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Anyone who has followed U.S. climate policy is familiar with the cycle of bold attempts to enact climate rules that eventually sputter, followed by years of inaction. President Bill Clinton proposed an energy tax before backing away under industry pressure. President Barack Obama pursued cap-and-trade legislation before it stalled in Congress. Obama tried again using regulatory authority, but much of his moves were undone by a combination of the courts and the Trump administration. In short, every time the U.S. has tried to get its domestic house in order on climate in recent years, the world has instead been left waiting for the next opportunity: a new term, a new president or a new Congress.
Now, it’s President Joe Biden’s turn to go big. At the core of his climate agenda is a proposed $3.5 trillion package that would, among other things, create a new incentive program to wean the country off fossil fuels in the electricity sector, catalyze electric vehicle adoption and invest in using energy more efficiently. This time, the stakes couldn’t be higher—the world simply doesn’t have time to wait for the U.S. to go through another political cycle before it takes big action on climate.
The first and most obvious reason for this comes down to simple math. In the Paris Agreement, the world set a goal of keeping temperature rise “well below 2°C” and ideally to 1.5°C. Temperatures have already warmed 1.1°C since the Industrial Revolution, with most of that warming coming in recent decades. Models suggest that emissions need to start declining rapidly now to have any hope of meeting the goal. The U.S., which dumps 14% of the annual carbon emitted globally, ranks second only to China in its yearly carbon footprint.
Biden has promised to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030 compared to…
Source : time