It’s Tuesday, July 14, and Joe Biden’s climate plan just got turbocharged.
Today, Joe Biden unveiled the most ambitious climate plan a (presumptive) Democratic presidential nominee has ever taken into the general election. The former vice president said he would spend $2 trillion during his first term on clean energy initiatives, including transitioning the country’s electric grid with the goal of running on 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2035. The plan would also retrofit 4 million commercial buildings and 2 million homes to be more energy efficient.
While the new proposal is neither as progressive nor as detailed as the climate plans put forth by Biden’s former rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — it does not ban fracking or phase out fossil fuels — it represents a significant ramp-up of Biden’s energy plan, which previously called for spending $1.7 trillion on clean energy over 10 years. And the majority of Americans in key battleground states agree with the plan’s main goal according to a recent poll from progressive think tank Data for Progress. The group surveyed more than 1,500 likely voters across 12 states last week and found that 60 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” support a transition to “100% clean energy by 2035.”
Environmental groups and activists, including Sunrise Movement co-founder Evan Weber, have declared the ramped up clean energy timeline a victory. “[B]e proud, and let’s keep pushing,” Weber tweeted.
Even without the warming effect of an El Niño, 2020 is on track to be one of the hottest years in recorded history. The first half of the year was 1.07 degrees C (1.9 degrees F) above the 20th century average, and June was the 426th month in a row with hotter-than-normal monthly temperatures, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Trump administration said on Monday it will not revise national air quality standards for ozone, despite scientists’ calls for stronger regulations. “There is powerful, overwhelming evidence that shows that this standard is not adequate to protect the health of Americans,” said a group of 15 health-based organizations in a statement.
Also on Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it will relax some Clean Air Act requirements for diesel engine makers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturers will now be able to apply for flexibility from the EPA, and their requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.