New U.S. president ‘could be turning point in climate fight’
A Midlands energy expert has welcomed a new era in the battle against climate change after the victory of American President-elect Joe Biden this month.
“He has a plan and has promised to listen to the scientists,” said Ron Fox. “It is great news, not only for the American people, but the whole world.”
Already the next White House resident has pledged to:
- Re-join the Paris climate agreement, the international pact designed to avoid dangerous increases in the world’s temperatures. Previously Donald Trump had pulled out of the deal which the Barack Obama administration had signed up to in 2017.
- Make US energy production carbon-free by 2035 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
- Spend $2 trillion over the next four years to upgrade four million buildings and make them more energy efficient.
- Invest in public transport, especially electric vehicle manufacturing and charging points and giving consumers financial incentives to trade up to cleaner cars.
- Support the next UN climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021, hosted by the UK which wants every country to update their national carbon cutting plans with new tougher targets.
- Restrict oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters; block pipelines that transport fossil fuels across the USA and provide incentives to develop renewable power.
But there will be problems for the new president with the Republican Party currently controlling the Senate and with any legal challenges being decided by a heavily conservative Supreme Court.
However, Joe Biden knows better than many how to navigate the upper house; he was elected to the senate six times before serving as vice-president under Obama.
And encouragingly Democrats and Republicans worked together in September this year on a green bill to cut the use of hydroflurocarbons (HFCs), some of the most powerful greenhouse gases which are used in fridges.
“One big advantage is that apart from lowering carbon emissions these plans will also increase the number of new jobs,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park (www.noreus.co.uk).
The other big plus is that Biden’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by the middle of the century, along with China, the UK, the European Union, Japan and South Korea which together create more than 50 per cent of the global greenhouse gases – could help keep global temperatures below a rise of 1.5C by the end of the century.
This target could prevent small islands from sinking beneath the waves, could ensure that millions of people avoid the disasters of extreme weather and could limit the chances of an ice-free Arctic in the summer.
Also, America, as the world’s biggest economy and the second bigger emitter of carbon gases, could push other countries to take faster action.
“This could be an historic tipping point for the world when we really begin to get on top of this battle to control climate change,” said Ron.
For more details about green energy, call Ron on 0845 474 6641.