What a Biden climate plan means for the global energy sector
20 January 2021
We previously looked at what Joe Biden’s presidency will mean for US banking regulations, but how will a Biden climate plan affect the global energy sector?
The inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States is good news for the global renewable energy sector. Biden has made his stance on climate change clear, stating that the previous Republican Party has set the country back “in terms of progress on environmental justice”, making the nation “more vulnerable”.
“Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan ensures that – coming out of this profound public health and economic crisis and facing the persistent climate crisis – we are never caught flat-footed again. He will launch a national effort aimed at creating the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future.”
A $2-trillion boost for clean energy over the next four years is how Biden intends to set the US back on track. Biden intends to invest in clean energy research and innovation, including battery technology, carbon-free hydrogen, small modular nuclear reactors, decarbonizing the food and agriculture sector, and promoting offshore wind power, similar to the UK's Build Back Greener plan.
Among an extensive set of measures, the clean energy plan has a heavy focus on the following:
"Ensure that environmental justice is a key consideration in where, how, and with whom we build – creating good, union, middle-class jobs in communities left behind, righting wrongs in communities that bear the brunt of pollution and lifting up the best ideas from across our great nation – rural, urban, and tribal."
"Drive dramatic cost reductions in critical clean energy technologies, including battery storage, negative emissions technologies, the next generation of building materials, renewable hydrogen, and advanced nuclear."
Transforming transportation infrastructure
"Transforming our crumbling transportation infrastructure – including roads and bridges, rail, aviation, ports, and inland waterways – making the movement of goods and people faster, cheaper, cleaner, and manufactured in America while preserving and growing the union workforce. Biden will also transform the energy sources that power the transportation sector, making it easier for mobility to be powered by electricity and clean fuels, including commuter trains, school and transit buses, ferries, and passenger vehicles."
"Move ambitiously to generate clean, American-made electricity to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. This will enable us to meet the existential threat of climate change while creating millions of jobs with a choice to join a union."
Food and agriculture
"Decarbonizing the food and agriculture sector, and leveraging research in soil management, plant biologies, and agricultural techniques to remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it in the ground."
During Biden's first day in office, the President re-joined the Paris Climate Agreement after Donald Trump having pulled out of the agreement on the second day of the two week climate talks in Marrakech in 2016. But ironically it takes four years to leave the agreement, so the US only officially left the day after the recent election.
Alongside the agreement, Biden has also promised to work with Europe towards the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November 2021. The President of the USA will need to put forward a 2030 climate plan before the Glasgow talks and is said to be joining the ‘net-zero emissions by 2050’ club.
Completely renovating the US energy industry will be a challenge, but as his political career shows, Biden is a realist and a consensus-builder. He will be likely to work towards his clean energy plan in a pragmatic way with the support of the Democratic party.
Through elimination of natural gas for power and the regulation of fossil fuels, the Biden plan will effectively eradicate natural gas and oil from American energy and move the US towards a cleaner, greener future.
The President’s clampdown on the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a move welcomed by many, however Biden may have limited room to manoeuvre if Republicans retain control of the Senate.
These commitments have created substantial expectations but will also have extensive impacts on the energy sector worldwide. With Biden fully committed to integrating climate change into US foreign and national security policies, there is an increasing belief that the US will step back into a leading global climate leadership role with global implications.
The Biden climate plan is about to shake up the global energy sector. Find out how Ideagen can help support the industry prepare for the future.
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