Climate Day – January 28, 2021
Climate – Green New Deal – U.S. Politics- Biden.
(TrueNewsBlog) – Today was Climate Day in the Biden White House. The unmistakable message was that every day will be Climate Day in the Biden White House.
With a flurry of sweeping executive orders, lofty presidential rhetoric and written promises to “Take a Whole-of-Government Approach to the Climate Crisis,” President Joe Biden and his green advisers made it clear they plan to weave climate policy into foreign policy, domestic policy and everything else their administration does.
Biden set ambitious campaign goals of a carbon-free electric sector by 2035 and a carbon-neutral nation by 2050. Now that he’s in power and the U.S. is back in the Paris accord, he said, “it’s time to act. What Biden didn’t say is that with only 50 Democrats in the Senate including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who doesn’t share his climate goals action is unlikely to take the form of aggressive legislation like the cap-and-trade bill that died in Congress in 2010.
Biden might be able to slip green policies into must-pass budget bills or even an infrastructure bill, but one takeaway from Climate Day was that the administration understands it needs to act on its own.
Then again, there are limits on Biden’s options to act unilaterally, especially with a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. So what could he do to address a crisis that’s already weirding the weather and upending lives? After four years of denial under President Donald Trump, what would a whole-of-government approach to the climate look Climate Day provided a glimpse of what a president can do on his own.
Biden paused oil and gas leases on public lands. He ordered federal agencies to buy clean electricity and electric vehicles. He created a White House climate office, an environmental justice council and a new President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to replace the one Trump scrapped. He set a new goal of conserving 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030. He launched bureaucratic processes to promote “climate-smart agricultural practices” and the revitalization of communities with shuttered fossil-fuel plants.
None of those moves will do much to reduce emissions in the short term. But there’s still quite a bit Biden can try to do to work around a divided Congress and a hostile Court. He could ratchet up enforcement of existing regulations of fossil-fuel pollution, even if he can’t get new carbon rules past the Court.
He’s vowed to tighten longstanding fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles that the Court might be less likely to strike down, and he could do the same for energy-efficiency standards for appliances. He could try to accelerate the deployment of budget-friendly technologies like solar power, wind power and LED lighting that pay for themselves within a few years. He could use trade policy, diplomatic policy and his bully pulpit to bolster climate-friendly industries and encourage the rest of the world to do the same.
Biden has already stocked his administration with a flock of committed climate hawks — transportation officials focused on transit rather than highways, energy officials focused on renewables rather than fossil fuels, housing and commerce and budget officials with public climate records. These hawks will squawk if the president doesn’t follow through. They’re not the people you hire if you don’t want to act.
Clearly, Biden does want to act. Climate Day formalized his commitment to take the climate seriously. It was a boat-burning ceremony, no turning back. It sent a message to 2 million federal employees that they ought to take the climate seriously, too. That won’t always happen, of course. But Climate Day also sent a message to the news media that when it doesn’t happen, the administration will be breaking a promise. That’s how bureaucracies change.–