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Biden unveils US$2t climate plan in new contrast with Trump
[WILMINGTON, United States] White House hopeful Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious, US$2 trillion climate change plan that would revamp the US energy sector and seek to achieve carbon pollution-free power in just 15 years.
The clean energy proposal was fleshed out in a speech in Wilmington as the veteran Democrat aimed to draw a contrast with President Donald Trump ahead of November's election by arguing that fighting climate change would be a massive job creator under a Biden administration.
Mr Biden pledged to spend US$2 trillion over four years to promote his plan, a dramatic acceleration of the US$1.7 trillion he had proposed to spend over 10 years in his climate plan during the primary race.
"Transforming the American electrical sector to produce power without producing carbon pollution... will be the greatest spurring of job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century," Mr Biden said.
"That's why we're going to achieve a carbon pollution-free electric sector by the year 2035."
The plan includes more ambitious goals than the climate proposal he rolled out months ago when he ran as one of the more moderate Democratic candidates in the party's nomination race.
By embracing some of the ideas of his more liberal rivals at the time, including Senator Bernie Sanders and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Mr Biden appears intent on winning over progressive voters who might be wary of the former vice-president and longtime Washington staple.
He also said he would rejoin the Paris climate agreement that Mr Trump pulled the US out of in 2017, fund the construction of 1.5 million new energy efficient homes, upgrade appliance standards and prioritise renewable energy.
"We're not just going to tinker around the edges," Mr Biden said.
"I know meeting the challenge will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy."
Mr Biden said he would reverse some 100 steps taken by Mr Trump to roll back environmental regulations.
He also reiterated parts of his earlier climate proposal, one with goals shared by House Democratic leaders including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that would put the nation on the road to net zero emissions economy-wide no later than 2050.
Mr Biden, who has refrained from campaigning publicly amid coronavirus outbreaks, attacked Mr Trump on his failure to contain a pandemic which has killed 136,000 Americans, or to set the right example to citizens by wearing a mask, something he finally did on Saturday.
"It's gotten bad enough that even Donald Trump finally decided to wear a mask in public," Mr Biden said.
"I'm glad he made the shift," Mr Biden added. "But Mr President, it's not enough. We won't be able to turn the corner and get the American people back to work safely without presidential leadership."
Mr Biden also savaged Mr Trump and Republicans for lacking technological vision and peddling "backward-looking policies that will harm the environment" and hurt the economy.
Mr Biden leads Mr Trump on most issues, according to polling, but voters still see the president as stronger on steering the US economy.