Energy Implications of the 2020 Election

With the presidential election less than a month away now, what does each candidate stand for in terms of energy policy, and how can this impact the American people? It seems that the general idea most people have is that a vote for Trump is a vote for more rollbacks of environmental policies while a vote for Biden will mean more strict environmental policies being implemented. Now, instead of just making that general assumption, let us actually take a somewhat deeper look into the differing perspectives of the candidates.

Donald Trump Vs. Joe Biden 2020 Quiz: Who Said That Quote?

Let us start with Biden. If Biden wins, he plans to make big changes to the current administration’s course of action when it comes to environmental policy. Biden proposes what is known as a green stimulus which is estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $2 trillion. His goal is to set the US on a path to having a carbon-free energy sector by 2035. One of the main pros of this plan is the fact that we could potentially be carbon free and help reduce our impact on climate change and protect our environment. Biden also claims that this will create many jobs in the process of achieving this goal. A con is the massive expense of this plan, and also a lack of proof of concept. Obama previously tried to incentivize green energy which never effectively caught on. Also would there potentially be US industries destroyed by this plan? Would the jobs he says it will create make up for the loss of jobs due to destroying industries such as coal and oil?

Now, let us talk about Trump’s view. Trump does not have a set plan like his opponent, but it is easy to see where he stands by what he has done in previous years by rolling back many regulations. This has made certain industries like oil boom during his presidency. He has seemed to really push the US to have energy independence. In return, these industries have done extremely well and have created more and more jobs. Essentially, it is a trickle down kind of mindset. The pros have obviously been jobs created and economic boom. A con of this approach is that there does not seem to be a concern for long term impacts on the environment as a whole.

National Environmental Policy Act - Wild Law

Altogether, I believe there are pros and cons to both candidates’ plans. Where do we draw this line between boosting the economy and long term environmental health? Does it always have to be a give and take system, or do you believe that there is some way to have the best of both worlds? Is such a large stimulus necessary to become carbon-free? Do you believe that being completely carbon-free is actually possible?

http://energyfuse.org/whats-at-stake-for-oil-and-gas-in-2020-election/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2020/07/14/bidens-next-covid-stimulus-pitch-a-2-trillion-green-energy-jobs-plan/#5efdd6834f79

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/01/bidens-1point7-trillion-climate-plan-would-be-blow-to-big-oil-.html

24 thoughts on “Energy Implications of the 2020 Election

  1. This is one of the main political policies that voters must really take into account when heading to the polls in 2020. On one hand, we’ll be spending a bunch of money, losing a lot of jobs, and gradually becoming more sustainable, on the other hand we’ll be making a lot of money, losing few jobs, and still pushing to become more sustainable day by day. There are pros and cons to both situations obviously, and it makes me mad that there isn’t a happy medium where sides can compromise, but that would never happen in politics nowadays. Political issues stemming from environmental policy never tend to focus on how much it would help the environment, but on how much it would cost or how many jobs would be lost/created. It just all seems like the wrong mindset to me.

    Like

  2. I believe environmental policy will be a leading factor in every election so forth. We are approaching a point where we have to stop looking at the economic impacts of environmental policy as much as we did before. We have been needing a shift in mindset from being economically oriented to environmentally oriented. Although Biden’s plan does look like a large sum of money being spent, I believe a step in the right direction overshadows a step in the wrong, which is what Trump’s stance on environmental policy seems to be.

    Like

  3. I believe regardless of which candidate wins this election, our country will see a large shift towards more renewable and clean energy as we continue into the next few decades. As time progresses technology will become more efficient and cost effective. As this shift occurs, more businesses will be willing to hop on board with green energy sources when combines with environmental and cost benefits. I think if Biden is willing to inject government stimulus to push the trend moving faster in this direction, it could be a wise use of government funding in the long run.

