Biden's big climate let down

Despite the hype the new US president stands accused of empty platitudes and incremental change

Biden's lack of ambition is demonstrated by his recent Earth Day announcement that the U.S will cut carbon emissions in half. This sounds good but there is a catch. The emissions that are being cut in half are based off 2005 levels, a year defined by especially high carbon emissions. U.S carbon emissions have decreased by 14-15% since then. This means that by default the Biden administration has achieved a substantial part of their goal. This is hardly what I’d call ambitious.

We have now reached 421ppm of carbon in our atmosphere, levels not seen for 3 million years. The West of the U.S last year experienced wildfires on a scale that were forecast for 2050, and many refugees are arriving at the southern border who are fleeing for reasons entirely climate related.

In other words, we have no time for small incremental changes, we have no time for empty platitudes or broken promises. If we want to continue and prosper as a species, then we need fundamental change. We need to rewild the land, to make our infrastructure sustainable and our economy circular. Failure to do so is suicide, because change is coming. The question is, will change come and consume us or will we meet it on our terms? Our leaders have given us their answer and it’s the wrong one. I say it’s time we give them our own answer.

During the 2020 presidential election, many on the left, including myself, we’re extremely hesitant to cast a vote for Joe Biden, despite the threat of a second term of Donald Trump. I can imagine an outside observer being easily confused by this, as any superficial examination of the two candidates would make Biden look like an angel compared to the loud mouthed despot that is Trump. However, with any amount of digging, the contrast between the two men is not as stark as it would appear to be at first glance. Trump's past has been defined by nearly everyone on the left as a legacy of racism, misogyny corruption and sheer dishonesty.

Biden’s past, much like Trump’s, is defined by these terms as well. When Biden was elected to the U.S Senate in 1972, he worked with segregationists to oppose measures to integrate school buses, so black and white children could go to school together, saying that he did not want his kids to grow up in a “racial jungle”. Like Trump, Biden has used dog whistles such as “predators on the streets” and has described black teenagers as “gangbangers” as recently as last year.

He has been a key architect in America’s racist criminal justice system during the nineties, supporting drug policies that have disproportionately affected Hispanic and African American communities across the country.Years later he has shown no signs of change, firing various white house staffers who admitted to past marijuana use and banning menthol cigarettes, a drug disproportionately used by Hispanics and African Americans.

Biden has a horrendous record of misogyny, with a credible rape allegation and a well documented history of inappropriate behavior around women, in public no less. There is also Anita Hill, a law professor who accused justice Clarence Thomas of sexual assault during his confirmation in a situation not dissimilar to the Kavaugh confirmation. Biden was part of a panel that oversaw Hill’s testimony, Biden bent over backwards for his republican colleagues, striking deals with them to prevent women with corroborating testimony from speaking and downright accused Hill of lying.

Biden’s career is riddled with corruption, his ties to credit card companies He supported a bill in 2005 that created the student debt crisis America faces today. Biden could have used his leadership position in the democratic party to stop the passage of the bill, but his ties to the credit card companies stopped that.

These issues are all of great importance, however they pale in comparison to the climate crisis we face today. Climatic shifts milder than those we currently experience and environmental degradation have ended entire empires such as the Mayans and the Neoassyrians. Shifts similar to what we face today have occurred in the past and they have been nothing short of catastrophic, with one extinction event caused by the natural burning of fossil fuels nearly ending multicellular life on earth.

In the face of these issues the Democratic establishment has decided Joe Biden is the man to handle this crisis. Combined with his poor record and his campaign promise to his Wall Street donors that “nothing will fundamentally change”. Biden clearly lacks the moral character and vision to meet this challenge.