President Joe Biden made many promises about climate change throughout his campaign, and in his short time as president, he has been working to follow through on those promises. Although some cannot be completed in the 4 months he has been in office, he has laid the foundation for future plans. Some of the promises that Biden made during the campaign were:
- “Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050”
- “Rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change”
- “Stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities”
- “Fulfill our obligation to workers and communities who powered our industrial revolution and subsequent decades of economic growth”
- “The Biden plan will make a historic investment [of $1.7 trillion] in our clean energy future and environmental justice”, something a Democratic majority in Congress can achieve.
On his first day in office, Biden rejoined the Paris climate accord by signing an executive order. 197 countries are a part of the Paris Agreement, which is a nonbinding accord to reduce their carbon emissions. Under Trump, the US left the accord in 2017, and the re-entry into the Paris Agreement was Biden’s first act in addressing global warming. The Biden administration also ended the construction of the highly debated Keystone XL Pipeline – a pipeline that would transport Albertan oil to Gulf Coast oil refineries, traveling through 6 US States as well as 2 Canadian provinces. Biden’s halting of the pipeline’s construction led to 21 Republican-led states suing the federal government.
In mid-April, Biden pledged to cut US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. This decision came right before a virtual summit of over 30 world leaders who discussed a way to ratchet up ambitions on diffusing climate change. This urgency comes before a likely consequential United Nations climate gathering this fall in Scotland. As the world comes out of the pandemic-induced downturn in carbon footprint, the International Energy Agency also projected that global CO2 emissions are projected to rise by 1.5 billion tons in 2021, which would end up as the second-largest increase in history.
In more recent news, there have been rumors, spread by right-wing media, that the Biden climate plan will limit red meat production and consumption, as well as other foods and drinks. Those rumors have been revealed as false, meaning the Biden admin will not attempt to limit meat production. These rumors were started by a Daily Mail article that twisted the words of Biden’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and this article sparked comments by other media outlets.
Overall, the Biden administration has been taking crucial steps to combat climate change, despite conservative resistance to these policies. However, Biden’s actions in the coming year are most likely to define his legacy regarding climate.