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Joe Biden prepares to incorporate climate action into the entire federal government

This far-reaching strategy aims to maximize executive power, even without congressional action, to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“From the very beginning of the event, the then-president-elect Biden launched his own climate plan. He made it clear that he thought it was an all agenda of the government, domestic, economic, and foreign policy,” Stefanie Feldman , Election policy said the director of Democrat Biden. “From the very beginning, when he talked about infrastructure, he talked about ensuring that infrastructure is built into climate change. We are making our communities more resilient to the impact of climate change.”


Most scientists agree that the carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases released when humans burn fossil fuels are helping to warm the planet. During the campaign, Biden proposed the most radical plan of any major party candidate in an attempt to slow this rise.

To show that Biden has raised this issue, he discussed the topic with every European head of state he spoke with on Tuesday, including the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Ireland. Biden often starts to mention climate “crisis”, which shows that the level of urgency is increasing.

A team of former Obama administration officials and experts created a 300-page blueprint that proposes a holistic approach to climate change while avoiding some of the traps that hinder President Barack Obama , Barack Obama has some of the same goals, but can’t set all of them. This project, known as the “Climate 21 Project”, took one and a half years and was only recently delivered to Biden’s transition team. The document outlines how the incoming government will reorganize government departments to act faster in the face of global warming.

It specifies dozens of reforms that the new government can take to reduce greenhouse gases, rather than just reversing the implementation of a series of Trump administration policies that promote oil and gas extraction and loose pollution control. Although Republicans may contend with Biden’s most ambitious renewable energy investment and may challenge new federal rules in court, the report highlights structural changes that may change the climate.

These proposals include the establishment of the White House National Climate Council, which is “equivalent” to the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council; and the establishment of a “carbon bank” under the Commodity Credit Corporation of the United States Department of Agriculture, which can provide farmers and forest owners To store carbon in their soil and land; promote the electrification of cars and trucks through the Ministry of Transport; and formulate climate policies in the Ministry of Finance to promote carbon reduction through taxation, budgeting and regulatory policies.

Tim Profeta is the head of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University and co-chairs the 21st Century Climate Project. He said in an interview that Biden “do not have to wait for Congress to take action. He can take immediate action throughout the federal government.”

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg advocated a similar approach in a column published on Wednesday, arguing that some of the most important steps that the new government can take are “unrelated to the Environmental Protection Agency,” and taking measures such as Measures affecting the inclusion of housing. And the building standards of urban development and the disclosure requirements of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. On the same day, two left-leaning groups, the Sunrise Movement and the Justice Democratic Party, called on Biden to create a “White House Climate Mobilization Office” to coordinate the actions of the entire federal government.

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) semi-annual financial stability report released this week warned: “Climate change has increased economic uncertainty and risk, and we have just begun to include it, which shows that government agencies other than the usual environmental protection agencies have begun to respond to the climate. This is a sign of change. Enter our analysis of financial stability.” Federal Reserve Governor Lyle Brainard, a major competitor to the Secretary of the Treasury under the Biden administration, welcomed the inclusion of climate in the report, and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell described it as a long-term risk last week. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve asked to join the “Green Financial System Network,” a global alliance of central banks and banking regulators dedicated to managing climate risk.

Several former Obama administration officials pointed out how the previous Democratic administration ended without radically reforming federal policies affecting climate change. Obama made this issue the main focus in his second term, but he did not launch the climate action plan until June 2013, and key departments such as the Interior Department did not finalize their comprehensive plans before leaving office.

Christy Goldfuss served as the Managing Director of the White House Environmental Quality Committee and presided over many of these tasks, and co-chaired the new report. He said that because Biden has made Biden a core issue, he now has the ability to formulate climate-specific policies throughout the government in his campaign. She said it is vital for Biden to quickly fill the vacant job of President Trump, rebuild the department and return the leadership of the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies to Washington.

