Story at a glance
- The White House revealed its climate framework on Thursday, just days before Biden is set to attend a global climate summit in Glasgow.
- If passed, the climate plan could lower the cost of an electric car by $12,500 and make it cheaper to install solar panels on homes.
- Businesses would be incentivized to invest in clean energy technology, like solar and wind turbines.
President Biden’s Build Back Better plan has been jockeyed between members of Congress for months, and finally the White House revealed a $555 billion climate change plan that could become the single largest investment in clean energy in U.S. history.
Revealed Thursday, the White House outlined what exactly Biden’s climate plan includes. The goal is for the U.S. to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent by 2030. In order to hit that goal, Biden created a set of incentives, investments and tax credits that would encourage businesses and consumers to use renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, over fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal.
If passed, Biden’s climate plan will roll out a new tax credit that will lower the cost of an electric vehicle by $12,500. It would also cut the cost of installing solar panels in homes by around 30 percent, which could shorten the payback period by around five years.
The plan would also create incentives for businesses to focus manufacturing in clean energy technology, like solar panels and wind turbines, in the U.S. Industries like steel, cement and aluminum will also become eligible for government loans, tax credits and procurement to drive investment away from fossil fuel manufacturing.
Carol Browner, former president Barack Obama’s top climate adviser, told The Washington Post, “This is game-changing. This is six times the amount of Obama’s investment, and we thought that was big.”
However, there are significant elements that are notably missing from Biden’s plan. After receiving pushback from West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin, a clean electricity standard was removed. This would have required electric companies to increase the amount of energy they generate from wind, solar and other renewable sources until they’re no longer emitting carbon dioxide, an idea that Biden campaigned on.
A fee for when oil and gas companies emit methane was also excluded, a greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Biden’s climate plan has yet to be formally passed in the House or Senate, but the White House revealed its details at a strategic time for Biden. The president is set to attend the United Nations COP26 where leaders across the globe will meet in Glasgow, Scotland to discuss climate change action starting Oct. 31.
Leah Stokes, associate professor of political science and climate and energy policy expert at the University of California at Santa Barbara, tweeted her support for the newly revealed climate plan and the importance of getting it passed, “because the climate math is brutal. Even if we are lucky enough to get this bill over the finish line, we need more next year. The climate clock is ticking!”
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