Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden released his second economy initiative that will pour $2 trillion over four years by investing in clean energy and infrastructure designed to create economic opportunities with the goal to tackle climate change.
“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax.’ When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs,’ good-paying union jobs that put Americans to work,” Biden said in remarks from his hometown in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday. “And, if I have the honor of being elected President, we’re not just going to tinker around the edges. We’re going to make historic investments that will seize this opportunity and meet this moment in history.”
The proposal is the second of four Biden’s economic agenda dubbed “Build Back Better” designed to challenge President Trump’s “America First” economic agenda. The former Vice President unveiled the first phase of his economic platform last week, a “Buy American” proposal to spur U.S manufacturing by investing $400 billion in federal procurement spending for American products along with an additional $300 billion investment in research and development in new technologies initiatives.
The $2 trillion climate proposal calls for a far-reaching investment in the infrastructure system that commits to creating one million jobs in the auto industry, including an investment in manufacturing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, creating millions of union jobs to rebuild the infrastructure systems, upgrading four million building and weatherizing two million homes that would create at least one million jobs along with additional construction jobs for 1.5 million new sustainable housing units, and creating “climate-smart” jobs, including 250,000 jobs “plugging abandoned oil and natural gas wells and reclaiming abandoned coal, hard rock, and uranium mines” to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency.
“I know that climate change is the challenge that’s going to define our American future and I know meeting this challenge will be a once-in-a-century opportunity to jolt new life into our economy, strengthen our global leadership, and protect our planet for future generations,” Biden said. “These investments will be a win-win-win for this country. Creating jobs. Cutting energy costs-bills. Protecting our climate.”
“These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams. They’re actionable policies that we can get to work on right away,” Biden added.
Biden’s new plan places a heavy emphasis to accelerate his clean energy goal to “achieve a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035” and put the nation to a net-zero emissions by 2050. It also calls for all “American-built buses” to be zero-emission by 2030 by negotiating an “ambitious” fuel economy standards. However, the plan doesn’t cite specifically what exactly the ambitious fuel economy standards are.
“We also know that transforming the American electricity sector to produce power without also producing carbon pollution and electrifying an increasing share of our economy will be the greatest spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century,” Biden said. “So my timeline for results is my first four years as president the jobs we’ll create, the investments we’ll make, and the irreversible steps we’ll take to mitigate and adapt to climate change and to put our nation on the road to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.”
Campaign advisers in a call with reporters Tuesday morning declined to provide specifics of how Biden intends to cover the cost the $2 trillion price tag, saying he would pay for it in part by a combination of stimulus spending, likely related to the coronavirus pandemic, along with “tax increases on corporations back to the 28% rate” and taxing the wealthy.
Along with the green economy proposal, Biden also announced a plan component focused to establish an office of environmental and climate justice at the Justice Department and developing “Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool” that will identify communities impacted by the effects of climate change and publish that information in annual maps identifying the communities.
The former Vice President rolled out a slate of “environmental justice policies” where communities of color would receive 40 percent of the benefits from investments he is proposing such as building new sustainable houses, reduce pollution and invest in clean energy workforce development and transportation.
“This is an area of incredible opportunity for economic growth for our country — but we have to make sure that the first people to benefit are those who have been hurt the most by centuries of structural disparities,” Biden said.
During his remarks, Biden took aim at Trump for his empty promise to produce an infrastructure plan, saying the only time talks of such a plan happens when his administration “needs a distraction.”
“Donald Trump promised a big infrastructure bill when he ran in 2016. He promised it again in 2017 and in 2018 and in 2019. And he’s promising one again,” Biden said. “Every few weeks when he needs a distraction from the latest charge of corruption in his staff — or the conviction of high ranking members of his administration and political apparatus — the White House announces it’s “Infrastructure Week.”
“But he’s never delivered. Never even really tried,” Biden continued.
The Trump campaign criticized Biden’s “socialist Manifesto” energy plan, saying the plan from presumptive Democratic nominee is evidence that he is now “beholden to the radical socialist ideology of Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”
“Joe Biden just bragged about a plan that kills more than 10 million American jobs supported by the energy industries and makes sure the United States is once again dependent on foreign countries for energy. His plan is more like a socialist manifesto that promises to massively raise taxes, eliminate jobs in the coal, oil or natural gas industries, and crush the middle class,” Trump 2020 national press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it’s clear that Biden is beholden to the radical socialist ideology of Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and there is no way he can sell this radical agenda to union workers in energy-producing, manufacturing, or auto industry states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, or Wisconsin.”