado Governor Jared Polis committed state to 100% clean electricity by 2040

  3. Oregon lawmakers introduced cap and trade proposal that would set a 52 million metric ton cap on GHG emissions

  4. 29 states, 3 territories, and Washington D.C. have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards

  5. Over 35 cities set a goal of 80% emissions reductions by 2050 and over 400 mayors honor Paris Agreement

Will it be enough?

That’s the big question. Will we be able to execute on our lofty goals? We have a long way to go. In my recent article, “U.S. Energy Factsheet: Exploring Our Energy System,” I broke down America’s energy production, energy consumption, and electricity generation by energy source. Here, I outlined that fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—accounted for about 80% of total U.S. primary energy production in 2019.

To achieve a carbon-neutral economy, America must be prepared to phase out coal-fired plants by the end of the decade. Will we succeed? Let’s see if Biden’s Climate Plan passes first.







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