Montel Magazine 4 - 2020 - Page 13

“ Nothing will happen on carbon pricing at a federal level if the
Republicans are still in control of the Senate after those runoffs ”

Biden ’ s fifty shades of green

President-elect Joe Biden has ambitious plans to decarbonise the world ’ s biggest economy but may fail to put in place a US policy that puts a price on carbon emissions .
By Jeff Coelho and Alessandro Vitelli
Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump , Biden sees climate change as a real global threat and has vowed to make it one of his key policies when he is inaugurated on 20 January as the 46th president . The Democrat , who served two terms as vice president during the Obama administration , promised that on his first day in office as president he will recommit the US to the Paris Agreement on limiting global warming . Trump , a Republican , withdrew the US from the 2015 climate pact and favoured deregulation and sought to boost drilling , mining and manufacturing .
In contrast , Biden aims to take the US to net zero emissions by 2050 and to spend USD 2 trillion in his first term on infrastructure and across various sectors to spur a low-carbon economy and related job growth . During his transition to the White House , he appointed the nation ’ s first special presidential envoy for climate , John Kerry , the former secretary of state under the Obama administration who helped steer the negotiation of the Paris Agreement .
“ To end this [ climate ] crisis the whole world must come together ” Kerry said following his appointment on 23 November . Biden was “ right to rejoin
Paris on day one ” and was “ right to recognise that Paris alone is not enough ”, said Kerry , who was also a senator from Massachusetts and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee . “ At the global meeting in Glasgow one year from now , all nations must raise ambition together or we will all fail together . Failure is not an option .”
Over the past four years , Trump and many Republicans have argued that sharply reducing fossil fuels can harm economic growth and makes little sense when greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow in China and India , the world ’ s two most populous nations . Some analysts and observers say Biden ’ s winning margin in the 3 November election is not great enough to give him a strong mandate on climate issues , while the failure of the Democrats to win control of the Senate means that any carbon price legislation will be difficult , if not impossible , to pass .
The balance of power in the Senate will be decided in January , when the state of Georgia will hold runoff elections for both its seats . The Democrats will need to win both seats to split the Senate 50-50 and give vice president-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote . Otherwise , Biden will
Montel Magazine 4 – 2020