On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed space executive orders to force the federal government to plan and respond to the urgent threat of a warming planet, exposing its historical vision for how the United States can once again become a global climate leader.
The moves will stop new fossil fuel rents on public land, stimulate the development and conservation of renewable energy, and create new government offices and interagency groups to prioritize job creation, pollution policing and justice. environmental.
Since taking office last week, Biden and his Cabinet candidates have repeatedly stated that tackling the climate crisis is one of their priorities. With these new actions, Biden details how he plans to make them happen so makes the central federal government in response.
“The United States and the world are facing a deep climate crisis,” the principal said executive order Biden stopped saying that. “We have a tight time to pursue actions at home and abroad to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of this crisis and to seize the opportunities that climate change faces.”
Biden’s early climate movements are in stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s actions, which included the immediate elimination of climate change from the White House site, disrupting climate action, and using his executive power to stimulate the development of oil, gas and coal.
Biden’s first day’s climate actions were a direct response to Trump, including ordering his staff to review more than 100 anti-environmental rules enacted by Trump and to begin the process for the country to meet at the Paris climate agreement. But these new actions go far beyond reversing Trump’s actions or even restoring climate initiatives previously advocated by former President Barack Obama.
“It is now clear that President Biden hears the demands of our strong and clear generation, understands the power of our movement and is serious about using the executive branch to deliver on his campaign promises,” said Varshini Prakash, executive director of the Sunrise Movement, in a statement.
As part of a vast new executive order, Biden ordered the Department of the Interior to indefinitely pause new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters “as soon as possible.” The order does not specifically ban new coal locations and leaves fossil fuel locations on tribal lands at its discretion.
On the other hand, Biden is leading a review of existing fossil fuel sites and development projects, and has asked the Department of the Interior to find ways to strengthen renewable energy projects, particularly offshore wind, on water and land federally owned.
The American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas trading association, has benefited from the new restrictions. “Limiting the leasing and development of natural gas and oil on federal lands and waters could threaten U.S. energy security, economic growth, and well-paid American jobs,” he said. API tweeted.
While the order would not have an impact on most of the nation’s oil and gas drilling and coal extraction, which takes place on private land, it could also have a major climate impact. The extraction of fossil fuels from public lands between 2005 and 2014 accounted for about 25% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions during that time, according to a U.S. Geological Survey. report.
A key part of the executive order is the creation of new offices and committees focused on addressing specific climate issues and objectives. In addition to formally creating a new White House Office on National Climate Policy, led by Gina McCarthy, a former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Biden on Wednesday established a National Climate Task Force that directs members across agencies and departments “to enable a holistic approach by the government to combat ‘to the climate crisis’, according to a White House note.
Biden also created a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative designed to create new jobs in conservation, an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Communities and economic revitalization to address projects that cut pollution from fuel infrastructure. existing and abandoned fossils, as well as an interagency White House Council for Environmental Justice and the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to increase monitoring and enforcement of environmental justice.
Few details have been provided on exactly who will direct the numerous new efforts, how much funding they will receive, or timelines for achieving these bold goals.
In most cases, Biden’s actions follow the promises of his climate campaign, such as the promise to reserve 30% of public lands and waters for conservation by 2030 and to have an international climate summit. in its first 100 days – one will be held on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.
“The last four years have been a food frenzy on our public lands and waters, and this moratorium is the right way to start our late transition to a more sustainable economy,” said Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat. Arizona and chairman of the Natural Resources Committee House. Last year Grijalva co-sponsored the 2020 Ocean Climate Solutions Act which supports similar to the 30% conservation target. He said that now Congress will move forward with the bill.
“The stakes on climate change just might not be higher than it is now,” John Kerry, Presidential Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, said at a press conference Wednesday.
“The convening of this summit is essential to ensure that 2021 is the year to make up for the lost time of the last four years,” he added, referring to the next climate meeting. “The world is going to measure us by what we can do here at home.”
In addition, McCarthy said Wednesday that the United States plans to release its updated climate commitment to the Paris climate agreement ahead of the April summit.
As part of a separate memorandum on scientific integrity, Biden reinstated dissolved scientific advisory committees under Trump. Separately, he also re-elected the President’s Board of Directors on Science and Technology.