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What President Biden’s Election Means for the Environment

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

by Stella Modiano

January 20th, 2021: the day Joe Biden was inaugurated into the White House as President of the United States of America. But, now what does this mean for environmentalism and climate change? Well, to get started, it’s good news.

To evaluate Biden’s policies it’s useful to first evaluate Trump’s policies and compare. The Trump administration did not only not put effort into the fight against climate change and improving environmental protections, but it actually took away from them through rollbacks and other decisions. The most shocking action Trump took in regressing environmental progress was pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement – a global action plan to fight climate change. The agreement's main goal is to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees; so, when Trump pulled out of this agreement it meant that a top emitting country (the U.S.) did not have the intention to reduce its emissions and contribute to reduced air pollution. Pulling out of this agreement is like getting rid of the base of a structure; this agreement is the base of ending climate change, and without it, the fight is unstable and more difficult. Trump continued to issue 111 more environmental rollbacks. Taking this all into account, it’s rightful to conclude that the Trump administration did not have the environment and the environmental community in mind during its term.

With Biden as the 46th president though, there’s hope for a turn around. Biden has always claimed that he is a big supporter of climate movements and plans to move to a cleaner future. He shows his interest in climate change in a critical part of his presidential campaign – his Build Back Better plan, a plan focused on “creating the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future”. This plan is very ambitious and motivated in not only helping the citizens of the U.S., but also overcoming the climate crisis with its investments in infrastructure, auto industry, transit, power sector, buildings, housing, innovation, agriculture and conservation, and climate justice. This leads into his clean energy plan which has a commitment to ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050. These plans are evidence that Biden has our Earth in mind during his administration. He wants to rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change and stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities. These ambitions definitely give hope to the future of the climate and climate movement, but it’s about following through.

Thankfully, Biden has so far shown his commitment to the climate through his actions of his first few days of Presidency. First thing first, on January 20th, Biden signed on to officially rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement (the agreement Trump broke away from) on February 19, 2021. This means the US will now be actively working to reduce its emissions and show its appreciation for our Earth. The second action Biden took in countering Trump's past actions was yanking the permit for TC Energy Corp.’s controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, a pipeline which would have carried crude from the Alberta oil fields to Gulf of Mexico refineries. According to Louise Boyle, Senior Climate Correspondent of The Independent, Biden has continued this climate action trend with taking 52 other actions in favor of the climate and combating climate change during his first few days in office. Biden has further shown his dedication to his climate plan by introducing the largest team assembled in history to the White House in efforts to tackle global warming.

With all of this information, there is hope we will be looking forward to an administration focused on climate change more than ever. Biden has already taken many more steps towards fighting global warming than we’ve seen by our past president; however, we can’t just grant Biden with the climate crown based on his first few weeks, it’s important to hold him accountable and observe what he will do in regards to his climate plan throughout his whole presidency.


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