It’s fairly clear, based on its early appointments, that the incoming administration of President-Elect Joseph Biden is going to embrace a climate agenda very different from that of the Trump Administration. Biden has already indicated that the United States, likely on the opening day of his presidency, will recommit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accords, which the Trump Administration exited back in 2017.
Now, there’s indication from the incoming secretary of transportation that the incoming administration will encourage the use of electric cars.
Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a presidential candidate in the 2020 cycle, has been nominated by Biden to serve as secretary of transportation, and he tweeted late Monday about such plans.
“To meet the climate crisis, we must put millions of new electric vehicles on America’s roads,” Buttigieg tweeted this week. “It’s time to build public charging infrastructure powered by clean energy and make it available in all parts of this country.”
It’s unclear exactly what policy route the new administration will take to encourage such infrastructure, and whether it will take the form of legislation, regulation, or a combination of both.
“Create 1 million new jobs in the American auto industry, domestic auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure, from parts to materials to electric vehicle charging stations, positioning American auto workers and manufacturers to win the 21st century; and invest in U.S. auto workers to ensure their jobs are good jobs with a choice to join a union,” the Biden campaign-era clean energy policy said.
Policies proposed during campaigns don’t necessarily come to fruition once the candidate is elected, but Buttigieg’s tweet indicates that the incoming administration is moving forward with the electric vehicle agenda, and that it won’t necessarily only be pushed by departments mostly associated with the environment, such as the EPA and the Department of the Interior.
Biden has also proposed the installation of 500,000 electric vehicle charging cords by 2030, which is five times more than currently exist. The challenge, per the Bloomberg report, will be persuading Congress to fund such an agenda.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in September that California will phase out sales of gas-powered cars, beginning in 2035, although such cars will still be allowed on the road after that date. The Biden Administration has not hinted at pushing a federal version of anything like that, although fifteen nations around the world have done so to date.
“Kudos to incoming Transportation Secretary @PeteButtigieg,” climate scientist Michael E. Mann said on Twitter. “This fits well with the pan-agency approach that the Biden administration is taking to climate action The climate crisis impacts every facet of our lives and action must be integrated across all sectors of society.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.