Electric cars instead of oil: how clean is the future with Biden?

The newly elected US President Joe Biden wants to halt construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and invest in gas instead, according to Canadian media. Due to the estimated damage to the environment the project was already halted by Obama in 2015 but revived again by Trump. Biden plans to shift the focus in other energy policy areas as well, with two trillion dollars already earmarked for the endeavour.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

The end of the coal and oil era nears

For La Repubblica Biden's inauguration signals the beginning of a new era:

“His approach reflects a widespread and relatively new consensus among public and private decision makers, experts and civil society organisations about the future of energy, its sources, its uses and the economics underpinning the energy sector. There is general agreement that the era in which oil and coal were the primary source of energy is coming to an end. The question is not whether this will happen, but how fast. This, in turn, depends on a series of technological, political and economic factors. And of course it depends to a large extent on who ushers in the change and how strong those who oppose it are.”

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Just a drop in the ocean

Commenting in Svenska Dagbladet, author Bjørn Lomborg is highly critical of Biden's plan to provide subsidies for electric cars:

“For the climate it is irrelevant where the carbon dioxide comes from. Cars are responsible for just seven percent of global emissions and electric cars will do very little to change this. We must concentrate on the main sources of emissions: heating and electricity production. If research and development in these sectors can produce environmentally friendly alternatives that are cheaper than fossil fuels, this would change the world. The current subsidies for electric cars are something wealthy countries are handing out to wealthy citizens. If we really want to solve climate issues we must concentrate on the main sources of emissions and on innovations in clean energy.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Difficult time for expensive visions

If Biden takes a strategic approach there is a lot he can achieve, Adevărul comments:

“The pandemic and its economic consequences could be the factor that destroys everything or at least shrinks all lofty ambitions. ... The US will have problems paying for two extremely costly battles right now: on the one hand, economic and social recovery and, on the other, the rapid elimination of fossil fuels in favour of clean but also expensive energy sources, which are therefore viewed with scepticism by entrepreneurs and end consumers. Perhaps this is why cooperation projects are being stepped up now. ... And future contracts may also be linked to climate agreements. And why not - it's a new beginning so why not restart everything?”