President-Elect Joe Biden will take office at a time when heatwaves, wildfires, and other extreme weather events are making tangible the risks and effects of global warming — and driving down the costs of renewable energy. Professor Edward Carr, director of Clark’s Department of International Development, Community, and Environment, says a coordinated strategy will be crucial for this administration to go beyond symbolic actions and bring about truly transformative change.
“The day Joe Biden becomes president, he can start taking actions that can help slow climate change,” Carr wrote in “Biden’s climate change plans can quickly raise the bar, but can they be transformative?” on The Conversation, a nonprofit, independent news organization that publishes articles written by academic experts for the general public.
The success of these actions, however, depends largely on the president’s approach, Carr adds. Biden must undertake a coordinated response that looks beyond what is politically possible in order to address the social and economic ramifications of climate change and the U.S. policy response.
Carr examines what Biden can likely get done quickly, “without having to rely on what’s likely to be a divided Congress,” as well as the transformational changes that will are necessary to slow global warming and protect the climate. “Transformative solutions will have to address both the benefits and the costs, and provide a path to a healthy future for those facing the greatest losses. That means, for example, not just ending coal burning, a significant contributor to climate change, but also helping communities and workers transition from coal mining to new jobs and economic drivers that are healthier for the environment.”
Along with IDCE, Carr is director of the Humanitarian Response and Development Lab at the George Perkins Marsh Institute. He is currently the Climate Change Adaptation Adviser on the Global Environmental Facility’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel and is a lead author for Working Group II of the current Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will be released in February.