Biden’s Plan to Battle Climate Change

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A man protesting outside of parliament.

Madeleine Miller, Staff Writer

     “We can’t continue to try and ignore reality. President Obama used to say, ‘Reality has a way of working its way in.’ And the reality is: We have a global warming problem,” Biden said, pitching his bipartisan infrastructure package in Boise, Idaho, where he was touring the National Interagency Fire Center. 

     Last week, Biden was visiting Idaho, California, and Colorado, touring the facilities that deal with natural disasters or climate change, such as the National Interagency Fire Center and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). He also was visiting, in person, various areas and counties that were destroyed by forest fires this past summer. He used this fact to stress the urgency of climate change, and pointed out the damage of forest fires to defend his climate change agenda. 

     Currently, Biden is putting forth a lot of time and effort to brainstorm ideas and put plans into action as a means of getting in front of climate change and he has created a two-part agenda to start our way on changing things. His $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill has been passed and now he and other Democrats are fighting to get the second part of his agenda, a $3.5 trillion spending package, passed as well. 

     While in Colorado, Biden visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory  in Denver, where they agreed to spread the word to help try to convince people to pass or support Biden’s spending bill.

     Forest fires sparked the recent motivation in Biden, but it goes far past that. He has a goal to eliminate the carbon emissions from fossil fuels in the power sector by 2035 and to have it completely eliminated from the U.S. economy by 2050, all while transitioning the economy towards renewable sources. Biden plans to use tax incentives to invest in and support clean energy and electric vehicles. He wants to spend money rebuilding damaged communities, restore damages and ensure communities can handle natural disasters and infrastructural crises later on. 

     In the Senate, where they are voting to pass the $3.5 trillion spending package, it is evenly split between the Republicans and the Democrats. Biden is struggling to get the Senate in his favor and is working to gain the support of two key Democrats, Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, to pass the Senate. Republicans are unified in opposition in Congress, framing Biden’s agenda as socialist and will harm the economy. 

     “The Democrats’ reckless tax and spending blowout will impose punishing fees and raise energy costs,” Senator John Barrosse (R-Wyo.) said, claiming that the bill would make energy less reliable and would cost thousands of people their jobs. However, Republicans aren’t the only ones with concerns. Several Democrats are worried about the amount of money Biden plans to put into his plan. 

     Joe Manchin has trouble supporting the bill in the face of so much money and possibly the fact that Manchin owns several coal companies. “The transition is happening,” he told CNN. “Now they’re wanting to pay companies for what they are already doing. It makes no sense to me at all for us to take billions of dollars and pay utilities for what they’re going to do as the market transitions.”

     Biden defends the $3.5 trillion amount by saying that the money would be spent over the course of ten years where the economy is expected to grow. According to the Denver Gazette, “The president said every dollar spent on “resilience” would save $6 in future costs.” 

     “We have to think big,” Biden said. “Thinking small is a prescription for disaster.” 

     Attentive to the Democratic congressmen’s worries, Biden held a series of meetings with them. Manchin quoted Biden as he asked the Democrats’ opinions on a top-line amount from one of the meetings. “Give me a number, and tell me what you can live with and what you can’t.” Although willing to negotiate the spending package amount, they were not able to give Biden an amount.

     Biden is putting forth large amounts of effort towards combating climate change, attempting to convey the urgency of the problem. “These fires are a blinking ‘code red’ for our nation. They’re gaining frequency and ferocity,” Biden said after his tour of the Caldor Fire damage in California. “We know what we have to do.”

      According to an analysis conducted by The Washington Post, one in three Americans live in a county that was struck by a weather disaster this year. Infrastructure in these communities needed help and will need it again when more of these natural disasters occur. 

      Even though Biden has seen the damage from climate change up close, he is still optimistic about it all. “Here’s the good news: Something that is caused by humans can be solved by humans.”