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Is This The Year We Really Attack Climate Change?

It appears that finally the world as a whole is ready to do something major about heading off climate change. President Biden has made it a priority, other governments seem totally committed, and the private sector seems to understand the ramifications on the world’s economy if we don’t attack the issue aggressively.

Biden used the bully pulpit of the office of the Presidency to push climate change as a worldwide issue during the recent virtual Leaders Summit on Climate in April. The American president along with more than 40 world leaders shared their views and traded ideas on how the world can get a hold on the most important issue of our time.

Biden took his opportunity on the virtual world stage to boost his goal of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030. The bold pledge captured the imaginations of many. Still, many are complaining that it’s not enough. Many scientists are saying that the plan falls short and claimed that more was necessary to avoid a potential disaster of a 1.5 degree Celsius rise in the world’s temperatures. Some say that we’re running out of time and only have nine years to really get a handle on the problem.

One critic, Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics, a climate science think tank in Berlin, said that calculations indicate that the U.S. needs to decrease emissions by as much as 57% by 2030.

It is apparent that the Biden Administration, which is full of former aids from the Obama Administration, learned a lesson from the inadequate plan they pushed during its turn at the helm. Those who were a part of that administration have learned since then that plans need to be much bolder.

The U.S. president’s commitment for climate initiatives is a major part of his $2 trillion Infrastructure plan that includes:
• $85 billion to improve public transit and assist transportation agencies to expand their systems to meet a growing demand.
• $174 billion on the development of electric cars
• $111 billion to replace lead pipes and to renovate drinking water and sewer systems
• $100 billion to protect nature-based infrastructure including lands, forests, wetlands, watersheds, and coastal and ocean resources; improve the electric grid, boost tax credits for clean energy generation and storage; cap old oil wells and refine old mines; and redevelop Superfund sites.
• $40 billion to enhance public housing
• $10 billion to modernize and to improve sustainability and elasticity of federal buildings
• $35 billion investment in climate science
• $10 billion to fund a new Civilian Climate Corps

Private Sector Involvement Essential

President Biden has said that the private sector could not tackle the issue of climate change alone. Top executives of the private sector say that the federal government can’t do it on its own either. Both are needed to get the issue under control.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde continue to urge the private sector worldwide to get involved. They urged financial institutions and investors to mobilize private capital to tackle the problem.

According to Yellen, the U.S. Treasury and other U.S. regulatory entities will provide assistance to private institutions to identify climate-related threats and opportunities. She reiterated that steps would be taken to improve financial reporting and increase the reliability of climate-related information.

Lagarde praised actions taken by the European Commission to create standards for green investments.

Bloomberg LP, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Goldman Sachs have committed to assist in the transition to net zero emissions. The companies will help businesses and investors capitalize on opportunities that will move us toward clean energy.

The companies have promised to assist developing markets collect the much needed capital and investment to transition from fossil fuels to renewable power.

The three companies also plan to initiate an innovation fund that will distribute capital to energy transition projects in the developing markets and will focus their endeavors on South and Southeast Asia. Indonesia requires about $90 billion to spark renewable energy development by 2025. India has plans for an ambitious renewable energy program for 2030 that needs $500 billion in investments.

Businesses are now aware that the destructive elements of climate change including flooding, drought, and pollution threaten production, shipping, irrigation, and more.

It appears finally that the planets are aligned and that there will be climate change legislation this year. How bold it is depends on the Republicans in Congress and how much Democrats are willing to compromise to get the legislation passed.

If the final bill is not enough to tackle the problem, then maybe major firms from all industries of the private sector can form consortiums that can seek out more private investment to provide what’s necessary if there is a shortfall.