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U.S. 2020 Presidential Election

The Great Divide

Opposing U.S. Climate Policy

Climate change is a topic of growing geopolitical and economic significance. Europe and China have both committed to net zero emission target respectively by 2050 and 2060. The U.S. is facing a pivotal moment that will determine the nation’s action on climate change with global ramifications.
The incumbent President, Donald Trump, has played the “America First” strategy, which has weakened the U.S. leadership on climate diplomacy. He has also roll-backed several environmental regulations under the presence of supporting business.

Amid the growing U.S. electorate concerns on climate change, the two candidates are shaping different visions on climate change.

Donald Trump’s agenda is noticeably silent on material environmental commitments, whereas Joe Biden is proposing a material green transition.

Employment-related challenges and environmental issues are at the center of Joe Biden’s plan. He announced a $2 trillion package to tackle climate change and create 10 million jobs in climate resilient industries. He also pledges to achieve carbon neutrality for the entire economy by 2050.

Joe Biden’s agenda focuses mainly on the power generation and transportation sectors, including a power sector target for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035. He plans to decarbonize the transportation sector by installing more public charging outlets and by developing new fuel economy standards. On international environmental policies, he envisages the U.S. as a model of energy transition by notably phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

Joe Biden’s record of voting in the U.S on environmental policies reveals that he holds relatively strong climate convictions. However, an analysis of Joe Biden’s program and speeches dismisses the scenario of a radical transition but it would be a U-turn compared to policies under the Trump administration.

This report aims at providing an overview of the opposing Climate Change and Energy policy agendas of the two Presidential candidates.