Norvergence LLC – This month one of the world’s largest democracies, America will decide its President. Re-election of Trump, a Republican or former Vice President Joe Biden a Democrat, whoever goes to the white house has to deal with several global issues. But whatever is the decision, currently there is one major agenda that is much in the debate “The environment policy”. This one will remain an important issue for voting against or for, Presidential Candidates especially among the young.
Trump who has already served one term during the strenuous times of the Corona pandemic aims at bringing the battered economy back on track and neglects the climate change in his agenda. President Trump has not been a favourite of Climate Activists or Environmentalists. His reputation has been one of a climate denier. He once termed Climate Change as “Hoax”. He has never accepted the science of climate change. The Trump administration has been particularly focused on rolling back actions intended to deal with climate change. The Trump administration has struggled to protect the environment and address climate change as it promotes fossil fuel interests and the extraction of natural resources from public lands. He has rolled back plenty of Obama era environmental regulations. Not to mention climate change or action is not much a part of his campaign.
Joe Biden has been a Former Vice President of America during the Obama administration. Biden wants to realize environmental and climate justice goals through his presidential campaign. Joe Biden has linked economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic to address climate change. He has a detailed policy plan to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate emergency. He embraced the Green New Deal as a crucial framework to curb climate change. He aims for clean energy. The democratic presidential candidate has pledged an ambitious climate plan with $2 trillion amount. Biden’s Climate plan outlines strategies to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. He wants to bring back environmental regulations and other measures to protect the environment. Let’s delve in the details where they stand in the environmental action.
Norvergence LLC: The Paris agreement was signed by 195 countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). It meant a collective global effort by all nations to cut the pollution emissions in the world for a better environment and climate justice in 2015. The global temperatures are alarmingly rising and the Paris deal official goal is to protect the planet from the 2-degree catastrophic rise.
The world will see United States elections on 3rd November, and the US will exit the Paris Climate Agreement on 4th November 2020. Trump will not rejoin if re-elected. He stated the deal as a “disaster”. The Republican President saw it as a handicap to the economic revival. In 2017, Trump announced that the US will cease to be a part of the Paris accord citing “the deal not fair to America”. It was three years notice and a year to have the withdrawal in effect. Till now almost 70 environmental regulations have been reversed under Trump’s government and 30 more also included in the list of progress. The Trump administration does not readily accept the impact of global warming and has not been doing much to address the issue. One can say the environmental responsibility is low-key and the US is the only country pulling out from the Paris Deal causing hindrance to the global initiative. The country will cease to participate in the policies that reduce greenhouse carbon emissions, along with the international climate funding to the poorer nations.
Biden would take the legacy ahead of his former counterpart Barack Obama. He outlines the significant role of the United States as a member of the historic Paris Climate Agreement. If he gets re-elected he promises to immediately join the Paris Accord, and start from where the US left. He emphasizes global cooperation on initiatives for the environment. It allows countries to set their emission targets and the US and Biden fully support a move towards low carbon emissions.
Biden wants the US to lead the world in the fight against climate change. Asserting that climate change is the existential challenge that’s going to decide America’s future as a country, Biden said that as the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis, and that requires American leadership. He has also said that joining the Paris agreement will be the first thing he will do after the win.
The US promised to cut emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. If Trump has re-elected that goal will never be achieved in the long run. The US will lose its accountability, where it could have led by example the other countries in the war against the climate crisis. It has been a major contributor to climate change in history.
Trump’s business-friendly approach had already hard-hit environmental protection especially emissions. Trump weakened the fuel economy standards for cars, the single most important effort for reining in the largest driver of US emissions. The ease provided to power plants in carbon emission regulations has left many in dismay. The coal-powered plants’ longer duration work hours have replaced an Obama-era climate effort to cut planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions.
Although the communities from the US will still act against climate change, the efforts without the national action will have little impact, without the support of policymakers. The move towards a low-carbon planet will suffer a big setback due to Trump’s decision. Nature got some break from the past normal due to Covid, however, the efforts of global achievement of 2030 sustainable development action have slowed down. Wildfires, September being the hottest month, hurricanes destroyed in the US this year and the effects of global warming are visible throughout.
Biden advocates cutting down the emissions significantly, so much so he aims to have zero emissions by 2050. How exactly, the time will tell? Biden has a $2 trillion plan that puts the US on a path to zero carbon pollution from the electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Transforming the electrical power sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be the greatest spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century, not to mention the positive benefits to health and the environment. Biden wants polluters to bear the full cost of their carbon emissions which is also supported by many climate activists around the world.
Clean energy is another aspect which is missing from Trump’s elections agenda. The focus on the need for massive renewable energy development and use is a blur here. The Trump Administration replaced the Clean Power Plan by Obama with a weaker regulation and is in the process of eliminating other regulations that limit Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Clean energy use should be prioritized at all costs in the US. This in itself would help the low-carbon economy and will mitigate climate change.Renewable energy projects had not been a priority instead they slowed down. Renewable energy such as solar and the wind has been cited as expensive by Trump. He has slashed funding on innovation and technology on solar and wind energy. The tariffs on solar modules and ending the tax credit for electric vehicles are disagreeable. The Trump Administration, however, insists that solar, wind and geothermal energy have always been a part of the administration’s “all-of-the-above energy approach.” This moreover looks like a damage control strategy.
