BY CONNOR STEENS
On April 22nd President Joe Biden pledged to halve U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – more than double the commitment pledged under the Obama administration; Biden also introduced measures to fight climate change in a recent budget announcement that aims to contribute more than $36 billion to fight global climate change – an increase of more than $14 billion when compared to 2021, with investments focused on sustainability research, clean energy and improved water infrastructure.
Biden’s main spending areas on climate include:
$10 billion for clean energy innovation
$7 billion for NOAA research
$6.5 billion for rural clean energy storage, transmission projects
$4 billion for advancing climate research
$3.6 billion for water infrastructure
$1.7 billion for retrofitting homes and federal buildings
$1.4 billion for environmental justice initiatives
With Democrats in control of both chambers this year, major parts of this budget could be realised in 2021 with a White House release stating that climate change is “an opportunity to create new industries and good-paying jobs with a free and fair choice to join a union, revitalize America’s energy communities and the economy, and position America as the world’s clean energy superpower,”
In February 2016, Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest asset manager, $7 trillion BlackRock wrote an open letter to global CEOs: “Generating sustainable returns over time requires a sharper focus not only on governance, but also on environmental and social factors facing companies…BlackRock has been undertaking a multi-year effort to integrate ESG(environmental, social and governance) considerations into our investment processes, and we expect companies to have strategies to manage these issues.”
However, following Trump’s inauguration questions were raised surrounding the ongoing progress around solving various environmental issues, previously guided by the Obama administration. As such, Trump’s abrupt exit from the Paris Agreement confirmed this. In 2021, we see the reversal of Trump’s initiatives, prompting further efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase sustainable business practices within the U.S.
Could 2021 peak further interest in ESG investments? With sustainable business being evidently promoted during Biden’s term, momentum looks to increase in such asset classes.
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Disclaimer: The above contains the opinion of the author and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice