Biden Announces $2 Trillion Climate and Green Recovery Plan
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion plan Tuesday to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure.
His plan would spend the money over the next four years to boost the transportation, electricity and building sectors' clean energy profiles. It is also part of a plan to create new economic opportunities, improve the nation's aging infrastructure, and to combat the climate crisis, as The New York Times reported.
Biden's sweeping proposals would put an end to all greenhouse gas emissions spewed by U.S. power plants by 2035, arguing that large-scale dramatic moves are necessary to tackle the impending threat of the climate crisis and to revive the economy after the coronavirus pandemic, as The Associated Press reported. It would also ban fracking on public lands.
Speaking near his home in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden also sought to reframe the discussion around the climate crisis, moving it away from a moral imperative and toward an economic one, dismissing Trump's and the Republicans' arguments that investments in green energy would cost jobs. Biden looked to play up how many jobs clean energy creates.
"When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is 'hoax,'" Biden told reporters, The Associated Press reported. "When I think about climate change, what I think of is jobs."
Biden's climate initiative calls to chart the U.S. on "an irreversible path" to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In addition to achieving a carbon-free power grid by 2035, Biden's plan calls for upgrades to 4 million buildings and to weatherize 2 million homes over four years to increase energy efficiency, as NPR reported. Homeowners would be given cash rebates to upgrade home appliances and install more efficient windows. Car owners would receive rebates to swap their old, less efficient cars for newer ones that release fewer pollutants, according to The Washington Post.
The proposal, Biden's campaign said, would aim to shift major cities towards increased use of public transportation and "create millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure," according to NPR.
"We're not just going to tinker around the edges," Biden said his speech. "We're going to make historic investments and seize the opportunity and meet this moment in history."
Environmentalists and liberals quickly praised the climate initiative as a step forward in the climate effort. Predictably, Republicans quickly denounced it as an unwieldy plan that would raise energy costs, as The Washington Post reported.
The new goals align Biden more closely with three primary opponents: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Washington Governor Jay Inslee. They follow the recommendations of a unity task force of Sanders and Biden supporters that was co-chaired by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who co-sponsored the Green New Deal, according to The Guardian.
"This is not a status quo plan," said Inslee, as The New York Times reported. "It is comprehensive. This is not some sort of, 'Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change.'"
Inslee called the proposal "visionary."
Gina McCarthy, the former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator who is now president of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, told The Guardian that the plan was "by a long shot – the most ambitious we have ever seen from any president in our nation's history."
In the proposal, Biden also linked environmental advocacy with racial justice, noting that pollution and other toxins disproportionately affect communities of color. His plan calls for establishing an office of environmental and climate justice within the Justice Department and developing a broad set of tools to address how "environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color," according to The New York Times.
Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the youth-led Sunrise Movement, said, as The Guardian reported, that Biden's plan responds to many of the group's previous criticisms by "dramatically increasing the scale and urgency of investments, filling in details on how he'd achieve environmental justice and create good union jobs, and promising immediate action — on day 1, in his first 100 days, in his first term, in the next decade — not just some far off goals."
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By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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