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Biden and the Issue of Climate Change
(Pixabay)

Biden and the Issue of Climate Change

Al-Arabiya, Saudi Arabia, February 4

Climate change was a top agenda item for President Biden on the campaign trail — and it’s quickly becoming a dominant feature of his administration now that he’s in the White House. The decision to return to the Paris Climate Agreement, from which Trump withdrew, was one of Biden’s first executive orders issued upon his inauguration as president of the United States. But Biden didn’t stop there. He made several important decisions regarding climate change to signal his seriousness about the issue, the most notable of which was the appointment of former Secretary of State John Kerry as the United States special envoy on climate change, and the convening of a special task force of legal experts to review and implement the president’s ambitious environmental vision. As a part of this vision, Biden wants the US to invest in green technologies, ensure a full national transition to clean energy by 2035, and commit to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Finally, Biden issued an executive order suspending oil and gas exploration in America, which sparked widespread debate in Washington due to its adverse effect on the American shale oil sector. Some pundits believe that Biden is striving to become the global leader on the issue of climate change. This is not out of the question. Certainly, this would be consistent with the agenda of the Democratic Party, which has spoken out against large oil companies and oil tycoons. But Biden isn’t guided by ethics and morals alone. For example, the president’s decision to freeze and suspend all oil and gas exploration in America, which will lead to losses estimated in the billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, must be grounded in considerations that go far beyond morals. There are key political and economic interests at play as well. Biden is well aware of the fact that the next generation of economic investments will be in renewable energies. He is working to protect his nation’s financial well-being in the long run. Biden appears to be well aware of this, and this is strongly evident from the ambitious environmental agenda aimed at intensifying investment in alternative energy. Further, the issue of climate change has become a battleground between the US and China. By positioning himself as a global leader on climate change, Biden is putting up a fight against his fierce competition in Beijing. It is my belief that climate change will remain a guiding factor in much of Biden’s domestic and foreign politics. Those who want to predict the president’s future policies and actions would benefit from examining them through the lens of the environment — specifically through America’s moral, economic and political motives in becoming a leader in battling climate change. –Dana Al-Anzi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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