Biden sets out route map to net zero economy

US President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled his plans for a comprehensive strategy to combat climate change and build sustainable solution for power and transport across the country.

Biden’s election has been welcomed by environmentalists as he pledged to sign the country back up to the Paris climate change accord on the day he takes the Presidency on 21 January 2021.

He has also set a target for the USA to become a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

Earlier in his election campaign President elect Biden said: “I know that climate change is the challenge that’s going to define our American future- ad I know meeting this challenge will be a once in a century opportunity to jolt new life knot our economy, strengthen our global leadership, and protect our planet for future generations.”

Now his team have begun to spell out his aims for the next four years and climate change is high on the agenda.

Under a Biden administration, investment in sustainable jobs and transport will be ramped up.

The Democratic party’s plan will see a range of initiatives across a number of sectors:

  • Auto Industry: The creation of 1 million new jobs in the American auto industry, domestic auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure, from parts to materials to electric vehicle charging stations, positioning American auto workers and manufacturers to win the 21st century; and invest in U.S. auto workers to ensure their jobs are good jobs with a choice to join a union.
  • Transit: Provide every American city with 100,000 or more residents with high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options through flexible federal investments with strong labour protections that create good, union jobs and meet the needs of these cities — ranging from light rail networks to improving existing transit and bus lines to installing infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Power Sector: Move ambitiously to generate clean, American-made electricity to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. This will enable us to meet the existential threat of climate change while creating millions of jobs with a choice to join a union.
  • Buildings: Upgrade 4 million buildings and weatherize 2 million homes over 4 years, creating at least 1 million good-paying jobs with a choice to join a union; and also spur the building retrofit and efficient-appliance manufacturing supply chain by funding direct cash rebates and low-cost financing to upgrade and electrify home appliances and install more efficient windows, which will cut residential energy bills.
  • Housing: Spur the construction of 1.5 million sustainable homes and housing units.
  • Innovation: Drive dramatic cost reductions in critical clean energy technologies, including battery storage, negative emissions technologies, the next generation of building materials, renewable hydrogen, and advanced nuclear – and rapidly commercialize them, ensuring that those new technologies are made in America.
  • Agriculture and Conservation: Create jobs in climate-smart agriculture, resilience, and conservation, including 250,000 jobs plugging abandoned oil and natural gas wells and reclaiming abandoned coal, hardrock, and uranium mines — providing good work with a choice to join or continue membership in a union in hard hit communities, including rural communities, reducing leakage of toxics, and preventing local environmental damage.
  • Environmental Justice: Ensure that environmental justice is a key consideration in where, how, and with whom we build — creating good, union, middle-class jobs in communities left behind, righting wrongs in communities that bear the brunt of pollution, and lifting up the best ideas from across our great nation — rural, urban, and tribal.

“From coastal towns to rural farms to urban centres, climate change poses an existential threat — not just to our environment, but to our health, our communities, our national security, and our economic well-being,” said the Biden team.

“It also damages our communities with storms that wreak havoc on our towns and cities and our homes and schools. It puts our national security at risk by leading to regional instability that will require U.S military-supported relief activities and could make areas more vulnerable to terrorist activities.”

It added the current COVID-19 pandemic “reminds us how profoundly the energy and environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities — allowing systemic shocks, persistent stressors, and pandemics to disproportionately impact communities of colour and low-income communities”.

President Elect Biden has also pledged to deliver a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

“At this moment of profound crisis, we have the opportunity to build a more resilient, sustainable economy — one that will put the United States on an irreversible path to achieve net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050,” said his campaign team.

“President-elect Biden is working to seize that opportunity and, in the process, create millions of good-paying jobs that provide workers with the choice to join a union and bargain collectively with their employers.”