In 2020, superficial similarities between the two American presidential candidates was believed by the stark contrast between their personalities and their approaches. At pretty much every level, the contrast has been stark to say the least. Take, for example, their approach to climate change.
First of all, in order to deal with climate change, one must have a plan. There isn't much to say about President Trump's plan to deal with climate change, because his plan began and ended with denying the reality. Biden's plan thus far includes grand ambitions to invest in a new green infrastructure, rejoin various international agreements and even make the home solar battery a common reality. What parts of his plan will be achievable is up for debate but the comparison is clear. One candidate had a plan, the other did not.
Achieving goals is easy if no goals have been set, but once you have decided to try, it's a good idea to make those goals realistic and achievable. Biden's plan sets short term goals to achieve by the end of his first term, but extends that line out all the way from 2025 to 2050, by which time the US could have an entirely green-energy economy. His plan also mentions setting up ways to monitor and enforce these deadlines, which is good. Without enforcement, a plan is really just a wishlist.
In order to successfully plan for climate change, one must listen to the scientists and take the best advice available. It's clear that Trump's plans do not include listening to the best science available or even trying to acknowledge the scientific consensus. Biden has pledged to listen to scientists, and his plans reflect that. Science suggests that a systematic, international effort is the best hope for slowing and perhaps even reversing the damage already done to the environment, and Biden's plan reflects that reality.
The main feature of Trump's climate change policy was pulling out of the Paris Accords, an action that Biden has sworn to reverse. Climate change is a threat that faces all nations and defeating it will require international cooperation. Any international cooperation that does not include America doesn't have much chance of success because the US plays such a significant role in the international community and produces a huge amount of the world's greenhouse gasses.
While a climate change plan must include international cooperation, it all begins at home. The USA's infrastructure of bridges, roads and the electrical grid itself is in desperate need of repair and rebuilding. Trump's plan was to work on the infrastructure without regard to climate change or any other environmental concerns, whereas Biden's plan incorporates the two and promotes the building on new infrastructure that is powered by renewable energy and will hopefully serve as a foundation for further development.
A plan as massive as this will require a lot of effort and investment, that's the bad news. The good news is that it could also create a lot of jobs, potentially in areas that have long been struggling thanks to manufacturing jobs that have since moved overseas. Investing in green infrastructure here at home could create much-needed opportunities for employment. This is especially important as the economy struggles to recover in a way that benefits all Americans, not just the richest and most financially successful Americans.
Truly the hardest part of comparing the Trump and Biden climate change plans is that Trump's plan was to have no plan and pretend that nothing was wrong. Unsurprisingly, calling climate change a hoax did not make it any less real or do anything to protect the populations who are bound to be most affected by it. Whether Biden's plan goes far enough in getting climate change under control is still very much up for debate. As with many things, it will have to wait and see.