Last Friday at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (more commonly referred to as COP27), in Egypt, United States President Joe Biden asserted that global warming posed an existential threat to the planet and promised his country would meet its targets for fighting it. In his speech, he said, “The climate crisis is about human security, economic security, environmental security, national security, and the very life of the planet.”
Biden laid out the following actions his administration has taken on the climate front:
- Passed legislation to improve the nation’s infrastructure to make the power grid better able to transmit clean energy, expand public transit and rail, and build a nationwide network of over 50,000 electric vehicle charging stations.
- Passed a climate bill last summer to invest $368 billion to support clean electricity through offshore wind farms, distributed solar generation, zero-emission vehicles, sustainable aviation fuels, more efficient electrified buildings, cleaner industrial processes and manufacturing, and climate-smart agriculture and forestry.
- Required major federal suppliers to disclose their emissions and climate risks and set targets for themselves that are aligned with the Paris Agreement.
It is estimated that these initiatives will reduce U.S. emissions by about 1 billion tons by 2030 while unleashing a new era of clean-energy-powered economic growth. U.S. investments in technology, from electric batteries to hydrogen, are also expected to spark a cycle of innovation that will reduce the cost and improve the performance of clean energy technology. These advancements in technology will be made available to nations worldwide to accelerate decarbonization on a global scale. These actions, the President claimed, put the U.S. on track to achieve its Paris Agreement goal of reducing emissions 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.
The aftermath of COP27 will be interesting. In the U.S., the enactment of new climate change legislation will be tough to achieve with a Republican-controlled House. In that event, the market can expect the Biden administration to resort to policy initiatives to drive visibility, accountability and transparency through execution, enforcement and requiring disclosure of climate data. Thus, the Democrats’ movement on climate initiatives in the first half of Biden’s term will continue into the second half, with the midterm election results hamstringing the extent to which they will be able to advance that movement.
Protiviti has issued a flash report about the implications of Biden’s speech at COP 27. Read more here.