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Biden’s Climate Plans: The Good and The Bad

By Jasneh Sasan
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During his first year in office, President Joseph R. Biden has clearly cracked down on a very serious issue plaguing America today: climate change. 


As promised in his campaign, Biden rejoined the international Paris Climate Agreement.  Despite the agreement having no apparent means of enforcement, Biden has taken the right step. The signing of the accord holds great symbolic value, as the United States once again takes the lead in fighting the climate crisis. He also worked to assemble world leaders for a climate summit on Earth Day, urging them to increase the pace of action. 


Biden also worked to create a formidable team to combat climate change. Gina McCarthy, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), works with an extremely qualified team of specialists, including Micheal Regan, the EPA chief, and former Secretary of State John Kerry, an architect of the Paris Climate Agreement.


Additionally, he has issued a bill promising over $2.7 trillion in the American Jobs Plan to rebuild a cleaner U.S. economy. Not only does this create millions of jobs, but it will also support the transition to clean manufacturing and clean electricity. While the bill is yet to be passed, it is quite favorable to many activists.  


Nevertheless, activists are worried Biden isn’t doing enough. The U.S. is still the largest producer of greenhouse gases. Emissions rose 6.2% in 2021 alone — a far cry from Biden’s promise to cut emissions in half. Not to mention, the Build Back Better and American Jobs Plan are still floating in the Senate with little possibility of being passed soon. 


One bill that has been passed, however, is the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. America’s infrastructure is aged and cannot support rapidly growing technological developments. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2021 Report Card gave American infrastructure a solid C-. The passage of the bill is quickly ensuring prosperity to Americans by keeping the U.S. in competition with China, upgrading old infrastructure, leveraging the private sector through the use of public-private partnerships, and effectively cutting down the cost for American taxpayers. Additionally, it ensured access to high-speed internet for all Americans and replenishes buildings, roads, and bridges to become more resistant to natural disasters.


The passage of the infrastructure bill has been a critical success for the Biden administration as it has been one of the first bills that have united the two American parties under the common goal of improving infrastructure to put America back in competition with its opponents.


Nevertheless, despite these positive changes, Biden has also been criticized for his environmental hypocrisy. The Biden administration approved the Willow Project, a fossil fuel project in Alaska, on March 13, leaving climate activists upset and concerned for the planet.


Proposed in 2017 by ConocoPhillips, the Willow Project is an $8 billion project to extract oil and gas in Alaska. The project will take place in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve and will consist of three drill pads, which the Biden administration reduced from the original proposal of five.


The project will last about 30 years and, at its peak, produce 180,000 barrels of oil daily. Once burnt, the oil extracted will result in about 239 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. According to the Climate Reality Project, the project will also greatly conflict with the Biden administration’s goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.


The Willow Project may set the United States back decades in terms of climate progress and will have irreversible damages. Biden’s support of the Willow Project will not project favorably in his upcoming elections.

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