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Biden Outlines $2 Trillion Climate Plan

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden details his $2 trillion climate proposal Tuesday at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del.
Chip Somodevilla
Getty Images
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden details his $2 trillion climate proposal Tuesday at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del.

Updated at 2:36 p.m. ET

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday outlined an updated climate plan, seeking to invest $2 trillion to boost clean energy and rebuild infrastructure.

The proposal is the second plank of his new economic agenda called "Build Back Better," which he first detailed last week in Pennsylvania.

Biden's climate initiative calls to chart the United States on "an irreversible path" to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

To do that, the plan would aim to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. It would also upgrade 4 million buildings and weatherize 2 million homes over four years to increase energy efficiency. And the proposal, Biden's campaign said, would seek to shift major cities toward public transportation and "create millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure."

The former vice president's plan comes with a $2 trillion price tag, with plans to deploy those resources at an accelerated pace during his first term.

The proposal also includes environmental justice components, such as creating an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the Department of Justice.

"When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is 'hoax,' " Biden said in prepared remarks Tuesday in Wilmington, Del. "When I think of climate change, the word I think about is 'jobs' — good-paying union jobs that'll put Americans to work."

Biden also compared what he called President Trump's failed leadership on the climate crisis to the president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Trump's reelection campaign said Biden's proposals would "destroy jobs," and the former vice president is also "drastically underreporting the costs of such a plan." Team Trump also said Biden is "embracing the far-left climate positions" of people such as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Indeed Inslee, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination on a climate platform, called Biden's new plan "visionary" in a New York Times interview.

The climate initiatives follow the unveiling of lengthy policy recommendations from joint task forces created by Biden and his onetime primary rival, the progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

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Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.