Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

U.S. climate change policy is set for a different approach, following the results of the Presidential election. This article aims to take a look at the President-elect Joe Biden’s plan on the climate change policy and some of his climate action goals.

Electric Cars/ Automobile Emission

Biden mentioned he aims to get the US back on track to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris-Agreement. He also plans to implement a federal procurement program for clean vehicles and set a goal for all new American-built buses to be zero-emissions by 2030. To achieve this, he plans to endow US$2 trillion into research and development goals, including creating millions of construction , skilled trade and engineering jobs to build the new infrastructure while providing pathways for workers of all ages and people from background.

He aims to work to increase demands for American-sourced clean vehicles, especially in fleets, while encouraging consumers and manufacturers to move to electric vehicles through programs, one of which is the Clean Cars for America proposal to replace old automobiles.  

With a view to improve the electric vehicle growth, he also aims to accelerate battery research and plans to procure US$ 400 billion for batteries, electric vehicles and upgrading of industrial manufacturing processes over the next four years.  This includes creating a new Advanced Research Projects Agency on Climate that examines on a variety of low-carbon options and technologies.  He eagers to beef up the supply chains for clean industries, invest in national labs and etc.

Climate Diplomacy

Biden would return the US to a leadership role on climate change, re-entering the US in future climate negotiations to advance the goals of the 2015 Climate Agreement, the global pact made five years ago among nearly 200 nations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.   Biden said he will bring the U.S. back into the Agreement as early as February 2021.    

The Agreement is a non-binding agreement amongst nations to reduce emissions and keep the increase in global temperatures well below 2 degree Celsius, or a 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels.

Once the U.S returns, the agreement requires countries to set voluntary targets to reduce domestic emissions and create stricter goals in coming years.  The Paris Agreement has also implemented a binding requirement that countries are required to accurately report their progress.

It is apparent that Biden’s environmental plan and goals will be a huge undertaking, but it will set the U.S. on the right path to being environmental.

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