US President Joe Biden has signed a new batch of executive actions placing the weather the crisis returns to the agenda of the United States government and elevates science to the status of presidential adviser.
Climate change has been blamed for extreme weather and climate-related disasters such as storms, floods, heat waves and wildfires in recent years. According to think tank Germanwatch, these disasters have killed 500,000 people over the past 20 years and cost the global economy a staggering $ 2.56 billion over the past 100 years.
Biden’s orders on Wednesday set the direction of the Democratic president’s agenda on climate change and the environment and mark a reversal of the policies of his predecessor Donald Trump, who sought to maximize US production of oil, gas and coal by cutting regulations and facilitating environmental reviews.
“In my opinion, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis,” Biden said at a White House ceremony, highlighting the threats the nation faces due to intensifying storms, forest fires and droughts linked to climate change.
“This is a case where consciousness and convenience intersect, where facing this existential threat to the planet and increasing our economic growth and prosperity are one and the same. When I think of climate change and its responses, I think of jobs, ”Biden added.
Biden ordered the Home Office to suspend new federal oil and gas leases on public land or offshore waters “to the extent possible” and to examine the program’s climate impacts and taxpayer benefits . The hiatus will not limit energy activities on land the government holds in trust for Native American tribes.
“The stakes of climate change could not be higher than they are now,” Biden’s climate envoy former Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.
“By instituting a holistic approach, the President is ensuring that climate change becomes a priority for every relevant federal agency and the federal government will lead by example. https://t.co/cPY477NiMX
– WWF News (@WWFnews) January 27, 2021
Protect federal lands
Biden’s focus on climate change has encouraged international partners and environmental advocates.
In a statement, the World Wide Fund for Nature welcomed the White House decision and pledged to help “turn these bold promises into ambitious and effective action.”
“By taking a holistic approach, the President is ensuring that climate change becomes a priority for every relevant federal agency and the federal government will lead by example.
The Big Oil lobby, however, expressed disappointment, saying the move would cost the United States millions of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.
But the Biden administration argued that by tackling climate change, the country would be able to save billions more in the long run, instead of spending money to deal with natural disasters.
Biden also set a goal of conserving 30% of federal lands and waters by 2030 to protect wildlife.
The orders are for large tracts of land on land in predominantly western states, as well as offshore drilling areas located primarily in the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, which together account for about a quarter of the oil and gas supply. country gas.
The measures have already drawn criticism from some states that depend on revenues from drilling and the oil industry and have warned that such measures would cost jobs and economic growth.
“We cannot afford to play games with the millions of hard-working Americans whose livelihoods depend on a vibrant energy sector,” Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz said in a tweet.
“President Biden and radical environmentalists are trying to gut our energy independence and our blue collar economy,” he said.
– Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 26, 2021
On Wednesday, Kerry also announced that Biden will host an international climate summit on April 22.
Along with this radical new shift is the creation of a new interagency climate working group, which will be led by White House Domestic Climate Policy Advisor Gina McCarthy.
At Wednesday’s press conference, McCarthy stressed that the executive order made good for several of Biden’s campaigns promises tackle climate change while securing well-paid union employment and achieving climate justice.
“Today’s executive order begins by saying that it is the policy of this administration that climate considerations should be an essential part of US foreign and national security policy,” McCarthy said.