Biden Dramatically Accelerates His Plan For Carbon-Free Power

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at McGregor Industries in Dunmore, Pa., Thursday, July 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden released a plan Tuesday aimed at combating climate change and spurring economic growth in part by overhauling America’s energy industry, with a proposal to achieve entirely carbon pollution-free power by 2035.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee will discuss the proposal later Tuesday near his home in Wilmington, Delaware. It marks his latest effort to build out a legislative agenda with measures that could animate progressives who may be skeptical of Biden, who waged a more centrist campaign during the Democratic primary.

The plan reflects ideas embraced by some of Biden’s more progressive allies during the primary, like Jay Inslee, whose campaign centered on the issue of climate change. The Washington governor first proposed achieving entirely carbon-free electricity by 2035.

In the plan, Biden pledges to spend $2 trillion over four years to promote his energy proposals, a significant acceleration of the $1.7 trillion over 10 years he proposed spending in his climate plan during the primary.

The proposal doesn’t include specifics on how it would be paid for. Senior campaign officials who requested anonymity to discuss strategy said it would require a mix of tax increases on corporations and the wealthy and deficit spending aimed at stimulating the economy.

The proposal also doesn’t address the controversial natural gas and oil extraction process known as fracking. The issue is politically sensitive in some key battleground states such as Pennsylvania. During the primary, some Democrats proposed an outright ban on fracking while Biden limited his opposition to new fracking permits.

The plan places a heavy emphasis on updating America’s infrastructure, and includes investments in improving energy efficiency in buildings and housing as well as promoting conservation efforts in the agriculture industry.

The plan also includes a portion focused on environmental justice, including the requirement that 40% of the money he wants to spend on clean energy deployment, reduction of legacy pollution and other investments will go to historically disadvantaged communities.

On a Monday evening fundraising call with renewable energy executives, Biden pledged to make an irreversible impact on the nation’s efforts to combat climate change.

“God willing I win and even if I serve eight years, I want to make sure we put down such a marker that it’s impossible for the next president to turn it around,” he said.

Senior campaign officials said Tuesday morning that the plan includes planks that could be achieved by executive action, and others that would require legislation. The officials, who requested anonymity to discuss the campaign’s thinking, said many of the energy measures would be included in the first stimulus package Biden plans to bring to Congress.

It would likely face steep opposition from elected Republicans. Democrats need to pick up at least three seats to take back the Senate, and Biden has pledged to campaign hard to help Democrats win back control.

But he argued during his Monday evening fundraiser that the current “historic set of crises — a pandemic, an economic crisis and systemic racism” would make it “easier” to pass major reforms like his climate plan.

Climate change, Biden said, “is the existential threat to humanity, and it is real. It is real. And it is urgent, and the public is becoming aware of it. And it may be the very answer to get us out of this economic situation we’re in.”


Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.

Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. So what is the point of this?

  2. Saving Planet Earth and the future of the human race?

  3. Ambitious, but you won’t achieve ambitious goals if you don’t have them.

  4. As Rethugliklans used to say, usually as a means of using The Shock Doctrine to achieve their goals, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

    So go for it, Joe. Bet it all. Go for broke.

  5. Avatar for 10c 10c says:

    The energy transition we must accomplish to survive as a civilisation will encompass nearly every segment of our economy and will be the biggest jobs program in all of history, and most of the jobs will require education and training and as such will demand solid middle class pay packages.

    The answer to whether to ban fracking or not is simply to make the technology obsolete by eliminating the demand for it.

    The roughnecks and miners presently employed, in most cases intermittently in the classic boom-and-bust cycles that have always typified energy extraction, already have skills that can be easily upgraded to make them ideal employees in deployment of new technologies. If some roughneck says he won’t work building wind farms, he’s being an ideological asshole and deserves to wash dishes or sweep floors instead.

Continue the discussion at

11 more replies


Avatar for discobot Avatar for bluinmaine Avatar for arrendis Avatar for ignoreland Avatar for dickweed Avatar for hoagie Avatar for tiowally Avatar for 10c Avatar for skeptical Avatar for nightshadow Avatar for juvenal Avatar for rucleare Avatar for emiliano4

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: