Biden Announces $2 Trillion Climate Plan

Source: Katie Glueck and Lisa Friedman, The New York Times, July 14, 2020

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Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced on Tuesday a new plan to spend $2 trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building sectors, part of a suite of sweeping proposals designed to create economic opportunities and build infrastructure while also tackling climate change.

In a speech in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Biden built on his plans, released last week, for reviving the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, with a new focus on enhancing the nation’s infrastructure and emphasizing the importance of putting the United States on a path to significantly cut fossil fuel emissions.

“This is not a status quo plan,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a prominent environmentalist who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination on a platform of combating climate change and later endorsed Mr. Biden.

He added: “It is comprehensive. This is not some sort of, ‘Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change.’” Mr. Inslee called the proposal “visionary.”

Mr. Biden’s plan outlines specific and aggressive targets, including achieving an emissions-free power sector by 2035 and upgrading four million buildings over four years to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency. The plan also calls for establishing an office of environmental and climate justice at the Justice Department and developing a broad set of tools to address how “environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color.”

Environmental justice, a movement that tries to address pollution and other toxic harms that disproportionately affect communities of color, plays a key role in the plan. In it, Mr. Biden set a goal for disadvantaged communities to receive 40 percent of all clean energy and infrastructure benefits. He also made explicit references to tribal communities and called for expanding broadband access to tribal lands.

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