Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday promoted a $2 trillion climate change plan, calling the issue “literally an existential threat to the health of our planet and to our very survival.”
On his website, Biden calls for the United States to have net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
He is proposing a massive infrastructure project to address roads and bridges, upgrades for four million buildings to make them more energy efficient, and expanded transportation options that can include bike paths for every city with 100,000 or more residents.
The plan would also include “direct cash rebates and low-cost financing to upgrade and electrify home appliances, install more efficient windows, and cut residential energy bills.”
Biden had previously supported spending $1.7 trillion over 10 years on climate issues, but his new plan would spend $2 trillion over four years, as The New York Times reported.
The plan comes after a joint task force organized by Biden and his former Democratic presidential primary opponent, Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders — and co-chaired by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — released a set of climate recommendations, according to Fox News.
“Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” a separate page on Biden’s campaign website reads, referring to the climate legislation proposed by Ocasio-Cortez in 2018.
“It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.”
During a speech Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said the trillions he wants to spend represent “the most critical investments we can make for the long-term health and vitality of both the American economy and the physical health and safety of the American people.”
“[T]here’s no more consequential challenge that we must meet in the next decade than the onrushing climate crisis,” he said. “Left unchecked, it is literally an existential threat to the health of our planet and to our very survival. That’s not up for dispute, Mr. President.”
Biden said his climate change plan will help unions.
“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is hoax. When I think about climate change, the word I think of is jobs, good paying union jobs that will put Americans to work, making the air cleaner for our kids to breathe, restoring our crumbling roads, and bridges, and ports, making it faster, cheaper and cleaner to transport American made goods all across the country and around the world,” the former vice president said.
Biden said he will oversee “the second great railroad revolution, which will not only slash pollution, will slash commute times and open up investment in areas connected to metropolitan centers for the first time.”
And the federal government will be a major clean energy customer, he added.
“The United States owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles. And we’re going to convert these government fleets to electric vehicles made and sourced right here in the United States of America with the government providing the demand and the grants to retool factories that are struggling to compete,” he said.
Green was not the only color on Biden’s mind.
“[W]e need to be mindful of the historical wrongs and the damage that American industries have done in the 20th century, inflicting environmental harm on the poor and vulnerable communities, so often black, and brown and Native American communities,” Biden said.
“Polluted air, polluted water, toxins raining down from communities that bore the environmental and health burdens but shared none of the profits,” he added. “Growing up breathing that in everyday, it’s poison. And it’s partly why there’s such incredible rates of childhood asthma in black and brown communities, why black Americans are almost three times more likely to die of asthma related causes than white Americans.”
Biden vowed to undo everything Trump has done in regard to climate issues.
“We’re going to reverse Trump’s rollbacks of 100 public health and environmental rules, and then forge a path to greater ambition. We’re going to get back into the Paris Agreement, back into the business of leading the world,” he said.
Biden’s plan won him praise from figures on the left, like Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who ran a failed 2020 presidential campaign focused on climate issues.
“This is not a status quo plan,” Inslee told The Times. “It is comprehensive. This is not some sort of, ‘Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change.’”
But the Trump campaign slammed Biden’s proposals.
The plan is “more like a socialist manifesto that promises to massively raise taxes, eliminate jobs in the coal, oil or natural gas industries, and crush the middle class,” Trump campaign national press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
“Now more than ever, it’s clear that Biden is beholden to the radical socialist ideology of Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”
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