Joe Biden pitches net zero emissions by 2050 with $5T climate plan
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is pitching a $5 trillion-plus climate proposal that he says would lead the U.S. to net zero emission of carbon pollution by 2050.
Biden’s plan calls for US$1.7 trillion in federal spending over 10 years, with the rest of the investments coming from the private sector. Biden, who discusses the plan in a video posted online, proposes covering the taxpayer costs by repealing the corporate tax cuts that U.S. President Donald Trump signed in 2017, while eliminating existing subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
“Science tells us that how we act or fail to act in the next 12 years will determine the very livability of our planet,” Biden said in a statement ahead of the plan’s unveiling Tuesday. “That’s why I’m calling for a clean energy revolution to confront this crisis and do what America does best — solve big problems with big ideas.”
Biden, who announced his candidacy in April and is the clear leader in recent national and early-state primary polls, is offering his climate plan as some of his rivals suggest the 76-year-old former vice president is not bold enough. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said last weekend at the California Democratic Convention that “some Democrats in Washington believe the only changes we can get are tweaks and nudges.” She added: “If they dream at all, they dream small.”
The former vice president’s outline tracks some ideas of the Green New Deal pushed by many Democrats in Washington, though Biden isn’t as aggressive in his timeline for curbing emissions.
Biden’s outline is similar in size and scope to what former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke has proposed. Biden falls short of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s pitch for $3 trillion in federal spending over a decade, which Inslee says will spur $6 trillion more in private investment.
Biden’s plan hinges on tax breaks, direct spending and federal regulatory power. He’d start with reversing many actions of the Trump administration, which itself sought to roll back a range of Obama administration efforts on energy and the environment. Biden would add an aggressive push on the world stage, using U.S. political and economic muscle to limit emissions from other nations, including China.
He acknowledges how such an overhaul would affect existing U.S. energy market workers, coal miners and power plant operators especially. He calls first for pension and benefit protections for all such workers; and, though short on specifics, he promises an “unprecedented investment” in retraining and redevelopment programs for those communities.
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