Civil Rights

Part I – Joe Biden’s Got a Climate Plan

by Michael Albalah

“When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs.’”

  • Joe Biden

The Green New Deal garnered a lot of attention.  Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s plan is similar.  He plans to spend ~$2 trillion over four years to address environmental issues.  His plan focuses primarily on expanding clean energy in sectors that will drive job growth.  The proposal is the second plank in Mr. Biden’s economic recovery plan.

It outlines specific and aggressive targets such as achieving an emissions-free power sector by 2035, upgrading four million buildings over four years to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency, and even ensuring government vehicles are electric vehicles.

“This is not a status quo plan,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a prominent environmentalist who ran a climate-focused campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and later endorsed Mr. Biden.  He added: “It is comprehensive.”

Notably, the plan includes proposals to address race-based environmental injustice.  Perhaps most interestingly, his plan calls for establishing an office of environmental and climate justice at the Justice Department. 

To pay for it, Mr. Biden proposes an increase in the corporate income tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent and using some still-undetermined amount of stimulus money.  It would also require a combination of executive actions and legislation. Legislation requires congressional cooperation which is unlikely if Republicans maintain control of the Senate or retake the House of Representatives.

Therefore, in Part II I will identify the parts of his plan that can be implemented with the President’s executive power, focusing only on those parts of his plan that address race-based environmental injustice.