Joe Biden: The Rolling Stone Interview | Politics News | Rolling Stone
[Q] You mentioned a carbon tax. Is the Obama administration going to follow the lead of China and propose such a policy?
[Biden] The truth is, right now, no, because we know it will go nowhere. Look, one of the things we are doing, and the president is asking me to kind of get ahead of here, is that we have a real chance, both in this hemisphere and with China, to enter into joint ventures on renewable energy and on cleaner-burning natural gas. Let me give you an example: The Chinese are building something like one new coal-fired plant a week – a week. So pick the biggest coal-fired plant you know around here that's spewing pollution, and they're building them every week, and they've been doing that for the last six or seven years.
The Chinese have figured out that they have a giant environmental problem. Folks in Beijing, some days, literally can't breathe. Over a million Chinese die prematurely every year because of air pollution. And the pollution generated in China is choking us, not just the Chinese. One of the examples I used on the campaign trail last year was that after the Japanese tsunami, we had huge chunks of cement, chunks of piers, washing up on the beach in Oregon. If the current can carry that stuff across the ocean, imagine what's coming across in the atmosphere. So we have a great opportunity here to figure out how we can not only begin to wean ourselves off of carbon-based fuels but wean the world off of them too.