Column: More info on Biden plan for climate change needed

Lindsey Ulrey

President Biden opened a global summit on climate change Thursday by announcing that the United States will aim to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% based on 2005 levels, by the end of the decade.

When the global climate agreement was written during the Obama administration, the United States pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 2005 levels by the year 2025. We are currently not on track to meet this goal. This is largely due to the Trump administration pulling the United States out of this commitment. During Trump’s time in office, he also rolled back several federal efforts aimed at reducing emissions.

Speaking to NPR before the announcement was made, Biden’s national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy, said halving U.S. emissions was a realistic goal. “Many would think that that’s not doable. But I would argue that there’s opportunities for us to be able to be very aggressive in what it is going to take for that opportunity,” she said.

“This is not a challenge that we should shy away from,” McCarthy said, arguing that Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan would steer the country’s economy in that direction. “We are talking about trains. We are talking about ships. We are talking about an opportunity to advance our transportation sector by investing in electric vehicles and battery manufacturing here in the United States, both for vehicles, but also for battery storage opportunities. We’re talking about building a new resilient grid.”

Administration officials have been very vague when asked how the United States will achieve this goal. Officials repeatedly stated that there are “multiple pathways” to meeting the goal. The White House will lay out more details on its NDC goals and how, specifically, it plans to achieve them in future reports to the United Nations.

“In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis, and we can’t wait any longer,” Biden said before signing a series of climate-focused executive orders during his first week in the White House. “We see it with our own eyes, we feel it, we know it in our bones and it’s time to act.” Biden has framed the climate crisis as a way to create more jobs.

This would be great if we actually had heard a solid plan of action of how he plans to do that. Hopefully that is part of the information that we receive in the NDC goals.


Lindsey Ulrey is a freshman political science major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]