A Comparison of Biden and Trump Energy Policies: Priorities and Impacts

Energy policy plays a crucial role in shaping a country’s economic, social, and environmental landscape. In the United States, the energy policy pursued by different administrations can have significant implications for various stakeholders, including consumers, businesses, and the environment. The Biden and Trump administrations, representing different political ideologies, have had distinct approaches to energy policy. In this opinion article, author will take a closer look at the key differences and impacts of the energy policies of these two recent U.S. presidents.

Renewable Energy and Climate Change

One of the most significant differences between the energy policies of the Biden and Trump administrations is their approach to renewable energy and climate change. The Biden administration has prioritized renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and electric power, as well as taking action on climate change. President Biden has set ambitious goals, including achieving a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. The administration has also re-joined the Paris Agreement, an international treaty aimed at combating climate change.

On the other hand, the Trump administration prioritized the expansion of fossil fuel production, including oil, gas, and coal. President Trump rolled back several environmental regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. The Trump administration also withdrew from the Paris Agreement, citing concerns about its impact on the U.S. economy and sovereignty.

Environmental Regulations

The Biden and Trump administrations also had different approaches to environmental regulations. The Biden administration has pursued a more stringent regulatory approach, aimed at protecting the environment and public health. President Biden has issued executive orders and taken steps to strengthen regulations related to air and water pollution, climate change, and biodiversity conservation. The administration has also taken steps to limit fossil fuel development on federal lands and waters, with a focus on increasing environmental protections.

In contrast, the Trump administration pursued a deregulatory agenda, seeking to roll back several environmental regulations perceived as burdensome to businesses and industries. The administration aimed to streamline permitting processes, reduce environmental compliance costs, and promote energy production. However, these rollbacks were met with criticism from environmentalists and concerns about potential negative impacts on air and water quality, public health, and biodiversity.

Energy Independence and Security

Both the Biden and Trump administrations emphasized the goal of achieving energy independence and security, but they had different approaches to achieving it. The Trump administration emphasized increasing domestic fossil fuel production, with the aim of reducing dependence on foreign oil and gas imports. The administration rolled back regulations perceived as obstacles to energy production and promoted the expansion of oil, gas, and coal production, including in protected areas.

In contrast, the Biden administration has focused on diversifying the energy mix and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The administration has prioritized renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and energy innovation as a means to achieve energy independence and security. The Biden administration has also emphasized the importance of investing in clean energy infrastructure, creating green jobs, and supporting communities affected by the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Thus, the energy policies pursued by the Biden and Trump administrations also have different implications for the U.S. economy and jobs. The Trump administration’s focus on expanding fossil fuel production was seen as promoting job creation in the energy sector, particularly in oil, gas, and coal industries. The administration argued that deregulation and increased domestic energy production would boost economic growth and create jobs, particularly in rural and energy-producing regions.

Another significant difference between the two administrations’ energy policies is their approach to environmental regulation. The Trump administration rolled back several environmental regulations, arguing that they were burdensome on the energy industry and hindered economic growth. The Biden administration has taken a different approach, prioritized environmental protection and proposed new regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions and promoting clean energy. The administration has also proposed new regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas operations and is considering new regulations on transportation emissions.

In conclusion, the energy policies of the Trump and Biden administrations represent two very different approaches to energy and climate policy. The Trump administration prioritized promoting fossil fuels and reducing regulations on the energy industry, while the Biden administration has prioritized clean energy, reduced carbon emissions, and re-joining global climate agreements. The choice between these two approaches will have significant implications for the environment, public health, and the economy in the coming years.

I Gusti Ngurah Krisna Dana
I Gusti Ngurah Krisna Dana
Master Student at Department of Politics and Government, Faculty of Social and Political Science. Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.