Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

After the bipartisan infrastructure plan canceled some key climate initiatives of President Joe Biden, climate activists and their Democratic allies in Congress are desperately in need of large-scale investments to curb global warming. Congress must honor Biden’s promise to push the United States toward carbon-free electricity, make the United States a world leader in electric vehicles, and create millions of jobs in solar, wind, and other clean energy industries. 

The bill faces major obstacles, even if the Democrats use procedural methods that only require a simple majority. In an evenly distributed Senate, it is far from certain whether moderate Democrats will agree to an expansionary measure that could be as high as $6 trillion. On the other hand, a cheaper bill that fails to fully solve the climate change problem may lose the support of a large number of Liberal Democrats who promise to take action on what Biden called the “survival crisis of our weather.” As climate measures are canceled in the bipartisan plan, the impact of climate change is increasing, such as hurricanes, wildfires and droughts, and other deteriorating disasters. Scientists urge immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the most serious consequences of global warming. 

The US$973 billion bipartisan deal includes funds used to build a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations, purchase thousands of electric buses, and upgrade the power grid. It will also spend US$55 billion on improving drinking water and wastewater systems, and US$47 billion on flexible work in response to climate change, but many climate-related proposals have been canceled, including Biden’s push to achieve electricity by 2035.

The carbon-free plan also spends hundreds of billions of dollars on tax incentives on clean energy sources such as wind and solar energy and technologies to capture and store carbon emissions. Last week in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden highlighted projects that could get more funding from the bipartisan bill, such as hybrid buses and highway maintenance equipment. 

The White House stated that climate considerations will become a key part of the infrastructure, employment, and education plans, which will be fully determined by the Democratic Party through Congress’s “budget coordination” process. Activists say that the bipartisan framework for cooperation is inadequate in almost all major climates. Biden’s initial proposals in the spring included improvements in building energy, the establishment of a civilian climate team, and huge expenditures on environmental justice.

The White House stated that it is firm on Biden’s ideas and issued a memo last week reiterating its commitment to promoting the development of the electric vehicle market, making buildings and properties more resistant to severe weather patterns, and ensuring that the country’s power grid passes 2035.

While pushing for climate change, some people on the left expressed disappointment over several recent environmental actions by the Biden administration. Although generally supporting Biden’s approach, environmentalists are concerned about the decision to continue the Trump-era large-scale oil project on the northern slope of Alaska and protect the two upstream pipelines in the Midwest, namely the Dakota Passage Pipeline and Onkyo Energy’s 3 Line replacement items. Environmentalists are also frustrated by the government’s failure to restore the federal coal sales ban imposed by President Barack Obama. 

Drew Caputo of Earthjustice, an environmental law firm, said that although Biden had made the “right decision” in rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, his government’s support for other oil and pipeline projects undercut Biden’s commitment to curbing global warming. 

The lead author of the bill and chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Peter DeFazio, stated that the threat of climate change means that “we must rebuild in a way that has never been done before. This will be expensive, but the good news is that it will create millions of high-paying jobs.”

By Mandy Berg

Mandy is an editor and writer for Plainsmen Post. She's covered everything from the Stanley Cup Finals to the world of lightsaber combat in his young career.

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