PRESIDENT BIDEN OUTLINES CLIMATE AGENDA 

Following through on one his most important commitments during his presidential campaign, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) Wednesday, January 27, 2021 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. In an effort to quickly turn the page from the past four years, President Biden’s EO will pursue a dual approach to policy as “domestic action must go hand in hand with United States international leadership, aimed at significantly enhancing global action.” In demonstrating his commitment to enact these policies, Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor, and John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and former Secretary of State, will lead this charge domestically and internationally. 

President Biden also signed an EO on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and a memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking, rounding out the theme of science over politics that the President campaigned on. 

 

Specifically, these orders will:

Put the climate crisis at the center of United States foreign policy and national security: In order to effectively achieve global net zero emissions and significantly cut greenhouse gasses by no later than 2050, the Biden administration aims to make climate considerations an essential component of foreign policy and national security decisions. 

Take a government wide approach to the climate crisis: To demonstrate President Biden’s seriousness to combating the climate crisis, this EO will direct every federal agency within his administration to enact policies that take climate change into account. 

Use the federal government’s buying power and real property and asset management: In an effort to lead by example, President Biden will take unprecedented steps within the federal government to combat climate change and identify opportunities for federal funding to spur innovation, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure.

Empower workers through rebuilding our infrastructure for a sustainable economy: President Biden will work to achieve the delicate balance of implementing new regulations that tackle climate change while being cognizant of the impact to the coal, oil, and gas industries who are already vulnerable and still suffering from the recession caused by COVID-19. 

Secure environmental justice and spur economic opportunity: In President Biden’s Climate Plan, environmental and economic justice are key components. In the President’s EO, it is critical turning “disadvantaged communities — historically marginalized and overburdened — into healthy, thriving communities, and undertaking robust actions to mitigate climate change while preparing for the impacts of climate change across rural, urban, and Tribal areas.” 

President Biden issued a second EO establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which would be comprised of the Assistant to the President for Science & Technology (Eric Lander) along with twenty-six members non-governmental representatives (the term for PCAST members is two years, and up to two members of the PCAST may be selected as Co-Chairs.) The PCAST is a body that has existed under several administrations and is charged with advising the President on policy matters affecting science, technology and innovation. 

Through a Presidential Memorandum, President Biden reaffirmed the role of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to “ensure the highest level of integrity in all aspects of executive branch involvement with scientific and technological processes.” In general, the agencies are charged with enforcing scientific-integrity policies that ban improper political interference in the conduct of scientific research or distortion of scientific or technological findings, data, information, conclusions, or technical results, appointing a scientific-integrity official, and providing recommendations about which Advisory Committee charters should be created.  

 

RESOURCES

  1. WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET
  2. EXECUTIVE ORDER ON TACKLING THE CLIMATE CRISIS AT HOME AND ABROAD
  3. EXECUTIVE ORDER ON THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL OF ADVISORS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
  4. MEMORANDUM ON RESTORING TRUST IN GOVERNMENT THROUGH SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY AND EVIDENCE-BASED POLICYMAKING 
  5. VIDEO OF PRESIDENT BIDEN’S REMARKS
  6. VIDEO OF JOHN KERRY AND GINA MCCARTHY’S REMARKS