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What a Biden win means for climate change, energy policy

Advocates will also press for action in Florida
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 6:21 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The White House will transition from one administration that has reversed environmental rules and denied climate change to a new one that advocated plans to fight climate change.

Some environmental groups have responded to Joe Biden’s win of the presidency while some in the energy sector continue its current advocacy for alternative energy policies.

“[Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris] absolutely have a plan to deal with the crisis of our times,” Aliki Moncrief, the executive director of Florida Conservation Voters, said. “It’s going to be a 180-degree difference from what we’ve been struggling against over the last four years with an administration that has been in sort of climate arson mode.”

Moncrief said that climate change is an urgent matter, and was looking forward to solutions such as clean energy jobs and environmental conservation efforts. One of those she said included using natural remedies of removing excess carbon in the atmosphere.

“They see agricultural solutions,” Moncrief said. “Protecting our forests, protecting our rural landscapes. These are actually places where mother nature acts like a carbon sink.”

Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are a few of the greenhouse gasses that trap heat in the air. The higher the concentration of these carbon-gases, the more heat that can be trapped.

Moncrief sees an opportunity to bring “U.S.-grown“ industries such as solar panel manufacturing, and bring those jobs to Americans. Solar energy, she believes, would be a path forward In Florida.

”For us, it’s less about the Green New Deal and more so about the economics and the business factor,” Ebo Entsuah, a policy principal for Advanced Energy Economy, said.

Advanced Energy Economy is a trade organization for clean and renewable energy companies.

”For us, [...] it’s less about who’s winning and more so about the polices that we are putting forward for America and Floridians,” Entsuah said. “It really is imperative no matter who is in the White House or who is in the House and Senate, they are able to actually come together and help to provide short term and long term relief to struggling Americans."

He said that with a pandemic-induced recession, clean energy would be a way to get people back to work. Entsuah noted short-term solutions such as giving tax credits and extending deadlines for renewable energy construction, but also noted long-term solutions.

“Public investment in the advanced energy sector could actually deliver a four-fold return to Florida’s economy,” Entsuah said.

He said these long-term solutions in The Sunshine State could bring $115 billion in investments, create 1.5 million jobs in the short and long term, and bring $5 billion in annual energy savings to consumers and businesses. AEE has not calculated a benefit analysis for Georgia, Entsuah said in a follow-up email.

There were over 182,000 clean energy jobs in Florida, according to data provided by AEE, with over two-thirds of those jobs in the energy efficiency field.

Florida has passed some environmental and climate change legislation in the last two years, including a law signed in the summer that mandates the planning of electric vehicle charging stations. But Moncrief said she sees an “uphill battle” with more that needs to be done to fight climate change in Florida.

“We can only hope that they will take this moment when they have all of the levers of government at the state level and actually do something to move us forward towards a clean energy future.”

As the sea level and temperature rises, so does the advocacy by organizations to push for a carbon-neutral future.

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