It was hard not to laugh as I heard the 40 leaders of the world’s most powerful countries outbid each other at the US environmental summit.
Of course, the subject is extremely serious. Global warming will cause more and more meteorological disasters. It is understood that these countries are not doing enough to reduce climate change. China and India in particular. But it would be wrong to underestimate the determination and the means at Joe Biden’s disposal to force the United States and other countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The Biden administration is doing more than just talking.
WHY EXPECT NEW ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES?
Cynicism towards politicians has been encouraged by Donald Trump’s disastrous policies. A perception that will take a long time to dissipate. Yet the contrast between Biden and Trump is stark. While Trump appointed inexperienced and incompetent people, religious fundamentalists or even bandits, Biden on the contrary surrounds himself with very experienced people. The environmental sector is no exception, starting with John Kerry, its Envoy, who was almost elected President of the United States in 2004 and who became Secretary of State under the chairmanship of Obama.
WHAT DOES THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION DO IN CONCRETE?
The Biden administration will invest heavily in the environment. The first investment projects in the field are starting to emerge. For example, as part of the Reconstruction and Infrastructure Development Project, the White House announced a $ 16 billion investment to establish fast electric car charging stations across the United States. To compensate for the closure of coal mines, the government has announced an all-out reconversion plan for the affected areas. This plan includes money for all kinds of projects, from capturing CO2 to cleaning up coal mines and contaminated water, extracting rare minerals from coal tailings, helping SMEs. and community organizations, or support for education and school building.
WHY IS BIDEN IN A HURRY TO ACT?
In just 100 days, the Biden administration has put together an impressive number of concrete projects of all kinds and this is just the start. Joe Biden is in a hurry. No one knows if he will still be able to count on a double majority in the US Congress after the next election in two years.
WHERE ARE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES GOING?
Biden’s United States is trying to take international leadership in the environment. For the moment, this leadership still belongs to the European Union. The latter has just adopted new targets of 55% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to 2005. The measures adopted in Europe point to a probable evolution of the European market towards environmental protectionism. To the chagrin of exporters from countries where environmental standards are still too low. This environmental protectionism risks becoming very tempting for the US Congress, especially in the context of the Cold War between China and the United States.
HAS THE BIDEN SUMMIT ON THE ENVIRONMENT CHANGED ANYTHING?
The summit probably didn’t change anything. But he showed that environmental protection is now at the forefront of global concerns, ahead of the rivalry between China and the United States. It’s good news.