    Like

  4. I agree with Baxter that Biden’s plan will stimulate growth in the environmental sector, and Ashcon’s point that Biden’s plan is a step in the right direction. There are already alternatives to plastic that are biodegradable, even in water. Many companies shy away from alternatives like these because they are more expensive, but if there was a worthy incentive for them to switch over, or if regular plastic was banned, I think it would make a great difference.

    Like

  5. Both a booming economy and healthy environment are important things to think about, but unfortunately those two ideas are usually conflicting. Maybe a slow, more gradual push towards greener energy would be less abrasive to the companies and have less of an economic impact. I think that going carbon free is possible in the future but I think that $2 trillion dollar plan is too much to start with.

    Like

  6. It’s nice to see both sides of the coin in this article. While I, like most people, would like to see our country move in a direction to create clean energy and reduce our carbon footprint, we often forget about the jobs that employ thousands of Americans in the coal and oil industry. I believe we should look to see how we could replace these jobs with some that are heading towards clean energy. Also, I don’t think we will be carbon-free in our lifetime but we should work to reduce our current amount of emissions. Great post!

    Like

  7. The upcoming election is going to be critical when it comes to our environment. You pointed out each candidate’s stand on the environment perfectly and the general opinions of the public. I wanted to dig deeper into each candidate’s plan. Biden’s proposals also include building and upgrading homes for energy efficiency. He also supports research on high-tech nuclear energy that would be emission-free. Trump administration, on the other hand, has been mainly focused on rolling back actions intended to deal with climate change. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is a prime example of this. So, we need to ask ourselves whether creating jobs in the process of destroying the environment is worth it? I believe moving to green energy and increasing jobs at the same time is possible. A lot of the skills that are used in those industries are transferable. However, we will need thorough planning in the process. Great topic!

    Like

  8. Great nonpartisan commentary on both sides’ policies and their implications. Jobs are certainly a huge factor in any debate- those who’s livelihoods are at stake are naturally much more likely to be outspoken than those who are further away from the issues of energy. One thing I’d be interested to see in the upcoming debates is if any mention on COVID’s impact to the energy industry will be mentioned. There was a long ‘boom’ in the US oil industry of late, spanning many presidencies, which has now ended in an insane fashion due to the pandemic (with oil prices going negative for the first time in history). People were unemployed incredibly rapidly, and many to this day remain that way. I wonder if either candidate, but more like Biden, will mention this as a chance to rebuild the energy industry and employ those who haven’t been able to go back to work in fossil fuels.

    Like

  9. Great unbiased commentary on a hot political topic! There are definitely pros and cons to each plan, as is typically the case when it comes to policy. The benefits and drawbacks of economic growth is the most important analysis when it comes to all policy, and especially environmental standards. The dream is that everyone would do the right thing and and corporations will decide on their own to create jobs and be more environmentally conscious(Trump’s plan), however we’ve seen time and time again that that isn’t typically the case. And yet, policy isn’t necessarily always effective either, as people with enough money have never played by the same rules. It’s definitely a tricky subject and there probably is no right answer! Thanks for outlining the policies in a great way.

    Like

  10. I believe that a great economy and healthy environment are both ideal end results that we’d all love to see, however, these results would take policy changes that’ll impact both the economy and the environment. Both political parties play an impact towards economic and environmental policy, and I believe that regardless of the party that wins these policy changes need to strengthen and improve our economic and environmental health.

    Like

  11. I feel like there are so many ways to improve economic development but not as many opportunities to improve this issue in the environment at this point in time. These are both important issues but its the method of change that is unique and different. There has to be an answer for environmental improvement as well as economic. There are plenty of successful countries achieving economic growth and environmental health. Maybe not as big of a powerhouse as the United States but that’s our issue. We have grown our economy at the price of our environment and that’s definitely not the solution. We need to research the current initiatives of our candidates and pick the option that overall has the best environmental and economic improvement.

