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President Joseph R. Biden

President Biden’s Climate Change Plans: What’s Next?

On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden officially began planning America’s future. It came as a shock that many executive orders were being put in place by President Biden on his first night in office. One of the biggest actions the President is taking is in regard to climate change. 


Climate change played a huge part in the 2020 Presidential debates. During those debates, questions regarding each candidate’s plans for climate change were laid out and each candidate was put on the spot to discuss this topic and their plans. In the debates, Joe Biden made it clear where he stood on the growing issue saying it is the “number one issue facing humanity.” He went on to say that it is the “existential threat to humanity.” 


According to AP News, this is the “most ambitious U.S. effort to stave off the worst of climate change.” After the inauguration on Wednesday, January 20, he was finally able to put forth his plans and lay down the foundation for the issue of climate change to be dealt with.


On January 20, 2021, The White House issued a statement from President Joe Biden concerning his executive plans. The statement read, “I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the Paris Agreement, done at Paris on December 12, 2015, do hereby accept the said Agreement and every article and clause thereof on behalf of the United States of America.” 


The Paris Agreement is an international treaty on the issue of climate change. Its goal is to try and limit global warming. According to the UNFCCC, the aim is to “reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.” In 2017 former president, Donald Trump announced that the United States would be backing out of the Paris Agreement after being a part of it since 2016. According to The Washington Post, Biden’s plans are in “stark contrast to the Trump administration’s point of view” on the issue.


President Biden rejoining the Paris Agreement shows the American people that he cares for the environment. It shows that he is ready and willing to build upon his executive order and work to fight the expanding problem of climate change.


An article published by AP News states that the executive order revolving around climate change aims to “transform the nation’s heavily fossil-fuel-powered economy into a clean-burning one, pausing oil and gas leasing on federal land and targeting subsidies for those industries.” The order also aims to “conserve 30 percent of the country’s lands and waters in the next 10 years, double the nation’s offshore wind energy, and move to an all-electric federal vehicle fleet,” among a number of other goals.


According to The New York Times, to start solving the problem of climate change, the Biden administration’s policies will have to tackle three central sources of emission, “Pollution from cars, pollution from power plants, and methane leaks from oil and gas wells.”


Even though the climate change executive order is a step forward, it’s still just the first step. There are many issues that have gained a lot of attention from different experts. According to CNBC News, an idea that sparked traction by experts focused on energy transition is for “workers in fossil-fuel regions to be provided work repairing the damages left behind by legacy strip mines and oil wells, sometimes for safety and health reasons” and in some cases to “rehabilitate the land for new uses.”


There were concerns that the Biden Administration’s climate change plans will be stripping the country of thousands of jobs. According to CNBC News and a recent study by the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy, a “significant federal program to plug orphan wells could create tens of thousands of jobs, potentially as many as 120,000 jobs if 500,000 wells were plugged.” 


According to an article by The Washington Post, the burning of fossil fuels that were extracted from both water and public lands “accounted for almost a quarter of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions between 2005 and 2014.” One of the things President Biden campaigned on was the ending of “new drilling as a key to tackling climate change” says The Washington Post.


Even though these are just the first steps, they still are steps forward in aims to combat the expanding issues of climate change. According to AP News, President Biden, in regards to the climate crisis says that the country “can’t wait any longer.” As stated by President Biden in an article by AP News, ”We see with our own eyes. We know it in our bones. It is time to act.″