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Clarifying The Biden Climate Plan

Does Joe Biden currently endorse a 100% renewable energy goal for the US by 2035? Not at the present time.

In a recent article, CleanTechnica focused in on the climate plan the Biden campaign has actually announced. Several people questioned our reporting, saying they thought the plan included a pledge to transition the United States to 100% renewable energy by 2035. It does not. Here is the relevant portion of the existing plan taken directly from the JoeBiden.com website:

“Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050. On day one, Biden will sign a series of new executive orders with unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform and put us on the right track. And, he will demand that Congress enacts legislation in the first year of his presidency that: 1) establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025, 2) makes a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation, 3) incentivizes the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change.”

What many readers thought was the Biden plan is actually the work of a separate group headed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and John Kerry that includes supporters of both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders who are attempting to find common ground with each other. There are a number of so-called “unity groups” who hope to shape the final policy initiatives of a Biden presidency, which is appearing much more likely as the current occupant of the Offal Office continues to flail against a virus pandemic he takes as a personal affront.

According to The Hill, the AOC/Kerry task force plan includes a goal of eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035, achieving net-zero emissions for all new buildings by 2030, and making energy saving upgrades to as many as 4 million buildings and 2 million households within five years.

“The Unity Task Force urges that we treat climate change like the emergency that it is and answer the crisis with an ambitious, unprecedented, economy-wide mobilization to decarbonize the economy and build a resilient, stronger foundation for the American people,” the plan states.

It further calls for a significant investment in renewable energy, including installing 500 million solar panels and manufacturing 60,000 wind turbines. Contrary to the policies of the current administration, it recommends the adoption of “strong standards” for clean cars and trucks and the transition of all school buses to American-made, zero-emission alternatives within five years.

The Hill reached out to the Biden campaign for a comment on the AOC/Kerry plan but got only a general response that praised the group and other unity task force organizations for “their service and helping build a bold, transformative platform for our party and for our country.” That and five bucks will get you a latte at your favorite Starbucks location.

So the answer to the question “Does Joe Biden advocate for 100% renewable energy in America by 2035?” is no, at least at the present time. But these things are a work in progress, as every political campaign tries to read the tea leaves and latest polling data in order to fashion a message that appeals to the widest possible number of voters while alienating the fewest in the process. And the pivot to clean energy continues to accelerate regardless what politicians do or say. The courts will also influence the debate as well.

These things always evolve right up to Election Day, so there is still a chance Joe Biden could decide to embrace renewable energy more assertively. Will he? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?

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