    Like

  12. As others have said, great job presenting this information in an objective way. Given that most of our domestic energy sources are finite, I think it’s important that we transition to renewables as soon as possible. If current energy consumption trends continue, oil and gas resources in the U.S. will be depleted in approximately 30 and 40 years respectively (Kuo, 2019). Of course this would not guarantee a switch to renewables (e.g. we could burn more coal, rely more heavily on foreign energy sources, expand nuclear, etc.), we will need to switch to renewables eventually. The sooner we begin a more serious transition to renewables, the economy will experience less of a shock. As for job creation/loss, there are federal programs that can retrain workers to be competitive in growing industries like renewables.

    Like

  13. Economic growth need not occur at the expense of the environment, and Trump’s “plan” focuses entirely on economic growth. As with most things he says, Trump has contradicted himself when talking about the environment. Last week at the debate, Trump responded to a question about the environment with “I want us to have the cleanest air and the cleanest water ever,” which, as we know, is an antiquated and basic idea of environmental protection. Even though that’s about the only thing Trump has said on the environment recently, his actions indicate that he does not in fact care about the cleanliness of our environment. Trump’s repealing numerous coal regulations and various air and water pollution regulations have reminded us that actions speak louder than words. Biden’s environmental plan does a lot more than give us clean air and clean water; it guides us down the path to creating a green economy. Anyone who claims that an environmental plan as comprehensive as Biden’s is bad for the economy is naive. It will foster economic growth by protecting the environment and being the catalyst that ushers our economy into a new era. It won’t be traditional economic growth, but that’s not what will move America forward in the tumultuous times to come.

    Like

  14. Thank you for posting this. I think this article makes a great point about this issue being a “give and take”. American politics have become so polarized that many issues like energy policy become misunderstood by the general public. As you pointed out, people believe that the economy directly benefits from reduced regulation and fossil fuel use. While this is probably true, it does not mean that efficient regulation and renewable energy would hurt the economy. I do believe there is a way to incentivize the construction of more renewable energy sources by using the power of the US dollar.

    Like

  15. This is a surprisingly (because of the nature of this class) unbiased post and great commentary on the upcoming election and its implications on the next four years of environmental policy. I completely agree with the pros and cons listed for each plan, and I feel like it is often overlooked how important the jobs in fossil fuels are to the outcome of elections. Coal, oil, and natural gas employed approximately 900,000 people in the U.S. according to government figures- all of which will be extremely motivated to vote because their job depends on it. A lot of voters care about the environment but maybe not as passionately as someone who could become unemployed if the opposing candidate wins. Because of this, I hope to see a more gradual approach in the middle of these two plans that both parties could get on board with. It should focus on our path to becoming carbonless and energy independent while offering a replacement for the industries that will be shut down.

    Like

  16. I had a habit when I went to TJ Maxx pre-pandemic. I walk around, find the best deals, and nearly fill a buggy with the things I like. Then, when finished, I rank the items and place back (where they go, love our retail workers!) if they don’t make the cut. This way I’m able to maximize, or should I say “Maxx”imize my budget. Thats the way I think about large budget projects like Biden’s green stimulus. We start with all of the things we want. With negotiations, we decide what are the most important and cost-effective items that we can sustainable afford within the budget. I think the plan is already off to the right start with creating new jobs being a focus area. Economics and sustainability are already being balanced. My concern is that there isn’t enough attention to geography. It isn’t just about what jobs are created, but WHERE. In theory, it shouldn’t matter. Don’t have any jobs left in West Virginia? Move to the coast to work with wave action power. But I think a part of the conversation that is left out is the cultures that we lose when we ignore geography in this way. While it may not be the height of society, I believe there is something non economically quantifiable, yet equally valuable about hollers, moonshine, and face jugs. Something uniquely American and worth protecting.

    Like

  17. I definitely think the question posed goes back to how much we value the environment. Everyone can throw out numbers like “2 trillion” or “93 trillion”. However, we need to ask the question “how much is the environment worth in your opinion”. Sure we would be spending a lot of money on the environment but I feel we spend a lot of money in other sectors of the US. Not saying we should just altogether stop funding those portions of our country. I really do appreciate this post though! Very unbiased approach. I hope everyone can come together to figure out the best way to make sure everyone’s job stays intact while switching to other energy sources. But working together is something we teach our kids but forget to make our politicians do.

