The US has taken a 180 degree turn in the attitude towards climate change after the new president Biden took office, who has commented on his determination in fully implementing anti-global warming actions, and will be stipulating high standards of emission, as well as adopting a series of measures, which resulted in the leaders of more than 150 US businesses endorsing the new president. The business leaders announced their support towards the new administration’s target in climate change in an open letter to the president, and emphasized that the new technology for alleviating climate change will be able to improve the unemployment predicament of the country after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The historical unemployment crisis of the US is just about to start after a population of 24 million has been diagnosed with the virus, which will be the hardest issue to tackle for Biden. As of the week of January 16th, the US unemployment statistics indicate that a population of 900K is still applying for new unemployment benefits, and a total of 16 million people have lost their jobs as of January 2nd. The existing job opportunities in the US have been reduced by 10 million compared to the period prior to the pandemic, and several millions of workers have exited from the labor market.
Climate change was used by Biden as one of the pillars for his campaign during the election, who proposed a US$2 trillion program that comprises of reestablishing US infrastructures through sustainable methods, upgrading buildings and creating energy-conserving housings, as well as investing in the development and commercialization of clean energy technology so as to create job opportunities.
Biden had commented in August, “I heard jobs when I heard climate change.” He also said that good salary and federal job opportunities will resolve climate and unemployment crisis simultaneously.
On the day of his inauguration, Biden announced the return to the Paris Agreement, and revoked the drastically diminished environmental regulations and emission standards that were implemented during Trump’s presidency. He also plans to announce the target of carbon reduction during February, which is the realization of 100% clean electricity by 2035 through the courageous economy recovery plan, as well as zero emission by 2050. Renewable energy accounts for merely 11% of power in the country right now.
Biden aims to achieve a green economy. According to the analysis of foreign media, there are many ways for Biden to allocate the resources of the federal government to battle climate change, such as directing departments like the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement sustainable standards for new or upgraded economically affordable housings, whereas the Department of Transportation can also shoulder the responsibility in constructing additional charging stations for electric vehicles, or spend more money on public transportation. The US Department of Agriculture is also going to be working with local farmers on lowering the emission of greenhouse gases for the animal husbandry, which accounts for approximately 10% of the total greenhouse gas emission in 2018 for the US. The most important aspect is that the US government will be the biggest purchaser, and Biden’s administration is now able to invigorate and achieve a green economy through federal procurements.
Biden’s climate agenda is his economic agenda, which is why his ambitious fight against climate change has started to receive spotlights from all sectors. John Forbes Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, had clearly pointed out during the summit that was attended by the Vice Premier of PRC, Chancellor of Germany, President of France, and the Prime Minister of the UK, that Biden’s administration not only has a target in carbon reduction, but also plans to implement substantial domestic and foreign investment in climate actions.
US business leaders are also praising Biden’s policy, including Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce), and Bill Ford of Ford Motor Company. Apart from business leaders, several celebrities have also signed on the public letter to Biden, such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
The public letter states that “despite the unbelievable challenges introduced by climate risks, they are also the biggest economic opportunities for innovation, the creation of job opportunities, new businesses, and community investment”, and claims that Biden’s administration promises to reestablish a prospective future through clean energy jobs and the resolving of environmental injustices, which are consistent to the requirements of science and the future. The public letter states that “we will achieve this ambitious pursuit with all of you”.
(Cover photo source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore CC BY 2.0)