Many environmentalists hoped that Joe Biden would become the FDR of climate change.
But if, as seems likely, Biden emerges as the winner of a deeply divisive presidential election, in which the Republican Party retains control of the Senate, it is more likely he will need the skills of an LBJ. And climate policy, in a Biden era, could end up looking more like President Lyndon Baines Johnson's hard-fought civil rights legislation than President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's sweeping New Deal, say veterans of Washington's energy policy battles.
When Biden campaigned on a $2 trillion climate plan, the most ambitious ever proposed by a major party candidate, the Democrats were aiming to pick up the three Senate seats they needed for a majority that would support Biden's plan. And although that is still a distant possibility, the results from Tuesday's election so far show Republicans have held onto contested seats in Maine, Montana, Iowa and South Carolina, and remain ahead in Alaska and North Carolina.
....The best shot at making early progress on investment in a clean energy transition is likely to be the economic stimulus/Covid-19 relief package that almost certainly would be Biden's top priority upon taking office. One of the largest federal investments ever made in clean energy was the $90 billion included in Obama's 2009 economic recovery act, a bill that passed with the support of three Republican senators thanks to lobbying by Biden.
Investments in measures like energy efficiency upgrades and weatherization could cut carbon emissions while creating jobs. Green job retraining programs for the thousands of fossil fuel industry workers who have lost their jobs over the past decade also could have broad support.