Joe Biden has been sworn in as President of the US and signalled that the superpower will retake its leading role in the climate debate.
At his inauguration, Mr Biden promised an end to factional infighting and the “uncivil war” that has seen fault lines emerge between urban and rural populations as COVID-19 and partisan politics ravaged the US.
“We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility. If we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes just for a moment. Because here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you,” Mr Biden said.
One of Mr Biden’s first orders of business was re-entering the US into the Paris Climate Agreement, widely considered to be a key signal that he will take a leading role in the climate change debate that many believe will drive investment in the energy transition.
“Biden’s policy agenda is expected to be a boon for companies directly involved in alternative energy (such as solar), and could also accelerate the structural shift towards sustainability and have flow-on effects for Wall Street, with an increased focus on ESG factors,” said Adam O'Conner, BetaShares director of capital markets and adviser business.
“There could also be tighter regulation of oil and gas exploration and production, particularly for U.S. shale.”
Also on the agenda is a possible break-up of tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon, with both Republicans and Democrats concerned about the power that large social media platforms have over voters. Those concerns were exacerbated by the riot at the Capitol in early January, which has now been found to have been largely co-ordinated online, as well as the spread of so-called “Fake News” before and after the 2016 election.
“With some bipartisan support the Biden administration could potentially subject the large digital platforms to greater regulation and take a harder line on anti-trust enforcement,” Mr O'Conner said.
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