What Democratic Control of the Senate will Mean for Climate Change


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Nicole Welle | January 7, 2021

Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won the final two senate seats after the Georgia runoffs ended yesterday, narrowly securing democrats a senate majority for the first time in six years.

Now that the GOP has lost majority control of the Senate, President-elect Joe Biden will have the opportunity to pass climate change legislation once he takes office. Biden’s included a $2 trillion plan in his climate action pledge, and he hopes to use the funding to accelerate the clean energy transition and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. His ambitious plan would also set targets similar to those already in place in countries like China and the European Union and will likely include tax incentives for clean energy, according to a CNBC article.

If the Senate had remained under republican control, republican senators would have blocked most of Biden’s climate legislation. But even now that democrats hold a majority and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s will have the tie-breaking vote when necessary, passing bold climate legislation could still be a challenge. Some environmentalists worry that enough democrats might prefer more modest bipartisan legislation that new policies will not meet climate activists’ demands or align with other countries’ progressive actions. However, Biden has said that he is dedicated to working with Republican lawmakers to rally bipartisan support of bold climate legislation, and he plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement and reverse many of Trump’s environmental rollbacks as soon as he takes office.

Democrats maintained a majority in the House of Representatives after the 2020 elections, and Joe Biden will take office on January 20th despite efforts by Donald Trump and his supporters to challenge the election results.