Biden's Climate Change Plans Could Face Serious Challenges In A Divided Congress

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Climate change is one of the top four crises president elect biden. Says he'll tackle. I but his ambitious plans could meet serious challenges if he faces a divided. Congress make an rod is part of npr's climate team and joins us now. Hi nathan nary biden's climate plans. Were the most aggressive ever put forth by a major party candidate. How much do they depend on. Congressional support Quite a bit to accomplish everything that he's pledging to do. Because yeah i mean as you said. He set some very ambitious goals though we should say they are goals that targets. That are very much in line. With what the scientific community has been saying for years that we need to do which is cut greenhouse gas emissions fast to avoid worst case climate scenarios. And that's what biden's plan would do. He wants to cut all carbon emissions from the electric sector by two thousand thirty five. He wants to make america. Carbon neutral p- not adding any greenhouse gas emissions to the planet by twenty fifty. And to do that would require massive changes and not just our electrical sector but industry transportation massive investments in new technology. And obviously. that's a lot easier to do financially politically lawsuit wise. If it's done with congressional support with congressional support you said so what happens if democrats control the house and republicans control the senate as looks likely. How much of this can you still get done. That's a good question. I think there are you know. Obviously there are parts of the republican party current present included who do not see climate. Change is as much of an issue but that is not universally true and You know remember. There's also this big and growing movement of businesses utilities cities states that are taking their own aggressive actions to reduce emissions themselves. So i've heard some environmental groups and also some more conservative folks. In recent days you know suggest that biden reach out and try to engage. Republicans on this issue scott siegel for example as a partner at the lobbying in law firm bracewell which represents some fossil fuel companies and. He says there is an appetite on both sides for technological advancement so better batteries. Hydrogen fuel carbon storage and. He thinks that's an opportunity. A lot of where we've seen. Bipartisan legislation in congress has married and innovation agenda to expansion frankly of regulatory authority so there might be the makings of a deal there and i think that A biden administration be well placed to try and pull that deal off and by that means you know. Biden has a history of working across the aisle and being in congress so that should help. So what if mitch mcconnell says not going to happen. What could biden accomplish with executive actions. He can still do quite a bit you know. He could roll back rollbacks. At the trump administration undertook on you know everything from methane emissions to clean water rules. He could use existing laws like the clean air act to direct agencies to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. That's what the obama administration did before you know maybe one of the easiest goals that he set for himself to accomplish just to make the us a big part of the global conversation about climate. Change again He can do that by rejoining the paris climate agreement which he says he's going to do and just by being a part of international talks. What are you going to be looking for between now january twentieth when he's inaugurated know i think it's gonna be really telling to see who he nominates to some of these key agencies that deal with environment and climate issues. He's being urged by more progressive parts of his party to not give leadership roles to people who have ties to fossil fuel companies That is something that no modern administration has done before. It's something that biden has not committed to But if he does go route or he nominates folks were viewed as more progressive to lead the epa or interior department That could be a signal of how ambitious you might try to be on climate action you know but also if republicans maintain a senate majority and they fight those nominations to nail. That could be telling of how much resistance. He's going to run into on his broader climate agenda as well. That's npr's nathan. Thanks nate thank

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