President Biden Stays Busy With G20 Summit and Forest Plan

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Stefano Capobianco, Staff Writer

President Biden has been busy with both the passing of the infrastructure bill, and his attendance at the G20 Summit.  The G20 Summit took place in Rome, Italy, on Oct. 30 and 31.  Protests occurred during and leading up to the summit, which focused on finances.  Additionally, President Biden’s climate change plan and proposals have received many mixed opinions, stemming from disapproval from the Republican party.

In President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, $27 billion is set aside for spending towards the preservation of the country’s federal, state, and tribal forests.  This would be the largest investment that the United States has ever made in an attempt to protect the forests.  Currently, Democrats are trying to pass this bill through the Senate, and since the Democrats currently control the Senate, all it would take is a Senate majority vote. 

Also included in the “Build Back Better” bill is a focus on forest management and conservation.  A sizable part of this bill would contribute to preventing wildfires.  Wildfires have serious ramifications for the climate, as they release very large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  More than half of the $27 billion would be dedicated to preventing wildfires in our nation’s forests and also reducing the risk of wildfires.  

Wildfires do the most damage once they cross paths with human development, so preventing the spread of wildfires will be a major aspect of the bill the Democrats and Biden are attempting to pass.  In the past five to ten years, the west coast of the United States has been affected the most by the wildfires.  In 2020, there were a total of 58,950 wildfires.  The President aims for the “Build Back Better” bill to significantly reduce this number. 

“I believe that climate change all around the world is negatively affecting our everyday lives and especially states on the west coast, so it is beneficial that this bill is being passed to save our forests and protect against climate change,” said freshman Christian Sarchese.  

At the summit, important global topics like climate change, taxation, COVID-19 vaccines, global economy, and development aid were discussed and debated by world leaders.  Representatives from nineteen European countries and powerful world leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron, England’s Boris Johnson and Italy’s Mario Draghi attended alongside the U.S.

The G20 Summit was considered a success, as world leaders agreed and made changes on many important issues.  However, there were protesters marching the streets of Rome, disagreeing with some policies that were discussed at the Summit.  Most of the protesters marched and held signs relating to global warming, while others protested the COVID vaccine and restrictions.  

Discussions between leaders regarding climate change centered around the need to stop global warming before there is a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase from pre-industrial levels.  Collectively they formed a goal to reach a target of net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.  

“While I think that the leaders’ commitment to keeping global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius and working together, the true success of the summit will be measured by their commitment to that goal and whether or not they address climate change everyday in office, not just in largely symbolic, optimistic gestures,” said junior Susanna Keiserman.

These issues are of importance to many Americans, and efforts to reduce climate change and emissions can potentially stop irreversible damage.  World leaders at the conference recognized that their decisions will impact current and future generations, and there will be more important decisions and legislation to come under the Biden administration to address these issues.