Will go beyond Paris Agreement, lead efforts to get countries to ramp climate targets

The election of a new, climate-focused US presidential administration will have significant implications for sustainability-focused investors. Investors looking to determine where the new administration will focus its efforts and investments over the next several years will closely follow the priorities laid out by the Biden-Harris transition team.

Following President-elect Biden’s pledge last week to return the US to the Paris Agreement, the Biden-Harris transition team has established climate policy as one of the incoming administration’s top priorities to begin addressing upon taking office. The incoming administration has now stated that it plans to go beyond aligning itself with the goals of the Paris Agreement, aiming to establish the US as a global leader, promoting more ambitious national climate policies worldwide. On the new Biden-Harris Transition website, the team said:

“President-elect Biden is leading the world to address the climate emergency and leading through the power of example. Biden knows how to stand with America’s allies, stand up to adversaries, and level with any world leader about what must be done. He will not only recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change – he will go much further than that. He is working to lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets.”

The plans, published on the team’s website, suggests significant investments over the next several years in key sectors including renewable energy, infrastructure, electric vehicles, buildings and appliances, and low-carbon transit, among others. Specific areas targeted for investment by the incoming team include:

  • Infrastructure. Highlighted roads, bridges, green spaces, water systems, electricity grids and universal broadband investments, aimed at spurring sustainable growth, withstand the impacts of climate change, and improve public health, including access to clean air and clean water.
  • Automotive and Transit. Highlighted domestic auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure, parts and materials, and electric vehicle charging stations. Plans also specified investing in light rail networks, improving existing transit and bus lines, installing infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists, with the stated goal to provide every American city with 100,000 or more residents with high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options.
  • Energy. Provided a goal to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. The plan aims to drive cost reductions in critical clean energy technologies, including battery storage, negative emissions technologies, the next generation of building materials, renewable hydrogen, and advanced nuclear.
  • Buildings and housing. Plans include upgrading 4 million buildings and weatherizing 2 million homes over 4 years, promoting building retrofits, efficient-appliance manufacturing supply chains by funding direct cash rebates and low-cost financing to upgrade and electrify home appliances and install more efficient windows, and spurring the construction of 1.5 million sustainable homes and housing units.