Monday, October 25, 2021

Biden is no saviour


When it comes to addressing the climate crises, many politicians are talking the talk but few are actually walking the walk.

 Biden is just one of several politicians who have promised to deliver policies to slow the advance of global warming. There has been no Green New Deal. Biden may say he listens to climate activists such as the Sunrise Movement but he is long overdue in meeting their demands. Biden's government has little to show other than lip-service rhetoric.  If Biden is indeed a climate champion and the planet's great hope, he appears to be punch-drunk and bout to be counted out. 

His administration is on track to approve the most drilling permits on federal land since George W. Bush was in office. The U.S. is currently the world’s largest producer and consumer of oil and gas.

 Biden could declare climate change a national emergency which would open up vast federal resources and capabilities. He could revoke the permits for pipeline constructions (Line 3, Line 5, and Mountain Valley.)

Many official members of the administration have ties to the oil and gas industry.

Amos Hochstein was a marketing executive for the fossil fuel company Tellurian. Now, Hochstein is essentially promoting American gas internationally as the State Department’s senior adviser for energy security. Susan Rice, Obama’s director of the Domestic Policy Council has had strong financial ties to the fossil fuel industry, holding stock in Enbridge (the Canadian oil and gas company). Rice has been ordered by federal ethics regulators, aware of the conflict of interest, to divest her holdings. Biden also nominated Neil MacBride to be general counsel of the Treasury Department. MacBride formerly worked at the corporate law firm Davis Polk, where he sued the Treasury Department on behalf of Exxon. Biden is hiring a lot of people who have lobbied or they worked for big law firms that represented oil and gas firms. Biden has given government positions to lawyers from the law firm currently used by Chevron, Gibson Dunn, to executive positions. These include Jose Fernandez (under-secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment), Stuart Delery (deputy White House counsel) and Avi Garbow (senior counsellor to the Environmental Protection Agency administrator — a job Garbow has since left).

A matter of employing a fox to catch a fox? We think not, but suggest simply another instance of the revolving door practice where corporations acquire political influence. 

Biden holds tremendous influence on the global economic stage, with veto power in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and an outsized role in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. So far the U.S. has been reluctant to use it to drive action on climate change. Biden could start by acting decisively on a technology transfer and waiving intellectual property rights for green technologies. Biden could use his weight to reduce, at least, if not outright cancel the sovereign debt that is an oppressive financial burden on so many Global South governments in introducing infrastructure measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

Biden holds as much credibility as Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil when it comes to keeping true to environmental pledges. Truth is found in action, not words. 

Adapted from here

Joe Biden is in no position to lecture the world on climate change | openDemocracy

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