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Joe Biden for President

Biden's $2T Energy Jobs Plan

The plan would take on climate change create union jobs

Brian Young's picture
Jul 15, 2020

On Tuesday, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden released a massive, $2 trillion climate plan. The plan aims to boost investment in clean energy and stop climate-changing emissions from US power plants by 2035, a full 15 years sooner than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan.

While Trump has spent the last four years attacking measures meant to decrease emissions and calling climate change a hoax invented by China, Biden’s plan would take dramatic steps to reduce the US’ carbon emission rate. However, whenever climate change is talked about the potential for massive job losses always needs to be discussed. Tens of thousands of union members work in coal and natural gas power plants and their jobs are usually on the line whenever politicians begin to talk about reducing carbon emissions.

However, it is clear that Biden has spoken to the unions who operate these plants and came up with a creative plan that doesn’t call for closing coal and natural gas plants or banning things like fracking. Instead, it calls for massive investments in carbon capture devices which can be placed at power plants to capture the dangerous emissions. Unlike many Democrats, Biden’s plan also calls for keeping nuclear power plants open since they are carbon neutral. Both of these ideas are important since the power grid would not be able to meet the current demand without these plants. He also called for pumping up research on still-developing power technologies like hydrogen power and grid-size storage to stash power from solar and wind, overcoming a key drawback of those carbon-free energy sources now. With the mixture of old and new technologies, Biden’s plan would reduce carbon emission and provide a bridge to keep the power flowing while new, greener technologies are developed.

“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax,’” Biden said at the press conference. “When I think about climate change, what I think of is jobs. Good paying, union jobs that will solve our jobs crisis while addressing our climate crisis.”

The proposal would also include progressive priorities such as investment in retrofitting national infrastructure and housing to use and emit less carbon and addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change. Forty percent of the money he wants to spend on clean energy deployment, reduction of legacy pollution, and other investments would go to historically disadvantaged communities.

Following the release of the plan, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) released the following statement on the plan:

Vice President Joe Biden’s clean energy plan is more than just an ambitious and comprehensive blueprint to combat climate change and put our country on the path to a sustainable future. It is a massive investment in millions of American jobs, doing everything from rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure to retrofitting tens of thousands of homes and offices. As president of the IBEW, the largest union of electrical workers in the nation, I’m pleased that it will create so many jobs in nearly every sector of the workforce we represent, including construction, utility, telecommunications, manufacturing, and railroad. Joe Biden has made it clear that any new federal investments must support American jobs and American made products.

This plan will spur a renaissance in American manufacturing while creating numerous good jobs for electricians by using the power of the federal government to encourage demand for electric vehicles. It will also put Americans to work rebuilding our aged transportation infrastructure, including investing in our railroads, which means more good rail jobs. These are vital jobs that our nation needs more than ever. And by strictly enforcing prevailing wage, workplace protections, and supporting the right of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively, the plan ensures that these will be good, middle-class sustaining jobs.

Confronting the challenge of climate change while ensuring America’s energy security requires tapping into all of our clean power sources, including solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear, and investing in new green technologies like advanced battery storage and carbon capture utilization and sequestration. Vice President Biden’s plan does that with an inclusive and balanced approach to investing in our energy and economic future.  The men and women of the IBEW have been part of American’s clean-energy revolution for years now. We look forward to working with a Biden administration in building a clean and sustainable economy that can both save our planet and help rebuild the American middle class.

The IBEW was one of the first unions to endorse Joe Biden during the Democratic primary and this plan clearly shows that Biden valued their input while crafting it.

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