Breaking news: US Presidential candidate speaks cogently about energy transition


Presidential candidate Joe Biden offered a different vision of the U.S. energy future than the one being shaped by the Trump administration — in a podcast over the weekend, ten days out from Election Day.

Here are some Biden quotes on climate change:

  • “Climate change is the existential threat to humanity…We have a moral obligation, not just to young people — we have a moral obligation to everyone.”
  • “First thing I’m going to do is rejoin the Paris climate accord, because without us — nobody runs it, nobody steps up, no one has the moral authority to do it.”
On an equitable clean energy transition:
  • “We’re going to get to zero net emissions for the production of electricity by 2035 and it’s going to create millions of jobs. But, we can’t be cavalier about the impact it’s going to have and how we’re going to transition to do all this. I just think its a gigantic opportunity to create really good jobs.”
  • “We cannot discount the concerns of people, what it means to their well being…and how they make a living.”

On renewables:

  • “The fastest growing jobs are in solar and wind — paying prevailing wage — $45 to $50 bucks an hour, plus benefits.”
  • “It’s a fait accompli — no one is going to build a another oil- or gas-fired electric plant — they’re going to build one fired by renewable energy.” [Editor’s note: A lot wrong in that quote — firstly, plenty of gas-fired electric plants are going to be built in the coming years.]
  • Biden noted, “The president of the U.S. has control of signing $600 billion in federal contracts and one of the largest auto and trucking fleets in the world.” Biden said the U.S should “own the EV market.”
  • “We need to invest billions on transmission.”

On leadership

  • “We can go net neutral in terms of carbon tomorrow and we’ll still have our shores flooded, we’re going to have hurricanes…We need a president who can lead the world.”
  • “The thing that bothers me most about Donald Trump is he has so fundamentally damaged the moral authority we have. We have the most powerful military in the history of the world — we not only lead by the example of our power, but the power of our example — and the example we’re setting around the world is devastatingly negative to our own security interests and the world’s overall interest.”

Trump energy

The current administration has made aggressive moves to open up BLM land to the oil and gas industry, funded clean coal and CCS projects and performatively encouraged the doomed U.S. coal industry. The Trump administration has left the Paris Climate Accord and does not acknowledge the science of climate change.

In recent congressional testimony, Kate Kelly, public lands director at the Center for American Progress said, “The Trump administration is favoring oil and gas over renewable energy,” noting that the administration holds quarterly lease sales to the oil and gas industry and is offering another 500,000 acres this year during a pandemic when there is an oil glut — at minimum bids of $2 per acre.

She compared that to the “Zero acres and zero competitive lease sales” for renewables during this administration. Royalty rate relief was provided for oil and gas while wind and solar received retroactive charges. She said there was a “huge juxtaposition” in the way the two industries were treated.

Congressman Jared Huffman said that the administration adhered to an “Oil of the above energy policy.” He said the administration was “giving away our public lands” in an unprecedented rush to develop oil and gas.

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