Biden pledges to clean energy revolution. He will invest $400 billion over ten years, as one part of a broad mobilization of public investment, in clean energy and innovation. That investment is twice the investment of the Apollo program which put a man on the moon, in today’s dollars. Biden plans to deploy 500,000 new electric-vehicle charging stations by year in the US. He proposes to double offshore wind production by 2030. He talks about reducing building emissions. He aims at creating incentives for deep retrofits that combine appliance electrification, efficiency, and on-site clean power generation. The future of renewable energy seems secure in Biden’s agenda.
The Trump government has been famous for auctioning off millions of acres of public lands to the fossil fuel industry. The bear ears are a classic example of this. Leasing land in the greed of fossil fuels results in heating of the planet and increased carbon emissions. The oil drilling has been excessive, hurting the ecologically sensitive places in the country, from the Arctic national wildlife refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to the Lower Rio Grande Valley national wildlife refuge in Texas.
Trump brought in the boom in hydraulic fracturing or fracking, for increased production. Coal production regulations were also rolled back by Trump. He rolled back a stream protection rule designed to reduce the environmental and climate impact of mountaintop removal coal mining. Flora and fauna biodiversity and habitats face threat by oil and gas drilling activities in many areas. Trump has weakened the Endangered Species Act due to overwhelming construction projects on forest lands. There is a fear that this would considerably increase if Trump returns to another term.
Biden wants a big change, a transition from fossil fuels in his climate policy. Biden is against hastening oil and gas drilling. He will stop subsidies to oil industries. He says fracking will not be banned. New offshore oil drilling will not be permitted on public lands. He is against fossil fuel development. Biden is a firm supporter of cheap renewable energy. Coal emits more carbon than natural gas. Biden wants to limit aggressive methane leaks. The fossil fuel shift is not easy, it will involve high fuel efficiency standards, use of electric vehicles, and introduction of alternative sources of energy for common man’s consumption. Oil and gas is a large industry and many people’s livelihood also depends on them. There will be a price that has to be paid for greener jobs and Biden assures that people will not lose jobs. How this will happen in Biden’s administration if he wins the Presidency will be prying.
Trump has weakened the pollution laws and again rolled back many important democratic environmental regulations declaring them as burdensome. Under Clean Air & Water the prosecutions have plummeted to half during Trump’s rule. The industrial emissions have been relaxed below permissible limits. The polluters have not been fined and have not faced many consequences. The violations have exceeded sharply in the past few years, with a lot more smoke spewing out to increased air pollution.
Trump tried to undo the 1972 landmark Water act. The Clean Water Act gives states and tribes the power to block federal projects that harm lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands within their borders. He repealed the Clean Water Rule. A change not appreciated at all, some environmentalists stated this strategy as the “Dirty Water Rule” by Trump in the name of aggressive development. It straightaway legalizes water pollution with harmful chemicals without any limits. The repeal allows polluters to discharge toxic substances into waterways without a permit, which could notably harm the country’s sources of safe drinking water and habitats for wildlife.
A bipartisan bill to combat garbage and plastic in the ocean, the Save Our Seas Act, was signed by Trump. He has launched a “Plastic Innovation” program that aims at recycling and reducing plastic waste. Plastic use has led to filling up landfills and oceans. Trump points his fingers to other countries and asks them to fix this plastic menace first. This “obstructionist” viewpoint has sabotaged the collective international efforts to overcome plastic pollution. Trump also dismissed the ban on “One-time time plastic use”.
Biden identifies the critical set of environmental issues. He wants to work at the forefront along with the world for environmental justice. Environmental justice includes equal protection of environmental, housing, economic, transportation, energy, and civil rights of the people and communities. Biden wants to step up all types of pollution monitoring. He will roll back the environmental regulations of Obama’s Environmental policies on priority. He wants to fix the industrial emissions limits. There will be strict laws for violators through pollution control policies. The Democrats want the industrial emitters to bear the cost of their carbon pollution.
Joe Biden has committed for Clean Air & Water for America. He will reinstate critical protections for lakes, rivers and streams. The Clean Water Rule protected drinking water sources for more than 117 million American, over a third of the nation. Biden wants to take the norms in the right direction, to ensure clean water conservation.
The “One-time plastic use” doesn’t charm Biden. He wants that to phase out all for good. He wants to rally the world with such initiatives, as he finds plastics as a big threat to environmental quality. The democratic agenda doesn’t explicitly address the plastic recycling plans, however, encourages reducing, recycling and reusing plastics.
Norvergence: The Trump administration’s detrimental consequences on Environment is visible more now after Joe Biden made Climate Change an agenda to the voters. A few years back few would have understood the impact of his decisions on the planet’s future. The Biden Obama administration was strong on climate change, and advocated global climate action, along with addressing the immediate environmental issues in the country. The Paris Climate Agreement, Clean Energy, Clean Cars, Reduction in oil and gas drilling, Sustainable Agriculture, Clean Air & Water Act, were a few major accomplishments.
Biden commits to defending Obama’s environmental policies and introduces new effective initiatives to keep up firm climate action. His $2 trillion Climate plan to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050 is impressive. America will go for voting during the Pandemic on 3rd November. Whether these environmental issues have created a stir in the minds of the United States voters or not, it will be evident after a few days, when the election results are out.