President Joe Biden will enact a series of executive orders on Wednesday that will force the federal government to plan for and respond to the urgent threat of global warming, setting out his historic vision for how the United States can once again become a global climate leader. .
These measures will stop new fossil fuel leases on public lands, stimulate the development and conservation of renewable energy, and create new government offices and interagency groups to prioritize job creation, pollution cleanup and environmental justice.
Since taking office last week, Biden and his cabinet candidates have repeatedly said tackling the climate crisis is one of their top priorities. With these sweeping new actions, Biden details how he plans to get there by putting the federal government at the heart of the response.
Biden’s early climate changes stand in stark contrast to the actions of former President Donald Trump, which included immediately removing climate change from the White House website, thwarting climate action, and using his executive power. to stimulate the development of oil, gas and coal.
Biden’s day one climate actions were a direct response to Trump, including ordering his staff to review more than 100 anti-environmental rules Trump passed and start the process for the country join the Paris climate agreement. But these new actions go far beyond canceling Trump’s actions or even reinstating the climate initiatives first championed by former President Barack Obama.
As part of a new general decree, Biden orders the Home Office to indefinitely suspend new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters “to the extent possible.” The ordinance does not specifically prohibit new coal leases and leaves fossil fuel leases on tribal lands to their discretion.
Additionally, Biden is leading a review of existing fossil fuel leases and development projects, and has called on the Home Office to find ways to boost renewable energy projects, especially offshore wind, on the waters. and lands owned by the federal government.
While the order would not affect the majority of the country’s oil and gas drilling and coal mining, which takes place on private land, it could still have a major climate impact. The extraction of fossil fuels on public lands between 2005 and 2014 accounted for about 25% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions during that period, according to a United States Geological Survey. report.
A key element of the executive decrees is the creation of new bureaus and committees focused on solving specific climate issues and goals. In addition to officially creating a new domestic climate policy office at the White House, directed by Gina McCarthyFormer head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Biden on Wednesday established a national climate task force that leads members across agencies and departments “to enable a whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis.” , according to a White House memo.
Biden is also creating a Civilian Climate Corps initiative designed to create new jobs in conservation, an interagency working group on coal and power plant communities and economic revitalization to undertake projects that reduce pollution of fossil fuel infrastructure. existing and discontinued, as well as a The White House Interagency Council on Environmental Justice and the White House Advisory Council on Environmental Justice to strengthen environmental justice oversight and enforcement.
Few details have been provided on who will spearhead the many new efforts, the amount of funding they will receive, or the timeline to achieve these bold goals.
In most cases, Biden’s actions follow through on his climate campaign promises, such as a pledge to set aside 30% of public land and water for conservation by 2030 and an international summit. on the climate during its first 100 days to be held on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.
As part of a separate memorandum on scientific integrity, Biden reinstates the science advisory committees dissolved under Trump. In addition, it also restarts the Council of the President’s Advisers on Science and Technology.