As President Joe Biden visited catastrophe sites from California wildfires to hurricane-induced flooding in Louisiana and New York this summer, he stated that climate change is everyone’s concern and that America must take the code red threat posed by global warming seriously.
The president is making up for a lost time in several ways. After years of fits and starts, Biden and Democrats are seeking a massive USD 3.5 trillion federal overhaul that include groundbreaking steps to address climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions in what would be the most impactful environmental policy ever implemented.
When being side-lined after the previous administration withdrew from the landmark Paris climate agreement in 2015, the US has returned to the arena, with Biden pledging international leaders in April that the US will cut carbon pollution in half by 2030.
However, carrying out Biden’s climate ambitions is dependent in large part on the approval of the Democratic package, and it will take the White House’s clout to broker a settlement between centrist and progressive members, including disagreements over the package’s climate elements. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., said of Biden, “That’s where he earns his legacy.”
As Democrats rush to complete a package that touches practically every element of American life, climate change ideas are proving to be a sticking issue, particularly among important moderate senators. The president met with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona on Tuesday, as Democrats work to reduce the overall cost of the package and rally support. Democrats have little votes to spare as they try to approve the bill on their own, with Republicans united in their opposition.
This is Speaker Pelosi’s grand socialist scheme to undermine freedom and strengthen our enemies on the backs of American families, said Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Nonetheless, the climate provisions are among the most significant aspects of the vast plan for many Democrats and the voters who elected them. According to a poll conducted last month by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 83 percent of Democrats are very concerned about climate change, while only 21 percent of Republicans are.
A statewide clean-electricity program is included in the enormous measure, with the goal of eliminating climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035, catching up to rules currently in place in several states.
The idea would invest billions of dollars to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and modernize the electrical grid to make it more resilient during hurricanes and other extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent and intense as a result of climate change. The bill would also establish a Civilian Climate Corps in the vein of the New Deal to mobilize an army of young people to work on public lands and restoration projects.
The climate catastrophe has arrived, and the cost of inaction is already astronomical, according to Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey. In 2020, the United States saw 22 climate and weather disasters, each with costs in excess of one billion dollars. Hurricane Ida, as well as other recent disasters, are expected to cost tens of billions of dollars more.
The House is prepared to consider a reduced USD 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure. Some of these concerns are addressed on Thursday, with funds for climate adaptation, water system renovations, and other provisions.