Biden’s climate corps met with criticism

 

THE ORIGINAL FDR’s CCC maintained parks, created recreational trails, and built infrastructure like dams. Photo courtesy of OSU Special Collections and Archives

 

Gisele Brandt | Head Editor

May 31, 2021

With climate change being on the forefront of many people’s minds, President Biden has brought that focus to the federal government with his $6 trillion budget proposal this year. Within this proposal, Biden allocates $10 billion to the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps. 

Biden’s proposal is a callback to FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, one of the most popular and celebrated government programs ever created. At the time that the CCC was created, the United States was struggling through the Great Depression and its goal was to put people back to work. Similarly, unemployment rates in the U.S. remain high since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden wants to use this circumstance to reboot this familiar program and perpetuate his belief that the government can and should be the answer to big problems in our country.

The Civilian Climate Corps would primarily focus on reducing the impacts of climate change rather than preventing it. Many of its functions would be to maintain biodiversity, respond to extreme weather events, and restore wetlands. The jobs it would create would likely be short term and aimed to launch careers into outdoor and environmentally focused areas. The Biden administration also plans to have a $15 per hour minimum wage and provide benefits such as health care. The Civilian Climate Corps would be managed by the U.S. Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture. 

“Biden’s plan is a step in the right direction as it works toward solving unemployment issues while combating further damage from climate change with direct action and spreading awareness,” junior Charlotte Fuertes said.

Supporters of Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps recognize that there needs to be initiatives to make the new CCC more accessible for people growing up in urban and rural areas and for people of color to join. This is one of the key points that Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado emphasizes, the goal of Biden’s CCC is to “re-imagine” its predecessor which includes encouraging diversity.

Critics of Biden’s plan for the CCC include Democrats and Republicans. Some democrats believe that $10 billion is not enough to accomplish the task Biden wishes to address. They compare the amount of people Biden’s CCC could hire, 20,000 people annually, to FDR’s CCC which employed 300,000 people annually. Republican critics tend to criticize the project as a waste of money and the general “big government” ideology that it falls in line with. 

Senior Eve Richardson said, “The creation of jobs and focus on mitigation might somewhat help in incentivizing people to care about the environment and climate, however it is far too little and far too late. Mitigation will be exponentially harder than the 20,000 to 30,000 people this budget would employ could accomplish.”

The proposal for a new CCC is likely to gain at least some bipartisan support due to the nostalgia and general positive feelings surrounding conservation and the former CCC. It will also be an effective way for Biden to touch individual people’s lives directly, creating positive reactions and experiences with big government programs, projects, and solutions.

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