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White House seeks $14 bil to fund climate-related initiatives in budget request

09 April 2021 Amena Saiyid

The White House wants Congress to fund at least $14 billion in spending for transitioning the US to a net-zero economy and fighting the threat of climate change in the 12 months starting 1 October.

Released 9 April, the $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 request, which Congress has to approve through a slew of spending bills, reflects President Joe Biden's priorities for tackling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — improving public health and infrastructure, restoring US standing across the globe, and to above all, "mount a mount a historic, whole-of-government-approach to combating climate change."

"Responding to the climate crisis depends on helping communities transition to a cleaner future," Biden wrote in his first budget request.

The request comes on the heels of Biden's jobs and tax plans that seek to move the US toward an emissions-free power sector by 2035 and a net-zero economy by midcentury.

For the first time since 2017, the White House request includes $1.2 billion in backing for the Green Climate Fund, which was established under the 2015 Paris Agreement to help developing countries reduce their GHG emissions and adapt to climate change effects. Biden returned the US to the Paris Agreement on his first day in office. Administration officials since then have committed to helping developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change.

It also includes $10 billion -- a more than 35% increase compared with fiscal year 2021 -- for clean energy innovations to help transform the US electric, transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors to achieve net-zero carbon economy by 2050. More than $8 billion of this money is earmarked for the US Department of Energy (DOE) to spur research in clean energy technologies, electric vehicles, green hydrogen, and even innovative approaches to air conditioning and refrigeration.

The request also seeks $1 billion to create Advanced Research Projects Agency for Climate and invest in the existing Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

The budget plan found favor in the renewable energy sector, American Council on Renewable Energy CEO Gregory Whetstone saying: "Today's budget request from the Biden administration demonstrates a continued whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis and begins to restore the executive branch capacity necessary to support the renewable energy industry's drive to decarbonize the power sector by 2035."

Climate highlights of the request:

  • $600 million for 18 agencies to procure electric vehicle and establish charging infrastructure
  • $2 billion to train welders, electricians, and other skilled labor in clean energy jobs
  • $815 million to include climate impacts into pre-disaster planning and projects
  • $1.2 billion to shore up resilience of ecosystems to wildfires, flooding, and drought
  • $550 million to remediate stranded oil and natural gas wells and abandoned coal and other hard rock mines
  • And $4 billion to fund research across multiple agencies including the Department of the Interior, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and others to better understand climate change and inform adaptation and resilience measures.

Posted 09 April 2021 by Amena Saiyid, Senior Climate & Energy Research Analyst, IHS Markit

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