Joe Biden’s Proposal on Climate Change and Environmental Justice

A tree on a beach

Joe Biden has long appreciated the enormity of climate change and has always believed that we have a moral and economic imperative to address it. In 1986, he introduced one of the first-ever climate bills in Congress. Politifact recently called him a “climate change pioneer” and dubbed his early leadership “a watershed moment.”

As Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, he organized several hearings on climate change and rallied support on a number of nonbinding resolutions on the issue, in an attempt to build momentum for action to address global climate change. In 1998, he was a key champion for the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, which allowed the U.S. to reach agreements with foreign governments to conserve tropical forests in exchange for debt relief (commonly referred to as debt-for-nature swaps).

A group of ice cream in a large body of water

In 2006, Senator Biden took executives from BP and Chevron to task for the subsidies going to the oil industry.

As Vice President, he oversaw the Recovery Act, the largest single investment in clean energy in U.S. history. The Obama-Biden Administration placed historic limits on carbon pollution, doubled fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, unleashed the potential of renewable, clean energy, and rallied the world to achieve the groundbreaking Paris Climate Accords. 

Biden also understands that the movement towards a cleaner future comes from all of us. At a recent speech at the United States Conference of Mayors, he applauded efforts cities and states have taken on their own as the federal government has been absent for the last three years.      

Biden’s Climate Change Plan and Its Impact

The Biden plan will make a historic investment in our clean energy future and environmental justice, paid for by rolling back the Trump tax incentives that enrich corporations at the expense of American jobs and the environment. Biden’s climate and environmental justice proposal will make a federal investment of $1.7 trillion over the next ten years, leveraging additional private sector and state and local investments to total to more than $5 trillion. President Trump’s tax cut led to trillions in stock buybacks and created new incentives to shift profits abroad. Joe Biden believes we should instead invest in a Clean Energy Revolution that creates jobs here at home.     

The Biden plan will be paid for by reversing the excesses of the Trump tax cuts for corporations, reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion, and outsourcing, ensuring corporations pay their fair share, closing other loopholes in our tax code that reward wealth not work, and ending subsidies for fossil fuels.

The plan will ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050. On day one, Biden will sign a series of new executive orders with unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform and put us on the right track. And, he will demand that Congress enacts legislation in the first year of his presidency that: 1) establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025, 2) makes a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation, 3) incentivizes the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change.

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