4. February 2021
The new US president Joe Biden moved fast on climate change policies as soon as he took office: first he initiated the United States’ re-entry into the Paris Climate Agreement, then he signed a climate-related executive order suspending new oil and gas leases on public lands, directed federal agencies to purchase electric cars by the thousands and is seeking to end fossil-fuel subsidies. He announced that climate change will be at the centre of his national security and foreign policy. President Biden clearly showed that he does not want to lose any more time and is also prepared to spend a lot of money on fighting the climate crisis. His team for this enormous task is top of the class. But see for yourself:
John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate: This position was created specifically for the former Secretary of State and places John Kerry at the heart of the Biden Administration’s environmental, national security and diplomatic efforts. Kerry has a seat on the National Security Council and will have wide latitude to shape and promote President Biden’s climate response.
Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior: Haaland was a member of the House of Representatives on the Committee on Natural Resources. Her position is central to implementing the new goal of protecting 30% of America’s land and oceans by 2030.
Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy: The introduction and development of renewable energy and storage technologies will be at the heart of Granholm’s energy ministry. She describes herself as a “clean energy advocate”.
Gina McCarthy, national climate advisor: President Biden created the new White House Office of Climate Policy and placed President Obama’s former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at the helm of the new office. McCarthy is known for her straight talk and considerable experience as an environmental regulator. McCarthy will work quickly to reinstate many of the Obama-era climate policies and executive orders that the Trump Administration dismantled.
Michael Regan, EPA Administrator: Michael Regan was a surprise pick for the job but was elevated to the position because of his success leading the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and his strong track record championing environmental justice issues. He will be heavily focused on bring equity and fairness to the to the EPA’s regulatory efforts.
Liane Randolph, Chair, California Air Resource Board: Randolph is not a member of the White House’s climate team but holds one of the United State’s leading environmental regulatory positions. The California Air Resources board is considered by most people to be the second most important environmental regulator in America and often pushes the federal government to be more ambitious in setting environmental quality standards. Randolph, new to the role, is expected to prioritize environmental justice and equity. Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality-CEQ. Mallory, an environmental lawyer, will play an important role in implementing environmental and climate law. Under the Biden administration, the CEQ could act as a brake on environmentally damaging projects, such as pipeline construction.