In the June of 2017, Donald Trump formally announced that the United States planned to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Though it would take until November 4th, 2019 for the United Stated to officially withdraw, this announcement was sensational news as it would make the United Stated the first and only country to ever leave the Paris climate agreement.
Since he’s taken office, Trump’s policies regarding climate change consisted mostly of rolling back regulations of the Obama administration. For instance, he replaced the Clean Power Plan of the Obama administration with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule which had weaker regulations on power plants. His administration also weakened rules limiting venting or flaring of methane from oil and gas production on public lands. Furthermore, Trump has frequently claimed that climate change is a hoax on Twitter, using dubious evidence to back his claims.
Climate change was a major part of Joe Biden’s platform in the 2020 presidential election. While most Democrats agreed that there should be stronger legislation to combat climate change, they disagreed on how strong. Some Democrats supported the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan introduced by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that would result in net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Republicans, however, scoffed at the plan, labeling it as a socialist policy and claiming that it would result in massive unemployment. Biden’s plan, although bearing some resemblance to the Green New Deal, is not as drastic.
On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Biden unveiled his two trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal called the American Jobs Plan. The goal of this plan is to not only combat climate change but update the infrastructure of America and create millions of jobs along the way.
Biden’s plan includes updating the country’s electric grids, build roads, fund public transportation, remove lead from the water pipes, increase electric vehicle usage, building and retrofitting housing, and a myriad of other infrastructure projects.
To fund this project, Biden proposed raising the corporate tax to 28%. Currently, the corporate tax rate is 21%, which the Trump administration created by cutting the 35% corporate tax rate from the Obama administration.
This proposal, if passed, is an important step towards Biden’s ultimate goal of having net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Retrofitting homes would allow them to use energy more efficiently, and updating the country’s electric grids would ensure that no power shortages will take place due to extreme weather like it did in Texas. The proposal also includes a mandate that a certain portion of electricity comes from renewable resources like solar or wind power.
Since Biden unveiled his plan, Republicans voiced numerous criticisms right away. Some argued that the tax hike would move companies away and create a net loss of jobs in America. Trump even claimed that the true beneficiary of Biden’s plan would be China as they would receive an influx of jobs.
Other Republicans do not consider most of the items in Biden’s plan as infrastructure. Instead, they insist that the infrastructure plan is a facade to increase corporate taxes and push the Democratic agenda.
Surprisingly, some Democrats also criticize Biden’s plan, although for drastically different reasons than those of the GOP. Democrats like AOC maintain that more needs to be done to combat climate change and Biden’s plan is doesn’t do enough.