As the threat of COVID-19 subsides in the United States, the Biden administration is launching energy and land policies that have far-reaching economic, social and environmental implications. These new policies seek to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 and protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and ocean territories by 2030. In both cases, the potential is promising, but the political and practical obstacles are daunting.
Achieving the Biden administration’s climate and land and ocean protection goals presents a complex challenge that requires policymakers to think about potential negative environmental and social consequences. At the same time, they need to consider the reality that our economy depends on a predictable, affordable source of electricity for everybody. In West Texas, the national-scale discussions about transitioning to renewable energy sources are playing out on the ground.