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Biden vs Sanders: Climate Change Policies - Yiğit Mert Yüreklitürk

On 3 November 2020, the presidential elections of the USA will be held. Thus, starting from the end of 2019, campaigns of Democratic Party candidates began to speed up. Even though there are still multiple options, it seems, as either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders will be racing against Republican President Donald Trump. This projection consists of the presidential primary, which was held on 3 March, “Super Tuesday.” The candidates’ self-acknowledged actions differ significantly on several subjects such as health care, immigration, and education. Climate change is one of the topics as well, considering that their rival doesn’t even accept that climate change exists. At the same time, a considerable portion of the country (and the world, obviously) expects imminent changes in US policy.

Joe Biden’s Clean Energy Revolution starts with rejoining Paris Climate Agreement. The main goal is to have net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. According to the plan, even though the country might still be burning fossil fuels and releasing global warming emissions by mid-century, it would make up for it using other techniques, such as carbon capture, to remove an equivalent amount of gases from the atmosphere.

As for technology, Biden hopes to develop nuclear energy even further, and by increasing the funding for R&D of storage for radioactive waste, he aims for a viable solution. For budget’s sake, Biden proposes spending $1.7 trillion on the environment over the next decade, creating 10 million new jobs.

To create this budget, plans to reverse Trump’s tax cuts for large corporations to fund his initiatives.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, upholds a much more aggressive plan with his Green New Deal. Starting by rejoining Paris Climate Agreement, as his opponent, Sanders aims to have all of electricity and transportation fueled by 100 percent renewable energy by no later than 2030. He has pledged to dissuade the rest of the economy from fossil fuels by 2050. His plan is entirely reliant on having viable options on renewables because carbon capture and development on nuclear waste storage do not provide a permanent solution to climate change. The whole deal consists of a $16.3 trillion budget for the next decade, which may seem considerably higher. Still, if all goes according to the plan, Sanders estimates that his plan will end unemployment by creating 20 million new jobs as part of a green economy.

As an addition to reverse Trump’s tax cuts for large corporations, he will also raise taxes for corporate polluters and fossil fuel investors excessively.

Nonetheless, despite the visible difference in their policies towards fossil fuels, votes from relevant states were divided on Super Tuesday. Having the most significant shares of petroleum products in the USA, Texas voted in favor of Biden, as expected. However, Dakota and California voted for Sanders. In the upcoming months, it will be concluded whether America chose significant changes for future or simple measures.


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