United States: Biden returns to Washington with his own climate agenda stuck in Congress | Climate and environment

Presidents Boris Johnson and Joe Biden at COP26.DPA via Europa Press (Europa Press)

Joe Biden was unable to travel to Glasgow Climate Summit with Social Spending Program Approved by the United States Congress, which includes the largest investment in clean energy in the history of the United States (555,000 million dollars, 479,000 million euros). Now, the US president returns to the White House on Wednesday after making big commitments on climate issues at COP26, but he has yet to deliver on domestic promises. The grand plan to reform health, education, climate and tax laws is still stuck in the halls of the Capitol because two moderate lawmakers can’t reach an agreement with the rest of the bloc, leaving their potential approval up in the air.

The atmosphere of Glasgow was far from Washington. As announced by Biden and the European Union International plan to control methane emissionsRepositioning the United States as a leader in the global fight against climate change, The future looks less rosy in the American capital. The “Real Transformation of America” ​​programme, reduced to $1.75 trillion (1.51 trillion euros), has scrapped a series of initiatives, such as paid maternity leave, making the environmental component the most relevant and richest of the programme. Rebuild better (Rebuild better; 1.51 billion euros)

“The law will reduce emissions [de gases de efecto invernadero] More than one billion metric tons. Biden has championed it, which is at least 10 times greater than any climate law passed in the past. The proposal focuses on making clean energy cheaper through tax credits, rather than taxing fossil fuels. There are $300 billion (259 billion euros) in tax incentives for producers and buyers of wind, solar and nuclear power, which will accelerate the shift from oil, gas and coal.

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If the legislation is passed, Electric vehicle buyers will get up to $12,500 (10,800 euros) of tax credits and the cost of installing solar energy on a residential roof will be reduced by approximately 30%, reducing the payback period to about five years. The plan also includes the creation of a Civilian Climate Authority. It will consist of 300,000 employees dedicated to restoring and protecting forests and wetlands from the effects of rising temperatures. In another broken law in Congress, related to physical infrastructure, there is a cut to investment in building a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.

Greenhouse gases at the 2005 level

Its environmental component It generated a consensus among legislators After the hottest summer in its history, in a year marked by wildfires in California and flooding in New York, among other parts of the country responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions that have warmed the planet since it was industrial. Legislation and other actions by the executive branch would make it possible to make progress in the goal of halving the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

The social plan only needs a simple majority in the Senate, with Republican and Democratic senators at 50%-50%, but in the event of a tie, Vice President Kamala Harris has a casting vote. The democratic divide has so far prevented America’s largest climate bill from coming up. One of the rebels, Senator Joe Manchin, represents West Virginia, a major coal and gas producer. His unexpected vote forced Democrats to remove a key provision targeting the electric power sector. However, on Monday, he said he might vote against the program.

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When Biden flew to Rome last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned members of Congress not to “embarrass” the president by dropping the plan while he was on tour. But they couldn’t even vote for it. The American president has already returned to Washington, on the first anniversary of his electoral victory, and his stellar project has no date for voting.

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