The former vice president unveiled his plan to tackle climate change, saying it would create millions of jobs.

Image: Matthew J. Lee/Boston Globe

By Alexandra Patel and Miro Korenha 

Critical to Democrats in the upcoming 2020 election is the stance the newly elected president will take on climate change and the impact it will have on America’s future. On Tuesday, June 4th, Presidential candidate Joe Biden made his position clear through his newly-released climate plan.

Why this matters: Compared to other nations, the United States is woefully behind on addressing climate change. According to the 2018 Climate Change Performance Index, America is ranked 56th out of 60 chosen countries and rated as ‘very low’ in its preventative measures toward climate change. Along with most Democrats, Biden is fighting to reverse this trend and aims to embrace climate change in his orientation of international and domestic policy. This is a MAJOR turnaround from the 2016 campaign where climate change was hardly discussed. The fact that the frontrunning candidate as well a plurality of other Democrats have released similar plans shows just how big of a national issue climate change has become.

At its core, much of his new climate plan echoes the Green New Deal, which Biden cites as being “a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face”.

  • Biden proposes that America can reach the standards needed to combat climate change by becoming a 100% clean energy economy and reaching net zero emissions no later 2050 (with an enforcement mechanism to achieve the 2050 goal in place, no later than the end of his first term in 2025).
  • Biden’s goals are ambitious, even more so than the ones originally set forth by former-President Barack Obama. They also include a $1.7 trillion-dollar federal investment over the next 10 years funded by reversing tax cuts made for corporations during Trump’s presidency.
  • Furthermore, Biden has pledged to reject any campaign contributions coming for the coal, oil and gas industry along with their executives.

Impacts of Climate Change

  • The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees F (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.
  • While global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century, the rate has nearly doubled since that of the last century in the last two decades.
  • The number of record high-temperature eventshttps://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low-temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.

Key Climate Change Plan Proposals

  • Biden’s campaign told CNN that he plans to invest $400 billion in research between universities and the private sector, and that further investments from state and local governments, along with private companies, will push the total to $5 trillion.
  • The new climate plan will recommit the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement as well as enable the United States to lead the effort on pushing every major country to increase their domestic climate targets.
  • Confronting industries that have contributed to disproportionate amounts of pollution toward communities of color and low income.

The reaction by green group’s to Biden’s plan has been largely positive. 

One last note:  Monica was asked to provide informal advice to the Biden campaign on this plan and she did.  We just thought you should know.  

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