In January 2021, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. Few doubt his presidency will have a markedly different tone from that of Donald Trump, but what about the details? What exactly will President Joe Biden do? This is an especially question in regards to the environment, which he put at the center of his campaign and emerged as a key issue for voters in exit polls.
In this WRI “Big Ideas into Action” podcast, we hear from six WRI experts about their thoughts and recommendations for the new administration. It covers everything from clean energy to climate finance, international cooperation and electric vehicles. We’ll also talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout will affect this agenda.
Highlights from the episode
“It’s fascinating that climate change, which four years ago was perceived to be a political vote loser, this time was very much a vote winner. Evidence is overwhelming that American people want action on climate change, and so we are delighted as an institute to be able to support this new government in their efforts.”
“Anyone who cares about the climate crisis is now breathing a huge sigh of relief. The U.S. is officially back in the game. But the diplomatic terrain has also fundamentally shifted from where it was when President-elect Biden last served in the White House. What we’ve actually seen recently is that other G20 countries have really been stepping up on climate action, recognising the urgency of the climate crisis, even in the midst of tackling a global pandemic.”
“President-elect Biden ran on the most ambitious and comprehensive climate platform in history. He has a mandate to implement that platform. Exit polls from Fox News showed that 70% of voters support increased federal investment in the clean energy transition. There’s overwhelming bipartisan support for that type of action. We know that young people turned out in unprecedented numbers, and that a major motivation for them was the ambitious climate agenda ran on.”
“There’s a key role in helping to drive the new technologies that are needed to net zero. In particular, we’ve made a lot of progress on wind and solar energy — those prices have come down dramatically in the last decade, same thing with storage. But we need additional technologies to get to high penetrations of clean energy in the electric sector.”
“We think the Biden administration should consider becoming a contributor to the Adaptation Fund, which serves the Paris Agreement, to increase its funding for the Global Environment Facility. And also to increase bilateral support for climate action in developing countries, particularly for adaptation and resilience where developing countries are expressing huge and growing need.”
“I wanted to make sure people have seen the recent climate change risk report by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. It’s the first time ever in the United States that a U.S. regulator has sent a really big alarm bell that climate change poses a very serious climate and economic risk for us. And the report shows that while businesses can do a lot they can’t fix this by themselves. They need a signal, they need incentives. We’re not sending a strong enough signal without legislative action to turn the ship as much as we need to.”
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