Sunday, May 9, 2021

Biden’s First Steps as President: Action on Covid and Climate

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A wave of executive orders is expected to take place over the next few days from the new U.S. president as he takes up residence in the White House. Here are the highlights of those he has signed so far.

The “100 day mask challenge”

Biden’s first order is part of the recommendation, part of the requirement: it requires people to wear masks on all federal property, and recommends that governors and local elected officials do the same. The wording also attempts to turn masking, a vital public health recommendation that can help stop the spread of covid-19, into a public challenge, calling on all Americans to stick to wearing masks for the next 100. days. —Abby Ohlheiser

Join the Paris climate agreements

Biden wasted no time in setting a new tone for climate change, an issue he has pledged to make of his presidency. As promised throughout the campaign and afterBiden began the process of bringing the nation back into the Paris climate agreement on his first day in office.

Join the Paris Agreement, which officially take a few more weeks, does not in itself create any new binding climate policy. But the United States will need to submit revised emissions targets ahead of the United Nations climate conference later this year, along with a plan for deep cuts by mid-century. The great hope is that the world’s second-largest emitter turning the international fold will get more momentum behind the overall goal of preventing 2 ̊C of warming. However, after four years under Trump, the United States will need to undo the significant damage done to its international relations and make real progress on its domestic climate policies before it is seen as a leader rather than a laggard on the issue. —James Temple

Keystone cancellation

As expected, Biden also canceled permits for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude oil from Canada to Illinois. —James Temple

This story will be updated with other actions and executive orders as they are announced.



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