President Joe Biden signed a comprehensive executive order on Wednesday to force the federal government to plan and respond to the immediate threat of global warming, setting out his historic vision of how the United States can once again become a global climate leader.
These initiatives will stop new fossil fuel leases on public land, promote the development and protection of renewable energy, and establish new government offices and inter-agency teams to prioritize job creation, clean up pollution, and environmental justice.
Since taking office last week, Biden and his cabinet nominee have repeatedly stated that addressing the climate crisis is one of their top priorities. Through these new actions, Biden detailed how he plans to achieve this goal by making the federal government the core of the response.
“The United States and the world are facing a deep climate crisis,” the main Executive order Biden signed. “In order to avoid the most catastrophic impact of this crisis and seize the opportunities brought about by climate change, we have a tight time to act at home and abroad.”
Biden’s early climate initiatives are in stark contrast to those of former President Donald Trump, which included the immediate removal of climate change from the White House website, obstruction of climate action, and the use of his executive power to promote the development of oil, gas, and coal.
Biden’s first day of climate action was a direct response to Trump, including instructing his staff to review more than 100 anti-environmental rules set by Trump and initiate the country’s process Rejoin the Paris climate agreementBut these new actions are far more than just reversing Trump’s actions, and even resuming the climate initiatives first advocated by former President Barack Obama.
Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement, said in a statement: “Today, President Biden clearly heard the demands of our generation, understands the power of our movement, and takes seriously Use executive power to fulfill his campaign promises.” Statement.
As part of a broad new executive order, Biden instructed the Interior Department to “as far as possible” indefinitely suspend new oil and gas leases on public land and offshore waters. The order did not explicitly prohibit new coal leases, but left them to decide on fossil fuel leases on tribal land.
In addition, Biden is directing the review of existing fossil fuel leasing and development projects, and asked the Ministry of the Interior to find ways to promote renewable energy projects, especially offshore wind energy projects, on federally owned water and land.
The Oil and Gas Trade Association, the American Petroleum Institute, refused to accept the new restrictions. “Restricted natural gas and oil leasing and development on federal lands and waters may threaten U.S. energy security, economic growth, and high-paying U.S. jobs,” API Tweet.
Although the order will not affect most of the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining on private land, it may still have a significant impact on the climate. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the mining of fossil fuels on public land between 2005 and 2014 accounted for approximately 25% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. report.
A key part of the executive order is the creation of new offices and committees that focus on solving specific climate issues and goals. In addition to the formal establishment of the new White House Domestic Climate Policy Office, Led by Gina McCarthyAccording to a memorandum from the White House, Biden established a national climate task force on Wednesday, which instructs members of various agencies and departments to “address the climate crisis in a government-wide manner.”
Biden also created a civil climate group initiative aimed at creating new jobs in conservation, an inter-agency working group on coal and power plant communities and economic revitalization to undertake projects to reduce pollution from existing and abandoned fossil fuel infrastructure, and the White House The Inter-Agency Committee on Environmental Justice and the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Committee aim to promote environmental judicial supervision and law enforcement.
There are few details about who will take the lead in many new jobs, how much funding they will receive, or the timetable for achieving these bold goals.
In most cases, Biden’s actions have fulfilled his climate campaign promises, such as a pledge to use 30% of public land and waters for protection by 2030, and to hold an international climate summit within his first 100 days. One will be held on Earth Day, April 22, 2022.
“The past four years have been a crazy feeding for our public land and waters, and this suspension is the right way for us to begin the transition to a more sustainable economy,” said Raul Ge, a Democrat from Arizona and chairman of the House The Natural Resources Committee of Raúl Grijalva. Grijalva co-sponsored the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020 last year, which also supports the 30% protection goal. He said that Congress will now advance the bill.
“The risk of climate change simply cannot be higher than it is now,” John Kerry, the President’s special envoy for climate issues, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“Having this summit is crucial to ensure that 2022 will be a year to make up for the lost time of the past four years,” he added, referring to the upcoming climate conference. “The world will measure us by what we can do at home.”
In addition, McCarthy said on Wednesday that the United States plans to release its latest climate commitments to the Paris climate agreement before the April summit.
As part of a separate memo on scientific integrity, Biden is re-establishing the scientific advisory committee that was disbanded under Trump’s leadership. In addition, he will restart the President’s Science and Technology Advisory Committee.