President Biden’s political strategy for climate change
Although Democrats control the federal government, their control is fragile, and some political analysts doubt their ability to implement the transformative changes in climate, social, and economic opportunity policies they are seeking. But the hard-won political acumen of President Biden and the calm determination of his experienced team should not be underestimated. Biden managed to piece together a bipartisan infrastructure bill worth trillions of dollars without taxing the middle class. It will be interesting to see if McConnell and the staff will obstruct the bipartisan deal. After the deal was concluded, Biden said that he would only sign the agreement when he had larger spending bills to cover his other key priorities, which surprised him himself. Although he later retracted that sentence, its impact may continue.As Jonathan Weisman, Emily Cochrane and Jim Tankersley in New York Times last week:
“…Almost immediately after arriving at the destination [Infrastructure] Mr. Biden and the Democrats offered a huge warning, which could complicate the chances of passage. Both the president and the top Democrats have expressed compromises, and this is only a small part of it. Mr. Biden’s $4 trillion broad economic agenda, Can only be advanced with a larger bill that will inject trillions of dollars into healthcare, childcare, higher education, and climate change programs. This measure, which has been strongly opposed by Republicans, will be paid for by re-enacting the tax law to obtain the wealth of the super-rich and multinational corporations who transfer their profits and jobs overseas. “If this is the only thing I think of, I won’t sign it,” Mr. Biden said of the infrastructure part. “It’s in series.”
When President Biden briefly “off the paper” and seemed to abandon his own hard-won compromise, the subtlety of the balancing act was strengthened. The reaction of the senators who risked political risks through the agreement and the White House’s response to Biden’s “gaffe” vividly illustrates the degree of polarization that our country’s Capitol is now in.According to Emily Cochrane, Jim Tankersley and Michael D. Shear New York Times:
“As the senator left Washington on Thursday afternoon for a two-week recess for July 4th, until late in the evening, some people in the negotiating team saw Mr. Biden’s remarks, especially Republicans. Interpreted as an implied veto threat. Senators and their staff began texting and calling each other and the White House. The Liberal Democrats mocked the Republican Party’s frustration and accused their colleagues of looking for excuses to oppose the deal Although the Democratic Party’s desire to seek reconciliation has long been made public. On Saturday, Mr. Biden finally admitted his mistake, because lawmakers and aides said they would continue to write the text and gain support.”
Biden’s team has a difficult and complex political problem to solve. So far, they have demonstrated the skills to build political support. The moderates on both sides have obtained obvious and important infrastructure agreements that Biden agreed to last week. If Republicans break the agreement, they risk weakening the main senator in the politically competitive purple state. If they are replaced by Democrats, then Republican control of the Senate will be threatened in the future. If progressive Democrats abandon the agreement, they risk alienating moderate Democrats, who need to get 50 votes in the Senate to support their agenda. Assuming that the bill passed by both parties is passed, Biden’s team must repeat the feat they accomplished through the COVID stimulus measures and formulate a large-scale budget bill that can be promulgated through budget reconciliation. This will require the unity of all 50 Democrats and independent senators. They need a bill that Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders can agree to.
Although some of the funding needed to address climate change is in the infrastructure bill, most will be in the subsequent larger budget reconciliation bill.
Enacting a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill and a trillion-dollar incremental economic plan will require LBJ-style political skills. Fortunately, President Biden’s time in the Senate (from 1973 to 2009) and eight years as Vice President seem to have taught him a thing or two. Known for his lack of discipline and a tendency to speak before thinking, as president, he is usually cautious and focused on limited priorities. Biden is an experienced politician and negotiator; he knows he will never get everything he wants. Half a loaf is better than nothing, and usually winning in the first half can create the foundation needed to add something missing.
The most important element of Biden’s climate strategy is to link it with the revitalization of the US economy. Our power grid is old and fragile.Hacking attacks and extreme weather have caused Major failure. Since it needs to be transformed, why not transform into a smart grid based on renewable energy? Decarbonization of the energy system can create a cheaper and lower-cost form of energy. Biden does not want to tax carbon and increase energy prices, but wants to subsidize renewable energy and reduce energy prices. You don’t need to care about climate change to support energy systems that will not collapse and have lower operating costs. Both Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders should be able to reach an agreement to subsidize a large number of union construction work to rebuild the power grid that lowers energy prices.
Previous climate initiatives focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by regulating fossil fuel emissions Carbon tax, Command and control supervision, or through the quota and transaction system. Biden’s policy will work with utilities and other greenhouse gas emitters and help directly fund the transition to renewable energy. There are emission reduction targets, but they are combined with the need to help utilities and industries fund the capital costs of transformation. By the way, this is the same way we funded sewage treatment plants in the 1970s.In the end, build Grant Replaced by low interest rates loan As the tax base generated by the municipality to pay for the capital and operating costs of the sewage treatment plant. As far as energy is concerned, the fuel cost of the renewable energy grid will be lower than the cost of the fossil fuel grid, so as energy prices drop, the initial federal subsidies will no longer be needed.
Like Mike Bloomberg’s strategy in his PlaNYC 2030 sustainability plan, Biden’s approach is to integrate environmental policies into economic development and job creation. Biden and his team understand that a clean environment can improve everyone’s quality of life, and the accelerated clean environment funded by the federal government can help stimulate the US economy. The Republican Party’s trickle-down strategy of reducing taxes on businesses and the rich and hoping that they would use new cash to create jobs was replaced by infrastructure and social welfare subsidies that were paid for by taxing the wealthy and businesses.
The political struggle will focus on this fundamental shift in strategy and economic policy. Opinion poll data show that Biden’s approach is very popular. If Biden can keep his promise and avoid taxing the middle class, this may prove to be a successful political move. The stakeholder or political dilemma parts that must be put together in some way include:
- Climate activist and environmentalist
- Unions and blue-collar workers seeking employment in construction or manufacturing
- Moderate senators, such as Joe Manchin and his supporters-especially moderate suburban residents
- Progressive legislators and supporters such as Alexander Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders
- The life of the black is also a supporter of the life movement, feminist and LBGTQ activist.
The alliance must be convinced that a series of partial victories is better than total defeat. The true test of Joe Biden’s leadership will be the challenge of bringing this diverse group together. A defection in the Senate disintegrated the group. A small faction in the House of Representatives can do the same thing. The only strength of the Democratic Party is their ability to compromise. If they are not united, they have no right to do anything. Biden’s ability to empathize and his legislative experience are important assets as he approaches the critical test of his presidency. As Congress and the entire country (hopefully) get rid of our pandemic, these tests will be conducted after Labor Day.
President Biden has linked the modernization of the U.S. economy with an effort to reduce poverty and drastically reduce greenhouse gases. He restored the traditional symbolic role of the presidency, including as a uniter of the country. The President of the United States is the head of government and head of state: he is both the king and the prime minister. Biden’s approval rate is high, and his approval rate for his COVID response is even higher. The president’s first year usually offers political opportunities that can never be replicated.
For environmentalists, 2021 will be a critical year. We have an American president who understands the climate crisis and its serious threats and historical opportunities. If the United States does not play a leading role in responding to the climate crisis, it is hard to imagine that the rest of the world will take the actions we need. Much depends on the president’s political skills and the talents of experienced senior managers in his administration. I believe this strategy is reasonable. By the end of 2021, we will know whether it is possible to become a reality.