Biden’s Build Back Better plan unrealistic

Katie Kha, Contributing Writer

For the past few decades, the issue of climate change has made itself more prominent. Massive street protests and heated feuds between politicians and environmental activists have erupted.

As U.S. citizens demand serious action on the crisis, political leaders continue to deliver grand promises of change yet continuously they fail to provide concrete results.

On Nov. 1, the White House published statements from President Joe Biden’s speech at the UN Climate Conference (COP26) where he spoke about his Build Back Better Framework. In his statement, Biden pledged to “cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030” as well as “reaching a 100% carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.”

These statements were extremely bold in tackling climate change compared to President Barack Obama’s “The Presidential Climate Action Plan” that was issued nearly nine years ago. However, Biden’s ambitious claims are those of idealistic fantasies rather than realistic goals.

Global greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing exponentially since the 1940s and have only ever experienced a plummet in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Though, as lockdowns ease and industries begin surging again there has been a significant rebound in these carbon levels.

Researchers from Rhodium Group said in a January article, “Progress in reducing US GHG emissions was reversed in 2021, moving from 22.2% below 2005 levels in 2020 to only 17.4% in 2021, putting the US further off track from achieving its 2025 and 2030 targets.”

Biden’s goal of cutting the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in half within the next 10 years has a slim chance for success because his ambitions are set exceptionally high. With the reliance on combustion of fossil fuels, it seems impractical to zero out carbon emissions in merely 13 years.

A plan such as this, encounters extreme political, economic and logistical challenges. It requires a considerable amount of money with Congressional approval, an increase in deployment of new and existing technology, and a substitution of energy sources in a short time frame.

On Sept. 28, at the Youth 4 Climate Summit, Greta Thunberg, a climate change activist, reprimanded Biden’s Build Back Better Plan. She said, “Of course, we need constructive dialogue, but they’ve now had 30 years of ‘blah blah blah,’ and where has that led us?” It is essential to implement policies and plans to counter climate change, but pledging to accomplish ideological goals gives false hope to citizens who in reality are living in a mass extinction.

The climate change dilemma affects humanity, wildlife and ecosystems. In an article on Deutsche Welle website, Christoph Bertram, a German scientist leading international climate policy, said, “But, for a long-term target like this there is no single action you could take today that would ensure this goal.”

Although there has been skepticism on the Build Back Better plan, Biden has also met a wave of supporters for his new plan. Democratic Party voters are in favor of the $555 billion plan to invest in transitioning to cleaner energy sources and creating American jobs.

Biden insists the plan will lower inflation and raise taxes on multi-millionaires and large corporations to fund the plan. Although a large-scale plan such as climate change requires a great sum of money, Biden is betting a significant amount on a plan that does not ensure 100% success.

As the world continues to battle against the overwhelming effects of climate change, everyone can agree immediate action is necessary. Biden’s climate change goals need to become more realistic and attainable for the future of the planet and its citizens.