Biden pledges biggest-ever investment in clean energy
A White House economic policy that puts an emphasis on clean energy and other low-carbon alternatives on October 28 was met by the usual dose of bipartisan bickering.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat, offered further details on his so-called Build Back Better agenda as lawmakers continued to debate over various legislative initiatives from the budget to infrastructure.
Biden’s administration described proposed moves to arrest climate change as the “largest ever” effort toward that goal in US history.
“Delayed action on climate also sets us back in the global race on manufacturing and innovation and keeps us from harnessing the economic opportunity that this moment represents,” the administration said.
Biden’s framework calls for $555bn in investments in clean energy and would, if passed, extend rebates to consumers who shift to clean energy. To assist in a move away from fossil fuels, the agenda calls for an embrace of US-made wind turbine blades, solar panels and electric vehicles.
Republican leaders were having none of it. Senator John Boozman, a Republican representing Arizona, described the plan as a “far left Democrat wish list.”
“It would eliminate thousands of jobs in the energy sector and would accelerate our already rapid inflation,” he said.
Prices for energy products from natural gas to refined petroleum products are at multi-year highs, causing concern that mounting inflationary pressures could undermine economic growth. Federal estimates put growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2% on October 28, lower than many had expected and far less than the 6.7% growth rate recorded in the second quarter.
While Biden is pressing for a greener agenda, his administration has called on OPEC to release more crude oil to counter soaring commodity prices.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, nevertheless praised the president for taking climate change seriously and investing accordingly.
“Wildfires and droughts are growing worse and are an existential threat to my state,” she said. “By investing so heavily in fighting climate change, the root cause of both problems, we’re showing that we take this problem seriously.”
Biden’s announcement came before he embarked on an overseas trip for the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.