(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden is expected to announce on Thursday a pledge to halve U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within a decade.
Biden will announce the aggressive pledge, according to multiple reports, on the same day the White House hosts dozens of world leaders for a virtual climate summit. The pledge would commit the United States to reducing its emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030.
But critics were quick to point out the flaws in the plan.
“Based on the technology currently available, there is no way to halve U.S. emissions in such a short time without having a drastic impact on our struggling economy,” said Heather Reams, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. “We know that by 2030 90% of all new emissions will come from developing countries and China, so we need solutions that can be adopted as easily in India as in Indiana.”
During the summit, which also falls on Earth Day, leaders will discuss a range of environmental and energy issues such as coal power plants and carbon emissions.
Although Biden did not make the official announcement, his campaign rhetoric indicated that he was planning to take an aggressive stance on environmental issues.
“As President, Biden will lead the world in addressing the climate emergency and lead by the power of example, ensuring the United States achieves 100% clean energy savings and net emissions. zero by 2050 at the latest, ”Biden’s climate plan released during the presidential campaign said.
“He will lead an effort to get all major countries to increase the ambition of their national climate goals,” the plan adds.
Biden’s pledge could devastate parts of the country that depend on fossil fuels for their livelihoods. Wyoming and West Virginia have the largest coal production capacities, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois and Kentucky. These states produced around 500 million short tons of coal in 2019, or more than 70% of the country’s coal production. A short ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds.
“Last year, during the COVID pandemic, the United States reduced its emissions by 12% and we all know at what cost,” said Daniel Turner, founder of the energy worker advocacy group Power the Future. “Thousands of small businesses have been closed forever. Unemployment has skyrocketed. Entire sectors like airlines, hospitality and tourism have been bankrupted. “
Turner’s comments indicate the kind of opposition Biden and the Democrats who support him are likely to get from Republicans.
Other critics say Americans can expect widespread blackouts, higher energy prices and an economic slowdown if Biden’s plan is implemented.
“The second-round pledge announced by the Biden-Harris administration under the unratified Paris climate treaty is absurd and irresponsible,” said Myron Ebell, director of the Center on Energy & Environment for the Competitive Enterprise Institute . “Attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by fifty percent from 2005 levels by 2030 would skyrocket energy prices, make power outages a common occurrence and lead to a widespread energy poverty. Fortunately, Biden-Harris’s pledge is only an expression of intent and has no legal basis. “
Reports indicate that the traditional fossil fuel industry supports just under 7 million jobs in the United States.
These jobs are often concentrated in certain pockets of the country, meaning that a reduction in the fossil fuel industry could send entire cities and even regions into economic recession.
“[Biden] ensure that these commitments are transparent and enforceable, and prevent countries from cheating by using the economic leverage and exemplary power of the United States, ”reads Biden’s campaign pledge. “It will fully integrate climate change into our foreign policy and national security strategies, as well as our approach to trade.”
These international relations, however, are exactly what worries many experts, who say China will use US restraint as an opportunity to gain economic advantage.
“We will give up our American, domestic, reliable, inexpensive and abundant energy to buy substandard Chinese products that are expensive and inefficient,” Turner said. “Meanwhile, China continues to expand, build and grow its economy primarily through coal-fired power plants and expanding its oil and gas production around the world. China and Russia are elated that the US president is prepared to punish his own country for reaching a globalist standard that they globally ignore.
Making public promises to world leaders will make headlines and win favor with the Democratic base, but critics say it won’t change much to the reality on the ground without Capitol Hill’s help. Biden will need congressional support to implement the sweeping changes needed to make his ambitious promises come true.
“We have to rely on widespread public opposition to convince enough Democrats in Congress to join with Republicans in defeating the implementation of this grotesque takeover to cripple the US economy,” Ebell added.
Biden has allies among Democrats keen to secure a victory for the party base.
Democrats reintroduced the Green New Deal on Tuesday ahead of Biden’s summit, pushing for a total reshuffle in the country’s spending as well as the energy industry.
“Do we intend to send a message to the Biden administration that we need to go further and bolder?” asked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y. “The answer is absolutely yes.”