Energy & Environment

Biden campaign adopts carbon-free power by 2035 in $2T environment plan 

Former Vice President Joe Biden will aim to make electricity generation carbon free by 2035 as part of a $2 trillion climate and infrastructure plan should he win the White House in November.

The plan, unveiled Tuesday, comes as an addition to the Democratic candidate’s existing climate plan, which calls for a $1.7 million federal investment as the left wing of the party has sought to push him farther on environmental issues.

Biden’s new proposal also includes investing in 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, creating a new climate research agency and halving the carbon footprint of buildings by 2035, including by upgrading 4 million buildings. 

Some of the ideas in the plan, notably the 2035 carbon-free power target, echo recommendations set by a task force made up of supporters of both Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a former progressive rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. 

The two co-chairs of that panel were Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who had endorsed Sanders, and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. 

In infrastructure, the plan calls for all U.S.-made buses to be zero-emission by 2030 and endorses “ambitious” fuel economy standards, although it does not specify what those will be. 

Biden also wants to create a “Civilian Climate Corps” that will take on a variety of jobs, including conserving public lands, planting trees, repairing irrigation systems and protecting coastal ecosystems. His plan also aims to create 250,000 jobs to plug abandoned oil and gas wells. 

And his new plans calls for creating an Environmental and Climate Justice Division to “hold polluters accountable.” The plan credits Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), another former presidential candidate, with this idea. 

The former vice president’s plan would also tackle a class of cancer-linked chemicals known as PFAS by designating it a hazardous substance and setting enforceable limits. 

Aiming to address environmental inequalities in communities of color and low-income communities, the plan intends to target 40 percent of the clean energy investment in disadvantaged communities. 

The new plan already garnered some praise among environmentalists. 

“Joe Biden’s climate plan—by a long shot—is the most ambitious we have ever seen from any president in our nation’s history,” Gina McCarthy, who led the Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration, said in a statement. “This is the kind of leadership we need in the face of a challenge of this scale.”

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Climate change Gina McCarthy Jay Inslee Joe Biden Joe Biden John Kerry PFAS
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