An editorial in the Washington Post reflects on the climate provisions in President Biden’s $2tn infrastructure plan and his draft budget. It argues: “With the focus on spending to rebuild and bolster the nation, rather than on climate mandates, this approach may be more politically effective. But what is most politically effective may not be most effective for the environment.” It continues: “Though White House officials don’t dwell on this point, the centerpiece of the president’s plan is a mandate: an energy-efficiency and clean-electricity standard…But the Biden plan contains no economywide spur to private companies and consumers to make greener choices…The best answer is to price greenhouse emissions, which is most efficiently done through a carbon tax.” It concludes: “The Biden plan’s clean electricity standard is a decent second-best approach to ensure the electricity sector slashes emissions, but that industry is just one part of the emissions picture. If this Congress refuses to put a price on carbon, future Congresses likely will have a lot more work to do, and less time and fiscal capacity with which to do it.”
In related news, E&E News via Scientific American reports on fresh carbon price lobbying efforts under the headline: “Big businesses say they want a price on carbon.” The piece notes: “The advocacy push comes as Congress prepares to consider President Biden’s infrastructure plan, widely seen as a possible conduit for climate policy.” It says the push is being organised by the Climate Leadership Coalition, which is proposing a carbon price “in exchange for the elimination and simplification of some greenhouse gas regulations”. The article adds: “It’s a plan that has drawn some scrutiny from environmental groups, which are sceptical of the regulatory trade-off and of any climate advocacy from the major oil companies that helped bring climate denialism into American politics.”
Separately, Rolling Stone columnist Jeff Goodell uses his regular slot to argue: “With Joe Biden in office, a serious plan to combat climate change is finally in our sights – but the clock is ticking, and there is no more room for error.” A comment in Scientific American argues that Biden “must now lead the US to go big on climate action”, by using his Earth Day climate summit to announce a goal of cutting emissions to at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. The LA Times reports that Biden will use the summit to “reassure a sceptical world that the US is back”.