Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attends the final presidential debate against US President Donald Trump at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Joe Biden declared climate change "humanity's major problem" and promised a national transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies that could create millions of new jobs.
"It's the main problem facing humanity. And it's the main problem for me," Biden said of climate change during an episode of Pod Save America released on Saturday. He was interviewed by Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama.
"Climate change is the existential threat to humanity," said the former vice president. "Uncontrolled, it will actually bake this planet. This is not an exaggeration. It is real. And we have a moral obligation."
Scientists have repeatedly warned that if global temperatures rise and governments fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the burning of oil, gas and coal, disasters caused by climate change will continue to worsen and parts of the world will become uninhabitable.
Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, has tabled a $ 2 trillion plan that invests heavily in clean energy in transportation, power and construction, cuts fossil fuel emissions and improves infrastructure.
Biden's plan also provides for the US to have zero carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2035 and zero carbon emissions by 2050. Coal and natural gas make up more than 60% of the electricity sector, according to the Energy Information Association.
"It will create millions of jobs … we cannot be indifferent to the impact this will have on the transition to do all of this," Biden said of his plan on the podcast. "But I just think it's a gigantic opportunity, a gigantic opportunity to create really good jobs."
Scientists say Biden's transition plan is needed to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.
"Nobody is going to build another oil or gas power plant. They are going to build one that runs on renewable energy," Biden said on the podcast. "We have to invest billions of dollars to make sure we can broadcast over our lines."
Biden's plan to move away from oil and natural gas could be politically popular, but could potentially hurt it in the major oil and gas countries as the November 3rd election approaches.
The issue is particularly important in Pennsylvania, a state that could be crucial on election day and has a strong fracking industry and Trump base in the southwestern part of the state. However, Biden has said he would only ban fracking in federal states. Most of the oil and gas does not come from federal states.
However, oil and gas executives were aware of the global move towards renewable energy and say the US will still need fossil fuel production for decades even during a global transition.
During the podcast, Biden said he went to major unions in the US to persuade them to sign his climate change plan and stressed that he raised the concerns of people who might lose their jobs during a transition to renewable energy. will not "exclude".
In Thursday's presidential debate, Biden stressed that the transition from climate-change fossil fuels would come "over time". After the debate, he said that fossil fuels would not be eliminated until 2050 as part of his plan.
President Trump, who has withdrawn the US from the Paris Agreement and has consistently expressed his support for fracking, responded to Biden's remarks with a traditional appeal to voters in competitive oil and gas countries.
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"Basically, he's saying he's going to destroy the oil industry," Trump said during Thursday's debate. "Will you remember Texas? Will you remember Pennsylvania? Oklahoma? Ohio?"
Trump has denied the science of climate change and reversed more than 70 key environmental regulations during his four-year tenure, with nearly 30 more in the works.
However, climate change was a major issue in the 2020 presidential election, especially among younger voters.
Nearly two-thirds of voters believe the federal government is not doing enough this year to curb climate change, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center. About 79% of Americans said the US should make developing alternative energy sources such as wind and sun a priority.
Biden is leading climate change by a huge margin, according to a poll by NBC News / Wall Street Journal. 58% to 19% of registered voters say the former vice president would tackle the problem better than President Trump.
This year, disasters caused by climate change, including record breaking wildfires in the western United States and one of the busiest hurricane seasons in the Atlantic, struck the country.
September 2020 was the warmest month ever in the world and this year will be one of the five hottest in history.