“That’s it. This is the time to take climate action.” said Godfors, the current senior vice president of energy and environmental policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “Climate change affects all aspects of people’s lives and all aspects of the economy. The federal government is also closely related to all aspects of people.”

Godfors said that because of the purchasing power of federal agencies, changing the way the government purchases goods and services could have a knock-on effect on the private sector. Organizations such as the BlueBlue Alliance, an alliance of labor and environmental groups, champion policies such as California’s Purchasing Cleaning Act, which requires the state to consider the pollution emissions of glass, steel and other material manufacturers when making purchase decisions.

Feldman declined to comment on the group’s recommendations, but said that regardless of the government’s organizational structure, the new government has a clear direction. In fact, this will ensure that the most important thing we will provide on the climate agenda is the personal commitment of the president-elect Biden,” she said.

Biden (Biden) on Tuesday appointed a team of several experts to manage his transition in different agencies and departments such as the Pentagon, Commerce, Judicial, Economic Advisory Committee, and National Security Agency. rich experience.

The president-elect team plans to quickly enter the climate agenda for several reasons. The federal regulation and budgeting process takes time, and the United States needs to prove that it is taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to persuade other countries to increase their commitments before next year’s UN climate negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland.

Even if Biden adopts a series of policies aimed at reducing the US carbon footprint, dangerous global warming may not be avoided. Compared with pre-industrial levels, approximately 10% of the world’s temperature has risen by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Scientists say that when the entire planet exceeds the warming threshold of 2 degrees Celsius, the earth will suffer irreversible severe damage. Recent analysis by the Climate Action Tracker shows that if the president-elect plan is fully realized, it will shave 0.1 degrees Celsius in 2100 to shut down global temperature rise.

At present, the United States is still far from reducing climate pollution by 4.3% per year. This is the Rhodium Group’s estimation. This is necessary to achieve Benden’s goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by the middle of this century. Data released by the EPA this week showed that greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector fell by 8% last year, while emissions from oil and gas facilities increased by nearly 7%, and emissions from almost all other industrial sectors were flat.

Michael Greenstone, an economist at the University of Chicago who was the chief economist of the Obama Council of Economic Advisers, said that plans such as the plans outlined in the new report make sense, but in the end, “the earth only cares about greenhouses. Gas emissions. Therefore, the acid test will be whether the United States has meaningful emission reductions and whether these emission reductions will affect the emission reductions of other countries.”

Kim Cobb, professor of atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said that many corporate participants are frustrated with the kind of policy whip that Obama experienced when he succeeded Trump, and if it means greater business certainty, they may Will accept stricter pollution control.

For example, Trump’s actions to weaken Obama-era exhaust pipe emission standards have split American automakers because California and a dozen other states, which represent approximately 40% of the American auto market, prefer stricter standards. A few companies, including Ford and Honda, support California, while General Motors, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler support the US government. Under the leadership of the Democrats, automakers may try to compromise in order to stay consistent in the US market.

The Conservative Party will try to persuade the industry to boycott such transactions. Soon after the election, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in an interview that he still envisioned a situation where Trump could get enough electoral college votes to win the second term, although Mathematically, this result does not seem feasible. However, Morrisey and other attorney generals have challenged the Obama administration’s right to regulate greenhouse gases, and they are preparing to initiate similar lawsuits again.

Morrisey mourns the fact that certain industries (such as the power industry) have accepted the idea that even if they are litigating certain Obama administration regulations, they must curb carbon emissions. He said that if Biden takes action, he and other attorneys general think it is unreasonable, “everyone will know it will be illegal from the beginning.”

Former Obama officials are keenly aware of the drawbacks of the “one size fits all” approach. Former Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz (Ernest Moniz) said that legislation passed with the support of both parties is often the best way to achieve lasting change, and it is still worth trying.

Moniz said: “My view of reality is that it is difficult to make major systemic changes in this country without considerable bipartisan support.”

Brady Dennis, Rachel Siegel and Dino Grandoni contributed to this report.

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