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Biden is heading to a meeting of world leaders with a massive new effort to fight the climate crisis - the biggest investment in his scaled-down $1.75 trillion spending plan

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/28/2021 asheffey@businessinsider.com (Ayelet Sheffey)
Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Joe Biden. AP Photo/Evan Vucci © Provided by Business Insider President Joe Biden. AP Photo/Evan Vucci
  • Biden unveiled a $555 billion effort to fight the climate crisis ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow this week.
  • This is the largest investment in his scaled-down $1.75 trillion framework for Democrats' social-spending bill.
  • It will help the US meets its goal to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and create green jobs.

When President Joe Biden heads to Scotland for a United Nations' climate summit this week, he'll have a plan to address the climate crisis to unveil in front of other world leaders.

Just under the wire on Thursday he unveiled a $1.75 trillion framework for Democrats' social-spending bill - half the cost of the original $3.5 trillion proposal. While many progressive priorities like paid leave and tuition-free community college were dropped from the plan, one major priority received the biggest investment: the climate. The plan came just in time as Biden previously expressed concern that the "prestige" of the US was at stake on the world stage after negotiations with centrist Democrats forced him to cut a major clean-energy program from the bill.

According to a White House press release, Biden wants to invest $555 billion to combat climate change and meet the goals of the US, and globally, to reduce global warming. The announcement of this investment comes just as Biden is set to head to the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow this week, where he can present his plans to world leaders as they discuss how countries can come together to tackle the urgent threat of the climate crisis.

This investment comes even after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin opposed the inclusion of the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), which would have allowed for Biden to reach his goal to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030.

The $555 billion investment is not far off from what Democrats initially wanted - $600 billion - and the White House referred to the investment as the "largest effort to combat climate change in American history."

"The framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate targets, achieving a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels in 2030 in a way that grows domestic industries and good, union jobs - and advances environmental justice," the White House said.

Specifically, the $555 billion investment will:

  • Deliver consumer rebates and ensure middle class families save money as they shift to clean-energy infrastructure, like solar rooftops;
  • Ensure clean-energy technology is built from American-made materials, creating thousands of jobs in the country;
  • Invest in clean energy projects around the country built by a new Civilian Climate Corps that would provide over 300,000 union jobs for Americans;
  • And invest in coastal restoration, forest management, and soil conservation to help farmers and forestland owners meet climate emission reduction goals.

These investments come after a Paris agreement of world leaders set a goal to keep global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. A recent UN report found that unless action is taken quickly, temperatures could rise to about 2.7 degrees Celsius by then. This prompted UN Secretary-General António Guterres to call out countries for "utterly failing" to meet climate goals, saying world leaders needed to work to avoid a "climate catastrophe."

To be sure, the investment is just a framework, and it is unclear whether all Democrats will sign on to it, especially since progressive priorities like free community college and paid family and medical leave were left out. But when it comes to climate, most Democrats, and Biden, agree it needs to be passed.

"This is by far the most significant piece of legislation passed in the world to deal with the climate," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders told reporters on Thursday.

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