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.
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: