Distinct Paths: How White House Climate Policies Shape Innovation and Our Future

President Biden’s and President Trump’s Environment Policies and Your Vote — Debate On!

Presidents Biden and former President Trump have agreed to two face-offs on national television. The first presidential debate will occur on June 27th on CNN. The second is sometime in September. What you can expect to hear during this showdown is angst about a world in conflict, the strength of the US economy, and among two senior citizen candidates, who is best fit to lead the nation forward. You will hear soundbites directed to each candidate’s base. You should, but are unlikely, learn much about each candidate’s position on climate and the planet’s future.

When it comes to environmental and climate policies, the past can often be a reliable indicator of future efforts. US voters should closely examine President Joe Biden’s and former President Donald Trump’s track record in this area. Their contrasting approaches to climate change shape the environment and guide investors’ decisions around climate technology. The availability of capital is crucial for innovation, and without it, progress in this field could stagnate, much like a rain-deprived stream.

Downstream, climate impacts a cascade of other social issues, including health equity and higher risks to communities of color. It seems to be a kick-the-can down-the-road issue unless you live in an area with increased storms, rising temperatures, or water lines.

Three considerations sway investors’ decisions: favorable government policies, talent needed to innovate, and financial resources essential to bring to market technologies that can sustain businesses and, perhaps, the planet. As Elections 2024 close in, some private equity groups looking at climate-tech innovations and their limited partner investors will put a knee down and wait until the election smog clears. Whoever sits in the White House influences climate policies and, depending on your political viewpoint, the tempo of the planet’s ticking sustainability clock.

There is no need to guess the differences between the two candidates. Former President Trump and current President Biden have a track record of speaking to and engaging with environmental issues as clearly as night and day. Neither is shy about which way the nation should head — and, therefore, the planet. In many ways, it comes down to bread-and-butter issues — or as former President Clinton opined: “It’s the economy stupid.”

Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash

Trump’s Environmental Policy: Deregulation and Fossil Fuels – Focus on Conservation

Former President Donald Trump’s four-year term was marked by an emphasis on deregulation and support for the fossil fuel industry. He termed climate change a “hoax” and shelved reams of Federal regulations and treaties, arguing that they were damaging to business and the nation’s growth engine. His administration’s policies preferred traditional energy sources over renewable alternatives.

Among his first significant actions in office was announcing the United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, a landmark international accord aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. This move signaled a significant shift from the US government’s global climate commitments.

The Trump administration also implemented policies supporting oil and gas drilling, including opening up Federal lands and offshore areas for exploration. Environmental regulations were rolled back, with more than 100 ecological rules and regulations being reversed, weakened, or repealed. These actions aimed to boost domestic energy production, reduce dependence on foreign fuel sources and support US-based business interests. But he did not abandon the issue altogether.

Former President Trump emphasized the importance of job security and protecting the more than 10 million people who earn a livelihood in the petrochemical sector. That figure is based on a 2015 study by the American Petroleum Institute evaluating the economic weight of the oil and gas sector. However, the Biden plan does not put an end to the extraction of fossil fuels or impose a ban on fracking. The shift toward a cleaner energy economy suggests replacing them during a 25-year transition by supporting renewable energy sectors expected to generate new jobs.

Photo Credit: Pexels – Photographer Johannes Plenio Re: Trillion Tree Initiative Legislation

The former president’s strong words questioning carbon footprint and climate change should not overshadow his significant legislative achievements.  President Trump took several actions to improve climate and the environment during his tenure. Trump committed the US to the Trillion Trees Initiative, aiming to conserve, restore, and grow trees worldwide, which help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law during his term in office, providing permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by addressing the maintenance backlog in national parks, which helps preserve natural landscapes. He also signed the Save Our Seas Act into law to tackle marine debris and reduce ocean pollution.

These actions reflect a mix of environmental protection measures amidst a broader energy policy often criticized for deregulating fossil fuel industries Strong statements debunking climate change often overshadowed his positive impact.

The Trump administration made major efforts to conserve nature in the US; however, the impact of his policies on climate tech investment was profound. Deregulation and focus on fossil fuels created an uncertain environment for investors in clean and renewable energy and climate technologies. The lack of favorable climate policies shifted the risk/reward balance for investors to gauge the long-term viability of climate-tech ventures and the potential for return on investment. Knee down.

Photo by Bill Mead on Unsplash

Biden’s Environmental Policy: Renewed Commitment and Green Investments

After the 2020 elections, President Joe Biden made environmental and climate issues a central focus of his administration. From his campaign promises to his actions in office, Biden demonstrates a solid commitment to addressing climate change and promoting clean energy technology. Among the hallmarks of Biden’s first term in office is the signing of the bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law — the nation’s most significant investment in clean energy and climate action.

In contrast to his predecessor, the President’s first action upon taking office was rejoining the Paris Agreement, signaling a renewed commitment to international climate cooperation. He has set ambitious climate goals, including achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and transitioning the United States to a 100% clean energy economy. Biden outlined a comprehensive climate plan to accomplish these goals with a sizable investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and advanced climate technologies. As the Federal government prioritized climate tech innovation, states followed suit, offering consumers tax rebates to embrace alternative energy.

The IRA legislation created 170,606 new jobs in 44 states between August 16, 2022, and July 20, 2023. With bipartisan support, the pump primed with capital led to 272 new clean energy projects in small towns and big cities nationwide, totaling $278 billion in new investments.

The Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan, a cornerstone of his economic agenda, includes significant funding for clean energy infrastructure, electric vehicle deployment, and research and development in climate technologies. The White House plan allocated billions of dollars to developing and deploying renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power and investing in emerging technologies like carbon capture and storage.

Image from the Center for Strategic and International Studies

Clear policy direction, coupled with substantial Federal funding and incentives, invited private equity to prioritize the sector and boosted investor confidence in the potential of climate technologies. The Biden administration’s focus on creating green jobs and promoting sustainable industries attracted significant attention from investors looking to capitalize on the growing demand for clean energy solutions.

Presidents’ Influence on the Winds of Change

Undoubtedly, Trump and Biden’s environmental policies impact climate tech investment. Under the Trump administration, the White House took dramatic action to advance legislation to support national parks, reforestation, and water-system upgrades. However, the climate tech sector faced severe headwinds due to the absence of supportive Federal policies, tipping into an uncertain regulatory environment. Given the administration’s apparent preference for fossil fuels and deregulation, private equity and venture capital took a watch-and-wait approach to renewable energy and climate technologies.

In comparison, the Biden administration policies boosted gave energy to the climate tech sector. Investors are more confident in the long-term prospects of climate technologies, leading to increased funding for renewable energy projects, electric vehicles, and other clean energy solutions.

The impact of these policy shifts can be seen in the growth of the climate tech sector. According to industry reports, venture capital funding for climate tech startups reached record levels in 2021, 2022 and 2023, influenced by the Biden administration’s supportive policies and the growing recognition of the urgent need to address climate change. Major corporations and financial institutions are also making significant commitments to sustainability, further fueling the sector’s growth.

Here is a quick summary contrasting the Trump and Biden climate approaches:

International Climate Agreements

Trump: Withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, arguing that it was unfair to American workers and industries. Deprioritized Federal interest in international climate cooperation, focusing on US economic priorities.

Biden: Rejoined the Paris Agreement on his first day in office, signaling an ongoing commitment to global climate action. The Biden administration participates in international climate summits and collaborates with other nations to meet global climate goals.

Does it Matter: To provide for a sustainable planet and open the facet for investment, White House support and Environment Protection Agency efforts send a message to VC and PE groups looking to balance risk with return on investment.

Regulatory Environment and Deregulation

Trump: Rolled back more than 100 environmental regulations, emphasizing deregulation to boost the fossil fuel industry. Encouraged drilling, mining, and oil and gas production expansion on Federal lands.

Biden: Implemented stricter environmental regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect public lands. Introduced policies to transition to renewable energy sources and phase out fossil fuels, aiming for a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

Does it Matter: Stronger environmental regulations reduce pollution and protect ecosystems, impacting public health outcomes and resource management. A clear regulatory framework provides certainty for investors in clean energy technologies.

Federal Investment in Clean Energy and Technology

Trump: Reduced Federal funding for renewable energy research and development, favoring fossil fuel investment. Prioritized short-term economic gains from traditional energy sectors over long-term sustainability.

Biden: Through initiatives like the American Jobs Plan, substantial funding has been allocated for renewable energy projects, electric vehicle infrastructure, and research and development in climate technologies. Promotes innovation in climate tech, aiming to create green jobs and modernize the energy infrastructure.

Does it Matter: Federal investment in clean energy influences economic growth, creates high-quality jobs, and positions the US within the global clean energy market. It also reduces dependence on fossil fuels, contributing to energy security and environmental sustainability.

Public Lands and Conservation

Trump Opened millions of acres of public lands for drilling, mining, and logging, reducing the size of several national monuments. Public lands are primarily resources for economic exploitation. But he also signed landmark legislation supporting national parks, water conservation, and tree planting to offset carbon concerns.

Biden: The Biden administration prioritized protecting and conserving public lands, reversing several of the Trump administration’s decisions to make them available for oil and gas drilling. It also prioritized biodiversity and promoting sustainable land use practices.

Does it Matter: Protecting public lands conserves natural habitats, which are crucial for biodiversity, recreation, and cultural heritage. It supports ecosystem services that benefit agriculture, water quality, and climate resilience.

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Trump: Downplayed the risks of climate change, focusing on the short-term economic benefits of fossil fuel production. Comprehensive climate mitigation and adaptation strategies are lacking, leaving many communities unprepared for climate impacts.

Biden: Developed comprehensive climate action plans, including plans for mitigation and adaptation. By prioritizing building climate-resilient infrastructure — construction and rehabilitation — policies support communities vulnerable to climate impacts.

Does it Matter: Effective climate change strategies are essential to protect communities from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and other climate-related risks. Proactive measures raise costs initially but reduce long-term costs and enhance the economy by creating retraining programs and new, higher-paying employment.


The stark differences between President Biden’s and President Trump’s approaches to climate change highlight the importance of climate policy in shaping the nation’s future. One candidate is seeking international cooperation, regulatory frameworks, Federal investment in clean energy, conservation of public lands, and comprehensive climate strategies to offer a path toward sustainability and resilience. The other speaks to the potential of more immediate economic benefit and a US-centric policy position.

According to the 2023 and 2024 Gallup Surveys, while US top issues suggest that bread-and-butter issues such as the economy, inflation, crime, health, and education are priority ballot concerns, those priorities shift with voters’ ages. Voters should care because these policies address climate change concerns and promote economic growth, public health, and environmental protection. Choosing between these two policy paths will have lasting implications for future generations.


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Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Health advocate connecting the dots to transform biopharma, digital health and healthcare innovation | Managing Partner, Chair Global Health FINN Partners | MM&M Top 50 Health Influencer | Top 10 Innovation Catalyst. Gil is Medika Life editor-in-chief and an author for the platform’s EcoHealth and Health Opinion and Policy sections. Gil also hosts the HealthcareNOW Radio show Healthunabashed, writes for Health Tech World, and is a member of the BeingWell team on Medium.


Editor in Chief, Medika Life

Meet the Medika Life editor-in-chief, working closely with founding editors Robert Turner and Jeff Livingston, MD.

Not your usual health-industry executive, Gil Bashe has had a unique career shaped by more than three decades in health policy, pharma, life science, digital health, eco-health, environmental innovation and venture capital and informed his determination to ‘give back.’

A champion for health innovation that sustains people’s lives and improves their care, Gil honed his perspectives on both battlefield and boardroom. He started in health as a combat medic in an elite military unit. He went on to serve as a clergyman tending to the ill; as a health products industry lobbyist in environmental affairs; as CEO of one of the world’s largest integrated health marketing companies; as a principal in a private equity-backed venture; as a Medika Life author and Health Tech World correspondent; and as Chair Global Health and Purpose at FINN Partners, a community of purpose dedicated to making a difference.

In the forefront of change, Gil is ranked as a Top 10 Digital Health Influencer; Medical Marketing & Media Top 10 Innovation Catalyst; Medika Life named him a “Top 50 Global Healthcare Influencer,” and PM360 presented him with its “Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award.” He is a board member for digital health companies and is an advisor to the CNS Summit, Galien Foundation, Let’s Win for Pancreatic Cancer, Marfan Foundation and other health-centered organizations.





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