Student Opinion: Hopeful Attitude Towards Biden’s Environment Plan, Not a Complacent One

(USA Today)

By Liam Benedict

President Joe Biden’s recent proposed plan for combating climate change involved the creation of 10 million clean energy jobs. If it came fully to pass, it would be the most ambitious environmental plan ever passed by our government. Will Biden be able to enact his grandiose plan once in office? 

The only indication of the future we have at the moment is by looking at what he has achieved in his first few days in office. He has already begun to enact some of the early promises of his climate change plan to his credit. However, there is still much that needs to be done not only by us but also by other countries. 

On his first day in office, President Biden re-entered America into the Paris Accords (for what is hopefully the last time). Among the many actions Biden took on his first day, two were environmentally focused. One was the revocation of the permit for the highly controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. As reported by the New York Times, the other was an order that “halted the Interior Department and other agencies’ authority to issue drilling leases or permits for 60 days while the administration reviewed the legal and policy implications of the current federal minerals leasing program.” 

On Jan. 27, Biden plans on beginning several other steps of his climate change plan. Some of these include directing the government to conserve 30 percent of all federal land and water by 2030, creating a task force to assemble a government wide action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and issuing a memorandum elevating climate change to a national security priority. However, so far, it has been his policies involving oil that have garnered the most attention. 

On the 27th, President Biden will also direct federal agencies to determine how expansive a ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land can go, with his eventual goal to ban new drilling leases. Seeing how the burning of fossil fuels extracted on public lands accounted for 25 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions between 2005 and 2014, this, along with the above plans, will be a significant first step. 

However, this is where our skepticism must come in. These steps alone are not enough to save our planet. For one thing, Biden has said he has no plans to ban fracking on federal or private land, much to the bitter disappointment of left wing Democrats. And with the very slim Democrat lead in the Senate, it is unlikely that more effective measures, such as a carbon tax, will be taxed. 

In those ways, I can understand how these initial steps are a let down to some Americans. Still, it seems that even these relatively mild measures have drawn ire from those in the oil business. The Ute Indian Tribe in Utah said, “Your order is a direct attack on our economy, sovereignty, and our right to self-determination.” 

It is also important to note that the United States can’t be the only one making change. Other major polluter countries such as Russia, China and India also need to be held accountable and made to change their ways. John Kerry, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, stated that he hoped that the next U.N. Climate Summit results in “ambitious climate action in which all major emitter countries raise ambitions significantly and in which we help protect those who are the most vulnerable.” 

His words seem to suggest that the Biden Administration may hold these major polluters more accountable than we previously have. 

Ultimately, we have a mixed bag. While these early actions may not be enough to make a significant change on their own, one thing we can be sure of is that this is a lot more than we got from our previous president. 

Liam Benedict is a first year English major from the small town of Galt, California. He is a writer and is planning on becoming a lawyer in the future.

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9 thoughts on “Student Opinion: Hopeful Attitude Towards Biden’s Environment Plan, Not a Complacent One”

  1. Chris Griffith

    The greenie democrats for living in a fantasy world their plan is totally unachievable my plan would be much cheaper it would create far more jobs and would be more enjoyable to boot 🤓 This is my 20 point New Green New Deal or Green New New Deal:
    1. A free ice cream machine for every American (vegan ice cream, of course, because Cortez is killing all the milk cows).
    2. Every sidewalk in America converted to a moving walkway.
    3. Every staircase converted to an escalator.
    4. Every escalator converted to an elevator.
    5. A big bridge connecting North Carolina to Morocco, with, like, refreshment stands and stuff along the way. Also, like, there should be probably little cabins or something for people to sleep in.
    6. A free blimp for every man, woman, and child.
    7. A dog for every person.
    8. A foot bath for every dog.
    9. Essential oils for every foot bath.
    10. No diseases (will cutdown on healthcare costs).
    11. Universal joy.
    . A constantly refreshed selection of cereal in every pantry.
    13. A lion that can tell me stories and grant wishes.
    14. Immortality.
    15. A computer type thing like from The Matrix where you plug in and learn how to do karate in five minutes.
    16. Bananas that never rot.
    17. No more loneliness.
    18. Free consensual pony rides.
    19. A kind of like robot thing that, like, lifts you out of the bed in the morning and puts on your pants for you and brushes your teeth.
    20. All remaining student debt converted into tacos (one dollar of debt equals one taco)
    This is simply one person’s opinion.

  2. Chris Griffith

    Oh and one more thing I plagiarized those 20 points from some of their website I’m not for sure but I think it was originally biden’s Green New deal plan before the Democrats got a hold of it.

  3. Alan Miller

    This is a fair and balanced article, and I don’t mean to borrow the line from that network.

    As a lifelong environmentalist, Biden scares the h*ll out of me, largely because I was so disappointed in Obama and have found so many Democratic “Green” initiatives to be more about funneling money to campaign contributors who label their companies ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’.  I loved Obama as a person and thought he was very personable, but I couldn’t vote for him for a second time due to these failings.

    The areas of concern:

    1) Transportation policy – appears great as talking points, but under Obama the money that was supposed to be for immediate investment to improve transportation now, instead went to states that wouldn’t accept the money, and into large projects that for the most part still haven’t seen the light of day.

    2) So-Called Green Energy, Part I – I am in favor of encouraging the quick decline of dirty coal, and a slow reduction in oil use.  I believe the move away from Natural Gas is a mistake.  I am in agreement with the views in this article here:

    3) So-Called Green Energy, Part II – So much of energy policy is a corporate $$$ funnel, worst example is mega-solar, which is not at all like mega-dorms.  “Solar on Rooftops, Not on the Backs of Tortoises”.  During Obama, our desert groups fought the entire administration, often alongside native desert tribes, against the mega-solar projects destroying our desert and other fragile lands (such as the once-pristine Panoche Valley).  Often the fight was against other, more ‘progressive’ organizations who couldn’t see the desert beauty or the corporate greed and government graft, only blindly chanting “SOUL – ERRRR, SOUL – ERRRRR!!!!”.

    Oddly, under Trump, most of these lands were no longer under threat and the fight largely wound down.  (Not that Trump didn’t come with his own environmental baggage, such as the expansion of military desert lands).   I’m not against solar, but it can be done in all over in urban landscapes, it doesn’t have to destroy the desert – that’s just the cheap way to spend the federal money as a corporate scammer.  And local generation has the advantage of no long-haul transmission loss.

    1. Alan Miller

      Years ago a very wise man taught a large group of us in very graphic detail to always look at the entire life-cycle effects of any change to a supposedly environmentally-friendly policy changes.  Often, when all is said and done, either the full footprint is worse than the original, or the costs are unsustainable.  Simply chasing the word ‘green’ is no substitute for the reality of fully vetting any new policies, or at least being aware that this is necessary.

  4. Alan Miller

    These steps alone are not enough to save our planet.

    The only effective strategy to ‘save our planet’ from the ravages of humans is to develop a virus one heck of a lot more deadly than Covid-19.  This does carry the baggage of you or your loved ones may be the ones no longer able to enjoy the saved planet — plus all those bodies to deal with — but this strategy is the only way 😐

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