A breakdown of the first 100 days of the Biden administration
Every day from Earth we hear a lot about the little things we can all do to help the planet; recycling, cleaning up garbage, taking public transport, washing clothes in cold water, the list goes on. The little things are important, they can make a difference, but will not solve the climate crisis.
We will have to do a lot of work and debate the policy. A better understanding of what is being done or proposed is another little thing you can do.
More than 70% of the country believe climate change is happening, according to the latest Yale University poll.
Similar statewide survey by Indiana University “75% of Hoosiers support (‘somewhat’ or ‘a great deal’) initiatives designed to prepare for the effects of climate change in communities. Indiana communities ”There is an overwhelming sense of doing something.
We take a look at the big picture, what it takes to tackle climate change, and the policies President Biden implemented during his first months in office.
One of the first actions of the incumbent President Biden was to bring the United States back to the Paris Climate Agreement, and shortly after the revocation of permits for the Keystone XL pipeline.
“I think the revocation of the XL pipeline has been a pretty important initiative. We do not know how much oil was going to be brought through this pipeline, but the revocation of the permit completely closes this door. This reduces our dependence on oil and gas. of this pipeline, ”said Lingxi Chenyang, an environmental law scholar at the Maurer School of Law at IU. “I think the Paris Climate Agreement was a big step, just to make the United States all agree on climate change.”
The old way of thinking about infrastructure was roads and bridges, but the Biden administration’s latest plan is more transformational.
In an ABC This Week interview, George Stephanopoulos asked Transportation Secretary and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “It is true that only about 5% of that bill goes to traditional roads and bridges? The elderly, about 13% for investments like the Green New Deal – so why not focus on that traditional backbone infrastructure? “
Secretary Buttigieg replied: “Let’s be clear, there is a lot more than roads and bridges that are part of the infrastructure.”
Chenyang said, “What the infrastructure bill does, it invests a lot of money in the system to make us switch to clean energy. There are three major sources of emissions in the United States. Important is cars at 28%, followed by power generation at 24%, then industry at 22%. The infrastructure bill targets these three major sources of emissions. “
Let’s start with EVs or electric vehicles. There is a market for them, but we are still in the chicken or egg stage, not just needing the cars themselves, but the charging stations to power them.
“I think it is very difficult for an automaker to engage in electric vehicles when there is no promise for this infrastructure,” Chenyang said. “It’s very difficult for one of them, the manufacturers, to cut their heads and turn their entire fleet into EVs. Unless the government says we are putting so much money into the system to get everyone to change.
The plan provides $ 174 billion for the transition to electric vehicles, including consumer rebates for the purchase of electric cars, a very popular provision that enjoys more than 80% support nationwide, according to the latest survey from Yale University. There are also grants to build 500,000 new charging stations by 2030.
“You know I recently bought an EV car, it’s a bit difficult to go long trips without this infrastructure,” Chenyang said.
The federal government will also buy electric vehicles. This not only cuts carbon emissions, but also makes electric vehicles a profitable business for automakers.
Then there is the switch to clean energy.
“One thing is that the clean electricity standard aims to reach 100% clean energy by 2035, and that includes nuclear and hydroelectric power,” Chenyang said.
We will need to provide this new, clean energy, with a $ 100 billion plan to improve the electricity grid. Plus an additional $ 100 billion to improve infrastructure resilience, building to a higher standard.
“Not only do we have to reduce our emissions, but we also have to prepare for the inevitable climate change, so the warmer weather, the floods, the forest fires, all this money is going to improve our road network, protect hospitals from big floods, ”Chenyang mentioned.
The billions of flying eyes have many asking the question: how can we pay for this? There are proposals to increase the corporate tax rate and end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. This idea is still in progress. but the bigger question might be how not to pay for it?
Tom Coomes – “Is the cost about or is the cost a cost saving? Is this something you are investing in now, come back to it later?”
Chenyang – “If we don’t pay for it now, we’ll pay a lot more in the future. So that’s really a cost saving bill.”
The infrastructure plan will not solve climate change, but it attempts to create the framework to do so.
“This is this first step in the transition, and a first step that we have been waiting for a long time,” Chenyang said.