IN April Joe Biden pledged to cut US carbon emissions by 50-52 per cent below 2005 levels by the end of this decade, essentially doubling the previous plan. This added to his earlier promise to decarbonise the electricity system completely by 2035.
His main weapon to achieve these objectives lay in the $2trillion Federal spending package which he hoped Congress would pass. However, thanks to opposition from the Republican Party and some moderate Democrats, his euphemistically named Infrastructure Bill has been shredded.
Instead of $2trillion, only $579million of new money has been voted, and this is spread over eight years. In US terms, this is chicken feed.
Much worse for Biden is the fact that nearly all of this spending is going to genuine infrastructure works. Money for green projects has been whittled to the bone.
For instance, Biden had proposed $174billion to accelerate a transition to electric vehicles in the United States via incentives to purchasers of EVs, the building of a network of 500,000 EV charging stations, and direct federal spending. Congress cut this to just $7.5billion.
He also wanted $313billion to make homes and schools more energy-efficient. Congress cut this out completely.
Above all Biden wanted to spend $650billion over ten years on a US ‘clean energy transition’. Again this has been removed from the Bill by Congress.
Hard-Left Democrats are naturally furious at Biden’s cave-in. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, joined protesters outside the White House who accused Biden of being a coward. Meanwhile the Green Party put out this statement: ‘We are in a climate emergency, with time rapidly running out to avoid climate collapse. Sacrificing needed action on climate in order to get sign-off from the climate-denying Republicans and their hordes of special interest donors is a crime against humanity.’
The neutering of the Bill makes it nigh impossible to get anywhere near Biden’s targets, which many would say are pie in the sky anyway. During Obama’s eight years in office, he succeeded in cutting carbon dioxide emissions by only 5 per cent, and much of this was due to the rise of shale gas.
With most of the world already refusing to be bullied into cutting emissions, this latest news from the US leaves the UK and EU totally out on a limb. How long before it snaps off?