    Like

  18. Well written! I think this aspect of the election has been on all of our (environmental majors) minds in addition to the broader aspects. I have been following the environmental portions of the campaign and there has been a lot of talk on Biden’s approach, such as Trump saying “you just lost the left” when Biden mentioned that he is directly using the Green New Deal. My personal opinion is that a candidate, while not using the Green New Deal but at least believes in climate change, is better than one who does not. There definitely needs to be some prioritization when it comes to budget issues, but any action in the right direction is a victory to me.

    Like

  19. I think that it is possible to to have complete green energy in the future but it is not going to happen over night. With the right plan in place that factors in the the next 10-20 years I think that it can be done. I’m not sure how but there will be some consequences. like you mentioned in your blog, many people may loose their jobs as industries die down. However, I do think its important to note that jobs will be created by expanding green energy. If there were some sort of program that could train previous coal/ oil workers on green energy plants, then there could be a smoother transition of jobs. I also think that it is important to think long term when it comes to the environment. We are already seeing massive wild fires around the world, dangerous hurricanes, and strange weather. If we could transition as smoothly as possible now while trying to transfer as many jobs as possible I think the environment will have a better chance in the long run.

    Like

  20. I thought your article was very interesting. However, just for arguments sake, deregulation at the expense of the environment is never good, no matter what side of the political aisle one leans. However I don’t think that these massive government subsidies are the best answer to make the United States carbon neutral.

    Like

  21. I thought this was an excellent and relevant post. It is difficult to predict what will “actually” get done during presidencies because, unlike what candidates believe, they do not possess the power during the presidency to make such blanket changes. Candidates make thoughtless statements to help them win and sometimes it seems like they are nothing more than just that- thoughtless. With the every increasing polarization of the country these statements and promises just become more extreme and more thoughtless. In regards to energy policy however, I personally believe that because the US, like Europe, have older and thus more stable economies, it is our duty to invest in and set the example for clean energy for the rest of the world.

    Like

  22. I’m rather skeptical of Joe Biden’s climate agenda regardless of what his official platform is. He’s consistently supported fracking and offshore drilling and when he was vice president the Obama administration oversaw the shale gas boom that saw the United States become the number one crude oil producer on earth. While it is promising that more aggressive climate actions have made it into his platform, his service record doesn’t suggest that he is going to be a major climate advocate.

    Like

  23. Unfortunately, due to the US bipartisan legislation system, I believe there will ALWAYS be a “give-and-take” system in place until the system gets completely changed. Many issues that politicians support or do not support at this point is not even a question of morality, but is more about politics. I read the entire Green New Deal that AOC originally proposed a year or two ago, and while there were some amazing environmental strides, there were also vague statements about how exactly these practices would be implemented in the US.

    However, at this point I support Biden’s “Green Deal” or whatever label he will put on it. Yes, jobs will be lost in the fossil fuel industry. But, if a MASSIVE environmental mandate occurred that required every building in the US to be environmentally friendly (this is just one of the statements in the Green New Deal), that would create SO many jobs!!!! And that’s ONLY redesigning buildings. Imagine the huge amount of jobs available from creating renewable energy power plants. The materials to even build these plants will give the material industry thousands of jobs.

    Lastly, I would like to point out that in 2020-2021, the US budget for our military is estimated to be around $934 billion, which is very roughly $1 trillion (1). That’s in a single year. Biden’s “Green Deal” will cost $2 trillion, which will not be totally completed until 2050, and is spanned out over 30-ish years. Do we really need $1 trillion EVERY YEAR dedicated to the military’s budget? If you’re reading this, I encourage you to look up what exactly that $1 trillion was spent on for 2020. You will find that many spendatures are completely unnecessary.

    1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States#:~:text=However%2C%20total%20U.S.%20military%20spending,actually%20be%20spent%20(outlays).

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: