Joe Biden proposes overhauling nation’s energy sector by 2035

Daniel Fowler
July 15, 2020

In a statement, President Trump's reelection campaign said Biden's proposals would "destroy jobs", and the former vice president is also "drastically underreporting the costs of such a plan".

Biden has also said he supports a carbon tax - a policy many environmental economists say is crucial to effectively curbing climate change - but there is no mention of that in the current proposal.

Compared with Biden's earlier proposals, the current one would spend more, do it faster and aim more investment toward disadvantaged communities.

By inextricably linking climate change policy and environmental justice with economic growth, Biden is targeting a favourite narrative of President Donald Trump whose administration has consistently promoted a policy of generating growth by rolling back regulations, including those created to protect the environment and lower emissions.

Biden's target of creating a carbon-free energy industry by 2035 is more ambitious than other state mandates that have been passed in recent years.

"When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is 'hoax.' When I think about climate change, what I think of is jobs", he said.

Responding to a question, Trump said what China did to the world should not be forgotten.

Some companies that benefited from that program, including solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which won a $528 million taxpayer-backed loan guarantee, collapsed after receiving federal subsidies.

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The Trump campaign criticized Biden's plan on Tuesday, contending "union jobs related to oil, natural gas, fracking, and energy infrastructure will be on the chopping block in Joe Biden's America". "You can see his track record".

Biden's plan calls for jail time for corporate executives where merited for environmental violations.

"God willing I win and even if I serve eight years, I want to make sure we put down such a marker that it's impossible for the next president to turn it around", he said.

Should Biden be elected, implementation of his plans could transform the government.

The plan will face opposition from Republicans who generally back a slower transition away from fossil fuels than Democrats. Democrats need to pick up at least three seats to take back control of the Senate.

But he argued during his Monday evening fundraiser that the current "historic set of crises - a pandemic, an economic crisis and systemic racism" would make it "easier" to pass major reforms like his climate plan.

Mr Biden often refers to climate change as "an existential threat" and faced pressure from the left to adopt more sweeping policies. "But unless Trump is defeated at the polls in November, we will never really know everything there is to know about this really deep ongoing dismantling of institutions and undermining the rule of law and the original sin of the way he actually won the election".

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