The world’s climate has been centerstage the last two days. President Biden and other world leaders have vowed to reduce global warming by making drastic changes. Will they follow through?
At the 2015 Paris climate accord, then-President Obama set greenhouse gas reduction at half what Biden has proposed. Former President Trump, Obama’s successor, did little to forward this, but is it realistic for Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, to double down on Obama’s goal in a relatively short time frame?
We noted that a 52 percent reduction in emissions is Biden’s goal. Canada committed to a 40 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Japan is aiming for a 50 percent cut from 2013 levels by the end of the decade. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said he would end illegal deforestation in his country by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Bolsonaro had previously criticized protection of the country’s forests and threatened to withdraw from the Paris accord, but Brazil is now asking the Biden administration to provide $1 billion to pay for Amazon rainforest conservation.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said his country will curb emissions by 46 percent by 2030. Japan had committed to a 26 percent reduction, a goal criticized as insufficient.
“Japan is ready to demonstrate its leadership for worldwide decarbonization,” said Suga. Like the U.S., Japan pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell dismissed Biden’s plan as costly and ineffective. Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill includes up to $1 trillion in clean energy and climate change spending. This covers 500,000 electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations, solar and wind power expansion, and carbon pollution storage. $174 billion would go towards EVs and buses for children, commuters, and truckers. Another $50 billion would go to make the infrastructure more weather-resilient, plus $100 billion for a power grid update. Biden’s bill would add 2.7 million jobs, according to Moody’s Analytics.
Biden’s grand carbon emissions plan could be blocked should the infrastructure bill go unapproved. Still, Administration officials say regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency, Transportation Department, and other agencies could still effect change.