President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed sweeping executive orders to compel the federal government to plan and respond to the urgent threat of global warming, laying out his historic vision of how the United States can once again become a global climate leader.
These steps will halt new fossil fuel leases on public land, promote renewable energy development and conservation, as well as create new government offices and interagency groups to prioritize job creation, decontamination, and environmental justice.
Since taking office last week, Biden and his cabinet candidates have repeatedly said that tackling the climate crisis is among their top priorities. With these new measures, Biden details how he plans to achieve this by making the federal government central to the response.
“The United States and the world are facing a deep climate crisis,” principal said Executive order Biden signed said. “We have a narrow moment to continue to work at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic effects of that crisis and seize the opportunity presented by addressing climate change.”
Biden’s early climate moves stand in stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s actions, which included the immediate removal of climate change from the White House site, thwarting climate action, and using his executive power to promote oil, gas and coal development.
Biden’s climate actions on the first day were a direct response to Trump, including directing his staff to review more than 100 anti-green rules Trump enacted and begin the process for the nation. Re-accession to the Paris Climate Agreement. But these new measures go far beyond reversing Trump’s actions or even returning the climate initiatives first adopted by former President Barack Obama.
“It is clear today that President Biden is listening to the demands of our generation loud and clear, understanding the strength of our movement, and he is serious about using the executive authority to fulfill his electoral promises,” said Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement. statement.
As part of a broad new executive order, Biden is directing the Home Office to halt new oil and gas leases indefinitely on public land and marine waters “to the extent possible.” The order does not specifically prohibit new coal leases and leaves fossil fuel leases on tribal lands to their discretion.
Furthermore, Biden is directing a review of current fossil fuel leases and development projects, and asked the Home Office to find ways to promote renewable energy projects, especially offshore wind, on federally owned water and land.
The American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas trade association, rejected the new restrictions. “Restricting natural gas and oil leasing and federal land and water development could threaten US energy security, economic growth, and good-paying American jobs.” The API tweets.
While it will not affect the majority of the country’s oil and gas exploration and coal mining, which take place on private land, it can still have a significant climate impact. Fossil fuel extraction on public lands between 2005 and 2014 accounted for roughly 25% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions during that period, according to a US Geological Survey. Transfer.
A key part of Executive Orders is the creation of new offices and committees that focus on addressing specific climate problems and targets. Besides formally establishing a new White House office for local climate policy, Led by Gina McCarthyBiden, a former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, on Wednesday created a National Climate Task Force that guides members across agencies and departments “to enable a full-fledged government approach to combating the climate crisis,” according to the White House memo.
Biden is also working on the creation of the Civilian Climate Authorities Initiative designed to create new conservation jobs, an interagency working group on coal communities, power plants and economic revitalization to take over projects that reduce pollution from existing and abandoned fossil fuel infrastructure, as well as the White House Ministerial Council on Environmental Justice and Council. The White House Environmental Justice Advisory to Strengthen Environmental Justice Monitoring and Enforcement.
Few details were provided about exactly who would lead the many new efforts, how much funding they would receive, or timelines to achieve these bold goals.
In most cases, Biden’s actions follow his campaign’s climate promises, such as a promise to set aside 30% of public land and water for conservation by 2030 and hold an international climate summit on his first 100 days – one of which will be held on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.
“The past four years have been a frenzy in our public lands and waters, and this moratorium is the right way to begin our late transition to a more sustainable economy,” Rep. Raul Gregalva, an Arizona Democrat and chair of the House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee. Last year, Grijalva co-sponsored the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020 that likewise supports the goal of 30% conservation. He has now said that Congress will go ahead with the bill.
“The risks to climate change simply could not be higher than they are now,” John Kerry, the presidential special envoy for climate, said in a press briefing on Wednesday.
“Holding this summit is necessary to ensure that 2021 is the year that will replace the lost time of the past four years,” he added, referring to the upcoming climate meeting. “The world will measure us by what we can do here at home.”
In addition, McCarthy said on Wednesday that the United States plans to release its updated climate commitment to the Paris climate agreement before the April summit.
As part of a separate memo on scientific integrity, Biden is re-creating science advisory committees that were disbanded under Trump. Separately, he is also restarting the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.