The Guardian view on Biden’s green revolution: it needs revolutionaries | Editorial

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The climate emergency should not be used to make poorer countries dependent on private finance

On the campaign trail, Joe Biden made it clear that the environment would be at the heart of his economic agenda. In office, he has been true to his word by proposing fiscal and regulatory action to limit the damage from the climate emergency, while simultaneously addressing the inequalities that distort the US economy. No president has so fully embraced tackling the climate emergency. Republicans think it’s too hard a hug, while some Democrats think Mr Biden ought to hug harder. But the world should breathe a sigh of relief, especially after the climate denialism of the Trump administration.

President Biden’s green shift is both welcome and in tune with US public opinion. What is disappointing is that while he wants to deploy the power of the state at home, his administration wants markets to do the heavy lifting abroad. The climate emergency should not be used to make poorer countries dependent on private finance. Richer countries ought to provide enough no-strings cash to allow developing nations to gain the institutional capacity to sustain their own patterns of carbon-neutral consumption and investment. The US will double public climate finance to developing countries to $6bn a year. This is just a sliver of Mr Biden’s $2.25tn green jobs plan. Developing countries have no votes in the US Congress. But it is morally wrong for them to be collateral damage.

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