President-elect Joe Biden has signaled that one of his top priorities will be environmental regulation and climate change, and has announced a $2 trillion plan that includes sweeping executive and legislative action, though that may be a tough sell in a divided government.
Sen. Ed Markey, who co-sponsored the Green New Deal, told Boston Public Radio on Thursday that while Biden's plans are not as progressive as his, the president-elect can signal to the rest of the world that America will take the climate crisis seriously, in contrast to President Trump's climate isolationism and rollbacks of environmental protections.
"The first thing he can do is to have the United States re-enter the Paris Climate Accord, which he is going to do, and actually advocate for a strengthening of that agreement because the United States has to be the leader. Historically, still, much of the [carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere] is red, white and blue," he said. "We just have to understand, you can't preach temperance from a barstool to the rest of the world. If you want others to reduce their greenhouse gases, you have to be the leader yourself."
Markey said Trump rolled back "scores" of environmental regulations, weakened fuel economy standards, and did not update appliance efficiency standards, all things he said would significantly reduce greenhouse gases and which Biden can take up once in office. Markey also said at "top of Biden's list" for negotiation with congressional Republicans in the next session will be an extension of tax breaks for hybrid and fully electric vehicles and a comprehensive infrastructure bill.
While the election has been called for Biden, Markey did note that he is concerned about Trump's refusal to concede, and he believes it is Trump's goal to "find any mechanism possible to steal the election, including having individual states controlled by Republicans act in a way that runs contrary to how they voted on election day," referring to an electoral college phenomenon known as the faithless elector.