By Karen Savage
In a nod to climate liability suits, former Vice President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday that his administration will “hold corporations and executives personally liable for pollution.”
During a virtual event hosted by the League of Conservation Voters, Biden said as president, he would also rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and he also supports taxing imports from countries that fail to meet their emissions goals.
“Science demands we do more than we even thought we had to do when the accord was passed,” Biden said.
During the Democratic primaries, Biden was far from the most outspoken candidate on climate issues. Sen. Bernie Sanders went the furthest on holding the oil industry accountable, calling for prosecuting those who willfully obstructed climate action. But Biden has strengthened his stance since becoming the presumptive nominee, pulling Sanders supporters into his climate platform team, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Parkash.
The presidential hopeful also vowed to rescind permits issued by President Trump for “any significant infrastructure projects, including pipelines,” including the Keystone XL pipeline and presumably the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Obama administration opposed both pipelines, rejecting the Keystone XL “due to its significant negative contribution to climate change.” Trump cleared the way for both to proceed shortly after his 2017 inauguration. Biden said he will order a full review of the projects’ climate impacts and a push for a ban on fossil fuel subsidies both nationally and internationally.
Biden also said he plans to issue a series of executive orders to restore fuel economy standards, cap methane emissions, and undo other anti-climate actions taken by the Trump administration.
Biden also emphasized the importance of creating green jobs for those previously employed in the fossil fuel industry.
“We can’t be dismissive of the people who had good paying jobs in the industry,” Biden said. “We’ve got to make sure we look out for them, and there’s ways to do that and still make the environment much, much cleaner and get us to zero emissions by 2050.”