Biden campaign to spotlight green policies in appeal to younger voters

Biden campaign to spotlight green policies in appeal to younger voters  at george magazine

President Joe Biden is underscoring his green agenda as he seeks another four years in the White House so he can, in his own words, “finish the job.”

But after some of his more ambitious environment and climate policies were de-prioritized amid Russia‘s war in Ukraine, he is being pressed to renew his focus on the issue, especially as one that resonates with younger voters.


Taking bold action to combat the climate crisis and building the clean energy economy of tomorrow is a fundamental priority for Biden, which is why he passed “the most significant climate legislation in the history of our country” during his first term, according to campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz.

“Not one Republican in either chamber voted for this historic investment to curb the devastating effects of climate change, and the extremist MAGA Republicans running for president would set our country back decades in what is an existent situation for the planet,” Munoz told the Washington Examiner. “Reelecting President Biden and Vice President Harris will help out country finish the job and continue advancing the essential work of creating clean energy jobs and leading the world toward a more sustainable future.”

But in a new ad, the Democratic political action committee Future Forward, for example, is emphasizing Biden’s green record while imploring the public to call the president about their environment and climate concerns.

“If you care about clean air, you should know President Biden’s infrastructure laws are reducing pollution and creating clean energy jobs,” the narrator says in the 15-second spot. “Tell Joe Biden to keep working for more jobs and less pollution.”

The ad coincides with Biden’s other proposal that appeals to younger voters, his student loan debt cancellation program, being challenged before the Supreme Court.

Any policy “link” to younger voters is crucial to the 2024 presidential election, be it student loan debt forgiveness or Biden’s green credentials, per Suffolk University Political Research Center Director David Paleologos.

“The fact that student loan debt forgiveness is being considered by the Supreme Court is a twofer on the issue because it also reminds young women about the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which was critical to Senate Democrats holding the Senate during the midterm election,” Paleologos said.

Biden’s overarching green goal is to decrease domestic carbon emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, a lofty objective that has been hindered by Russia’s war in Ukraine, the resultant gas price increases, and the need to rely on fossil fuels, at least in the short to intermediate term. Simultaneously, Biden has been criticized, for instance, for approving ConocoPhillips’s Willow public lands oil drilling project in Alaska, though environment and climate advocate and former South Carolina GOP Rep. Bob Inglis defended the president’s decision.

“Our focus should be on accelerating the transition but not being purist about it,” he said. “We are going to emit more CO2 as modernity continues, but we can try to accelerate the pace at which we transition to cleaner fuels, and we can accelerate the pace of carbon dioxide removal.”

Biden’s carbon goal dovetails with debt ceiling negotiations, with federal permitting reform emerging as an area of potential compromise in exchange for Republicans to agree to extend the country’s borrowing capacity. Democrats want to streamline the permitting process to help implement the Inflation Reduction Act’s $200 billion in renewable energy investments, such as electric transmission projects. Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) are hoping to overhaul the process to facilitate more oil and natural gas drilling and pipelines.

The Inflation Reduction Act that Democrats passed last summer introduced a range of tax incentives and subsidies to encourage more reliance on renewable forms of energy, complementing executive orders and government regulations covering vehicle tailpipe emissions to methane emissions. Biden additionally announced draft rules last week that would require coal– and gas-fired power plants to cut their emissions by 90% between 2035 and 2040 or be shut down.

“In my first week in office, I issued an executive order establishing the first-ever national conservation goal,” Biden said last week during an event celebrating the preservation of Bristol Bay in Alaska. “I called it ‘America the Beautiful,’ and it’s a nationwide campaign to protect and conserve, by 2030, at least 30% of the lands and waters that support and sustain this nation.

“In just my first year in office, I protected more lands and waters than any president since John F. Kennedy,” he added. “I signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. That’s the largest investments in climate, environmental justice, and conservation ever anywhere, period. … Over the past two years, these investments have helped protect our iconic outdoor spaces, preserve historic sites, and make our nation more resilient to the devastating impacts of climate change.”


Biden’s overall average approval-disapproval is 42%-53%, according to RealClearPolitics. An Economist-YouGov poll released last week found respondents aged 18 to 29 approved of the president at higher rates than those older than them, 63%-25%. Respondents aged 30 to 44 approved of him 57%-36%, aged 45 to 64 approved of him 40%-58%, and aged 65-plus 38%-60%.

A separate Reuters-Ipsos poll found environment and climate was ranked fourth at 6% by respondents asked what the “most important problem facing America” is behind “economy, unemployment, and jobs” at 24%, “crime or corruption” at 14%, and immigration at 9%. The same poll found “the environment,” too, was in fourth place at 13% when respondents were surveyed on what Biden should prioritize behind “the U.S. economy” at 51%, immigration at 20%, and “unifying the country” at 18%.

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