The upcoming presidential election presents a seemingly unprecedented polarization among American constituents, with the members of one party, and its candidate, being perceived by the other, as an evil cabal of deplorables and vice versa.

America is polarized, and the subject of Climate Change offers revealing insight as to why. When both candidate’s policies regarding the matter are analyzed, stark differences reveal themselves.

President Trump and Candidate Biden, it should almost go without saying, have radically different views and policies on just about any subject. In terms of both policy and attitude, the two can be deemed antipodes, and their stances on Climate Change deeply reflect their diametrical opposition. 

In brief summary, the two candidates positions on climate change go as follows:

President Trump seems to take a more populist and nationalist stance when it comes to Climate change, his policies seeming to put the American fossil fuel worker first, and having the environment and legislation shape itself and follow after. Trump’s “America First Energy Plan”, a one-page manifesto, expresses these principles fairly well, stating that he is “committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.” Moreover, Trump’s policy initiatives advocate rolling back many if not all Obama-era environmental regulations, most notably pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord Agreement. 

President Biden is glaringly different policy-wise on Climate Change, not unexpectedly, and plans to spearhead a vigorous effort towards clean energy, reaching a 100% clean energy economy no later than 2050 as the desired goal. Biden plans to undo the vast majority of Trump’s rollbacks and legislation and wants to invest large sums of money into renewable energies, in hopes to increase jobs. In addition, Biden has also equivocated in the past on his stance towards fracking but now has clearly stated his opposition towards doing so. 

When a more detailed survey of the two candidates’ policy positions towards the environment is conducted,  the stark differences of both sides’ initiatives become readily evident, and the inherent divide between party lines even more so.

Joe Biden’s plan essentially follows in the recognizable footsteps of the AOC created resolution the Green New Deal,(GND) stating in his campaign platform that the “Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.”  Bidens’ plan goes on further to say that his plan follows two truths of the GND doctrine, the first being in spear-heading an initiative to galvanize the American people into tackling the issue of Climate Change and its various effects as a united collective, and the second being a stance that the economy should more or less adapt to and define itself around the environment and its changes due to climate change, not the other way around.  Biden has also vowed to undo Trump’s environmental policy rollbacks and rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. 

The plan is marked with a price tag of 2 trillion dollars and by 2050 aims to achieve 100 percent clean energy with net-zero carbon emissions.

These seem to be lofty goals and do in fact require rather stringent parameters to attain them. By way of an “enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025”  , rigorous reductions on methane pollution and on all oil and gas operations, severe reductions of greenhouse gases from transportation, and modifications to the ‘Clean Air Act’, will mark Bidens Strong forward push towards clean energy. 

Biden also plans on making heavy investments into clean energy infrastructure by investing into renewable energies such as wind, solar and advanced biofuels, with aims to boost the economy and create various new jobs in the future as a result.

Biden has said in the past with fairly clear language that he would ban fracking, though in more recent times he backtracked and said he wouldn’t ban it but instead just not put any new ones

Biden wants to ban new gas and oil permits and intends to end fossil fuel energy by 2035.

Trump, by marked contrast, advocates for a more blue-collar focused Climate Change agenda, with aims at promoting the American fossil fuels and natural gas worker and carbon and methane emitting industries. The America First Energy Plan will continue to de-legislate several Obama-era environmental policies, in favor of creating “energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.” as he puts it.

‘The America First’ plan, which Trump seeks to continue with, aims at focusing on the American infrastructure of fossil fuel industries, stating that emphatic pursuit and investment in the industry will bring innumerable jobs and incalculable prosperity to the American People. 

We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.”  

Trump doesn’t mention investing in renewable energies in the plan, but mentions the importance of the environment and his aims at protecting it stating:

 “Our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.” 

Furthermore, The Trump administration has also revoked California’s authority to set stricter Carbon Dioxide (Co2) emission standards by way of this plan, with a National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) bill calling for the nationalization of Co2 emission standards, creating and transportation fuel economy by way of “finalizing regulatory text related to preemption under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and withdrawing a waiver previously provided to California under the Clean Air Act.”

Trump has also lessened regulation on coal power plants arguing in favor of being ”committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.” 

By all available metrics, Trump seems to be more populist than environmentalist in his policies. 

Trump is also pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord saying “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries,”  further citing concerns of the American worker being severely disenfranchised as a consequence.

In the past, Trump has denied climate change, but he has since changed his stance regarding the matter in a statement made this year, acknowledging its existence. He has, however, maintained a clear primary stance in providing jobs, and prioritizing the economy, infrastructure and the worker first. 

“I also want jobs. I don’t want to close up our industry because somebody said you have to go with wind or you have to go with something else that’s not going to be able to have the capacity to do what we have to do,” Trump said in response to a question about his stance on Climate change.

Written ByDaniel Seidman

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