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Job creation is at the heart of Joe Biden’s green energy plan

On July 9, Electrek reported that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s unity task force proposed broad environmental recommendations to aid his presidential bid. Today, Biden announced his climate crisis plan, with specific and aggressive targets, which boosts green energy and infrastructure as part of his “Build Back Better” agenda.

Green jobs

Biden gave a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, yesterday in which he built on the plans released by his task force last week. As Grist rightly pointed out, it’s the most ambitious climate plan a presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has ever taken into the general election.

Biden said in his Wilmington speech:

These are the most critical investments we can make for the long-term health and vitality of both the American economy and the physical health and safety of the American people.

When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax.’ When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs.’

His plan states on his website:

We need millions of construction, skilled trades, and engineering workers to build a new American infrastructure and clean energy economy. These jobs will create pathways for young people and for older workers shifting to new professions, and for people from all backgrounds and all communities.

The investments will make sure the communities who have suffered the most from pollution are first to benefit — including low-income rural and urban communities, communities of color, and Native communities.

The specifics

Biden said he would spend $2 trillion over four years on clean energy initiatives. This is a turbo version of his previous plan, which called for spending $1.7 trillion on clean energy over 10 years.

The task force recommended installing 500 million solar panels and manufacturing 60,000 wind turbines. It also recommended the adoption of “strong standards” for clean cars and trucks and the transition of all school buses to American-made, zero-emission alternatives within five years. (It does not, however, ban fracking or phase out fossil fuels, and Biden is in favor of nuclear power.)

The New York Times writes:

Mr. Biden’s plan outlines specific and aggressive targets, including achieving an emissions-free power sector by 2035 and upgrading 4 million buildings over four years to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency.

The plan also calls for establishing an office of environmental and climate justice at the Justice Department and developing a broad set of tools to address how ‘environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color.’

Reaching net zero by 2035 is modeled on Governor Jay Inslee’s (D-WA) former presidential campaign proposal that was also embraced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Inslee said Biden’s plan was “visionary.”

And Americans — in both parties — like green energy. As we previously reported:

79% of Americans overall say the country needs to prioritize alternative sources, such as wind and solar, over the expansion of fossil fuel production.

Is Biden’s plan doable?

Is it possible to boost green energy in an economically viable way? Experts say it’s not just political jargon.

Bertrand Piccard, founder and chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, which supports 1,000 profitable solutions that protect the environment, said during a virtual event for US-based cleantech innovators:

Today it is possible to protect the environment in a financially profitable way. Ten years ago it wasn’t, but today it is.

It’s realistic to create jobs in manufacturing, mobility, construction, infrastructure, agriculture and other industries throughout society, supporting both financial profit and the environment.

(As an aside, Donald Trump has not signed into law any major infrastructure plans.)

In a statement to NBC News, Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund CEO and president Gina McCarthy said that Biden’s plan “by a long shot is the most ambitious we have ever seen from any president in our nation’s history,” a result of him listening to numerous concerns from groups across the country that pushed him make clean energy reforms sooner.

The cost

How would the government pay for it? Biden’s aides said he would pay for it in part by undoing Trump’s tax cuts, raising taxes on wealthy Americans, and increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%. They said more details will come in the weeks ahead after he unveils other economic proposals.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.