Biden Outlines 2 Trillion $ Climate Plan

July 16, 2020

Biden outlines climate plan, meat starts about 6:20 above.

New York Times:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced on Tuesday a new plan to spend $2 trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building sectors, part of a suite of sweeping proposals designed to create economic opportunities and strengthen infrastructure while also tackling climate change.

In a speech in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Biden built on his plans, released last week, for reviving the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, with a new focus on enhancing the nation’s infrastructure and emphasizing the importance of significantly cutting fossil fuel emissions. As he denounced President Trump’s stewardship of the virus and climate change, he drew criticism from Republicans — but he also faced a key test from progressives who have long been skeptical of the scope of his climate ambitions.

“These are the most critical investments we can make for the long-term health and vitality of both the American economy and the physical health and safety of the American people,” he said. “When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax.’ When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs.’”

The proposal is the second plank in Mr. Biden’s economic recovery plan. His team sees an opportunity to take direct aim at Mr. Trump, who has struggled to deliver on his pledges to pay for major improvements to American infrastructure.


Tom Vilsack, the former US secretary of agriculture, advised Biden on his rural climate action plan.

“It all starts with the understanding that agriculture is key to getting a handle on climate change,” Vilsack, who was also previously governor of Iowa, told me Wednesday. “We’ve got to use our rural lands more effectively to get agriculture to net-zero carbon.”

Agriculture is a leading contributor to climate change through petrochemical fertilizer over-application, CO2 emissions from ethanol plants, methane from livestock production, and soil degradation. Vilsack says the sector can be turned into a hero in the climate battle by paying farmers to prevent pollution and sequester carbon.

“The idea is that we can’t regulate our way to net-zero. We have to incent farmers to do what they want to do and know how to do. You do that through increased conservation payments. And, you recognize that society has got a stake here, and that foundations and corporations should invest in paying farmers to sequester carbon. We need to create a carbon market that actually works,” Vilsack told us.

The Biden plan raises the idea of a “voluntary” carbon market. That’s all he can do going into an election. Taxing energy brought out the yellow jackets in France. Taxing carbon emissions cannot be avoided following the election – volunteers will not create the necessary scale. But there are experiments underway with private-sector carbon trading schemes that are interesting pilots. While carrots are always better than sticks, at some point the US has to lead the world by taxing carbon emissions. We don’t have much time.

Times again:

Still, his climate plan does appear to have made some inroads with progressive Democrats.

“This is not a status quo plan,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a prominent environmentalist who ran a climate-focused campaignfor the Democratic presidential nomination and later endorsed Mr. Biden.

He added: “It is comprehensive. This is not some sort of, ‘Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change.’” Mr. Inslee called the proposal “visionary.”

Mr. Biden’s plan outlines specific and aggressive targets, including achieving an emissions-free power sector by 2035 and upgrading four million buildings over four years to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency.

Mr. Biden’s remarks sometimes assumed a populist bent, directly challenging Mr. Trump’s efforts to woo workers in the industrial Midwest with promises of “America First” job policies. As Mr. Biden discussed converting government vehicles into electric vehicles, he promised that “the U.S. auto industry and its deep bench of suppliers will step up, expanding capacity so that the United States, not China, leads the world in clean vehicle production.”

Guardian again:

Otherwise, Biden’s $2tn energy plan is comprehensive, bold and optimistic. It promises to revive struggling auto towns in the midwest by building a new fleet of electric vehicles (a road the industry is already on). Since most renewable energy projects require land, rural areas are positioned to win with a wave of investment in wind and solar that brings hi-tech jobs to little towns along country blacktop roads. I know, because I live four miles away from the largest wind complex in North America, in Storm Lake, Iowa. We could reap even more benefits if we could clear transmission and grid bottlenecks to get clean, low-cost windpower from north-west Iowa to Chicago. Biden addresses it with a smart-grid plan backed up by massive battery banks.

Already, Iowa produces about half its power from wind. Even Texas loves wind energy. This is something around which conservatives and liberals can come together.

Other important solutions are at hand – planting cover crops for fall and winter to hold soil, suck up nitrogen and sequester carbon; planting grass along rivers to prevent pollution; new feedstocks such as sweet sorghum or hemp for carbon-neutral biofuels production: and on and on. The Farm Bureau on the right and the National Farmers Union on the left agree. We can reduce pollution of the Gulf of Mexico, and offset much of our carbon footprint, by planting a third more grass and a third less corn. By enforcing anti-trust laws already on the books, huge food conglomerates that are burning down the Amazon rainforest can be brought to heel.

Biden describes a civilian climate corps to help build conservation infrastructure, methane capture from livestock operations, and restoring public funding for research universities that were purchased over the years by Monsanto and the Koch brothers.

This is not the greenest of platforms. But it’s plenty good for Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, who ran for President on the climate platform. Inslee said he was “thrilled” with the Biden framework and called it “visionary”.

It’s an excellent start for agriculture and food security. It recognizes that our food system will kill us at the current rate, but we can adapt it for rural prosperity and global security. We can clean up our water, make land more resilient to impending heat and drought, and meet our food production demands while reversing a decades-long policy of disinvestment in rural America. Sustainable agriculture will also mean healthier food.

Biden offers an ambitious start that is politically calibrated not to do him in – because if he doesn’t win, all the best ideas are but dust blowing over the Kansas plains on a hot July day.

5 Responses to “Biden Outlines 2 Trillion $ Climate Plan”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    It’s all about the US Senate.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    There is still a lot to do.

    CAT would rate existing US target under the Paris Agreement “Insufficient”, as it is not stringent enough to limit warming to 2°C, let alone 1.5˚C. However, given the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the rate is “Critically insufficient”!


  3. J4Zonian Says:

    $10 trillion would at least be in the realm of sanity, and a goal of zero emissions (net negative emissions through forestry and permaculture by 2030. Since we’ve spent more than $7 trillion on wars in the Middle East in the last 20 years, a lot more than that on tax cuts for the rich, fossil fuel subsidies, and corporate bailouts this year, where the money could come from is obvious.

    This guy is more conservative than Obama or Clinton. His political career is an unrelenting push for right wing causes. His bjullsjhitting here and everywhere else is meaningless. When the best we can hope for from a president is that his dementia keeps him from doing too much damage (as mental illness keeps the current guy from doing more) it’s time to do whatever it takes to create another choice.

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