Trump’s And Biden’s Plans For The Environment

Elena Moore | October 16, 2020
Caroline Amenabar/NPR; Mitchell Shapiro Photography/Flickr; John Starnes/Flickr

Key priorities

Joe Biden

  • Combat climate change by pushing the United States on a path toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with an intermediate goal of ridding the power sector of carbon pollution by 2035.
  • Invest $2 trillion over four years in green areas, including infrastructure, transportation and auto industries, housing and construction practices, nature conservation efforts and work in environmental justice.
  • Create 1 million new jobs in the auto industry, boosting electric vehicles.
  • Build 1.5 million “sustainable homes.”
  • Read details of Biden’s plans below.

Donald Trump

  • Bolster the country’s oil and gas industries, and the supply and production of those energy products.
  • Continue rolling back Democratic environmental regulations.
  • Read details of Trump’s plans below.

Biden’s plans for the environment

To combat climate change, Biden’s ambitious clean energy plan would pour $2 trillion into a set of research and development goals throughout his first term, with his principal objective being to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Biden wants to modernize American infrastructure, invest in clean energy and make climate-focused advances in both the auto and transportation industries to cut emissions and increase job opportunities. Notably, he says that his plan for the auto industry will create 1 million new jobs with the option to be part of a union.

Biden pledges to rid the power sector of carbon pollution by 2035. He also calls for energy upgrades to 4 million buildings, weatherizing 2 million homes across the country and building 1.5 million “sustainable homes and housing units.”

Biden also specifically addresses environmental justice, pledging to allocate 40% of his clean energy plan’s investments toward minority and lower-income communities more often affected by climate change and pollution. The plan would create a division within the Justice Department that would regulate and penalize corporations for their environmental effects on communities.

Biden would also seek to rejoin the Paris climate accords.


Trump’s plans for the environment

Trump says his priorities are clean water and air, but he’s also sought to boost U.S. production of oil and natural gas — objectives that often work against each other.

The president has touted the country’s record clean air, but that’s part of a longer-term trend.

Trump has supported legislation that removes garbage from oceans, allocated additional funding for national parks and public lands, and put $38 billion toward “clean water infrastructure.”

The president has denied the scientific consensus on climate change, and his administration has worked to scrub mentions of climate change from government websites and reversed many of the climate policies put in place during the Obama administration. Trump has attempted to push policies that back the coal industry, though that sector has continued to its longer-term decline.

He also pulled the U.S. out of the international Paris climate deal.


See more of the major presidential candidates’ key policy agendas here.

NPR White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe and political correspondent Asma Khalid contributed to this report.

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