Mar 8, 2024 - Energy & Environment

What Biden's State of the Union revealed about his climate plans

A podium strewn with ivy.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden devoted little space to energy and climate in last night's State of the Union, but the few lines were revealing.

Why it matters: It doubles as a closely watched, prime-time campaign event in election years.

Context: He led with an economic and union jobs pitch. Biden took credit for attracting huge private-sector investments in "clean" energy.

  • He touted the deal to revive an idled Stellantis plant in Illinois that came during the UAW strike talks, noting a "new state-of-the art battery factory is being built."

The fine print: Climate explicitly arrived much deeper in the speech. "We are also making history by confronting the climate crisis, not denying it," he said.

  • That's an implicit contrast with Donald Trump, as the NYT notes.
  • He touted his climate moves a bit more and then cited "tens of thousands of clean-energy jobs," name-checking union-built EV chargers.

Yes, but: Biden did not propose new policies on energy and climate, or explicitly mention the Inflation Reduction Act.

Fun fact: It didn't bash "Big Oil" as much as last year's address, mentioning the industry only in a list of sectors that should not get tax breaks.

The bottom line: If the speech is political prologue, his campaign will look to claim economic benefits from his energy and policies, with climate in a supporting role.

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