‘Climate day means jobs day’: Biden sells his green vision as an economic boost as he signs orders to ban drilling on all federal land, abolish fossil fuel subsidies and make America a zero emissions country by 2050
- President Joe Biden signed a host of initiatives to combat climate change and tied his plans to job and economic growth
- ‘Today is climate day at the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House,’ Biden said
- President Biden argued more than 1 million jobs will come from his $2 trillion program to slow global warming
- Plans include ending drilling on federal land after he canceled the controversial, billion-dollar Keystone XL pipeline
- The order also directs the government to conserve 30 percent of all federal land and water by 2030 and to create a National Climate Task Force
- Biden to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030
- He makes climate change a national security issue
- Biden host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, 2021
President Joe Biden tied his climate initiatives to job growth on Wednesday, touting the economic growth behind his measures to increase conservation as the oil and gas industry complained about lost employment.
‘Today is climate day at the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House,’ Biden said in the State Dining Room before he signed his latest round of executive orders. ‘It’s a future of enormous hope and opportunity.’
His plan includes a number of policy changes including ending drilling on federal land, doubling wind energy, and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies – all after he canceled the controversial billion-dollar Keystone XL pipeline. Social justice initiatives also play a large role in his climate proposal, which he called a national security issue.
‘When I think of climate change, when I think of the answers to it – I think of jobs,’ the president said, promising a ‘whole of government’ approach to environmental problems. ‘Climate change will be the center of our national security and foreign policy.’
Biden argued his administration’s plan will result in 1 million jobs in the American auto industry and more than a quarter million jobs to clean up after the oil and gas industry as part of his $2 trillion program to slow global warming.
President Joe Biden signed a host of initiatives to combat climate change and tied his plans to job and economic growth
President Joe Biden signs an executive order on climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy, right, look on
President Biden greets his Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry; Biden created the climate czar position and gave it to the man he calls his ‘best buddy’
President Biden also vowed not to forget energy workers who have lost jobs in the shift to more renewable, environmental fuel sources.
‘We’re never going to forget the men and women who dug the coal and built the nation. We’re going to do right by them, make sure they have opportunities to keep building the nation and their own communities and getting paid well,’ he said.
Biden Climate Plan
- Make climate change a national security priority
- Pause new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands or offshore waters
- Double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030
- Direct government to conserve 30% of all federal land and water by 2030
- Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law
- Establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative to create jobs
- Create a National Climate Task Force to assemble a government-wide action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Establishes a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council and White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council
- President Biden will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22
The orders kick off Biden’s drive to combat climate change, an issue area young Democratic voters and progressive activists pressed him on during the presidential campaign. It was one of the four areas he vowed to tackle at the start of his presidency along with COVID, the economy, and social injustice.
In his plan, Biden rejected the Green New Deal branding pushed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among others but his measures are certain to be attacked by Republicans as over-reach and he’s been accused of putting jobs at risk.
‘We will do everything we can to fight this executive order,’ Mike Sommers, the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, told CNN Business. ‘We will pursue every action at our disposal to push back, including legal options, if appropriate.’
Republicans called the plana job killer.
‘Pie-in-the-sky government mandates and directives that restrict our mining, oil, and gas industries adversely impact our energy security and independence,” GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee ,said.
‘At a time when millions are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing Americans need is big government destroying jobs, while costing the economy billions of dollars,” she said.
But Biden’s initiatives do parallel some of main points of the Green New Deal, mainly tackling climate change while addressing economic and racial injustice.
‘It’s almost as if we helped shape the platform,’ Ocasio-Cortez quipped on Twitter of Biden’s plan. She was part of a task force the merged Biden’s middle of the road policies with the wishes of progressives.
Among the provisions in the executive orders is a directive to the secretary of the Interior to pause new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands or offshore waters. It also directs the secretary to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030.
The orders are meant to fulfill Biden’s campaign promise to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and put the United States on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050.
Biden also directed federal agencies to ‘eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law,’ according to a White House fact sheet.
It’s unclear though which subsidies will be affected as tax breaks are a matter for Congress.
The oil and gas industry already noted their concern about Biden administration ‘s plans.
‘The first few days are giving us an indication of what the next four years could look like, and that’s elicited some real concern, within the industry and broadly, outside the industry,’ Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute told The Washington Post. ‘We’re going to communicate how impactful such a policy would be, to both the administration and on Capitol Hill.’
Biden’s climate plans also strengthen measures to protect poor and minority neighborhoods from pollution.
‘With this executive order, environmental justice will be at the center of all we do addressing the disproportionate health and environmental and economic impacts on communities of color, so called fenceline communities, especially those communities, brown, black Native American poor whites,’ Biden noted.
He pointed out poor air quality is increasing the risk of COVID.
‘It’s not just a pandemic that keeps people inside is poor air quality. Multiple studies have shown that air pollution is associated with an increased risk of death from COVID-19,’ the president said.
And the orders direct the government to conserve 30 percent of all federal land and water by 2030; create a National Climate Task Force to assemble a government-wide action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; establish a White House interagency council on environmental justice; establish a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative ‘to put a new generation of Americans to work’; and make climate change a national security priority.
‘Our plans are ambitious. But we are America. We’re bold and are unwavering in the pursuit of jobs and innovation and science and discovery. We can do this, we must do this and we will do this,’ Biden said.
White House Climate Czar John Kerry and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy argued Biden’s climate plans will result in jobs
Among the orders is a directive to the secretary of the Interior to pause new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands or offshore waters
Biden is focusing attention on how the poorest communities are often hardest hit by environmental issues from industry, landfill or climate change
Ahead of the signing, White House Climate Czar John Kerry and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy previewed the president’s argument that the climate plan will result in jobs.
‘It is now cheaper to deal with the crisis of climate than destroy it,’ Kerry said of why the administration was pushing this now as it combats COVID and tries to improve the economy.
He argued there were jobs for workers in the solar and wind energy – positions that could be filled by oil and gas workers who lost their jobs.
‘Unfortunately workers have been fed a false narrative, no surprise, for the last four years’ about the shift to clean energy, Kerry said. ‘They’ve been fed that somehow dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it’s not.’
He and McCarthy, who joined Wednesday’s White House press briefing, repeatedly pushed the job message as they advocated for tougher environmental policies.
‘When we say climate change eventually, people are going to think jobs just like President Biden, when he hears the words climate change,’ McCarthy said.
‘In terms of the job issue, we’re explicitly doing this because right now our economy is stagnant,’ she noted.
Biden already has taken a series of actions to combat climate change – a dramatic reversal from the policies under former President Donald Trump.
On his first day as president, he signed the papers for the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord after Trump removed the country from the climate agreement.
He also revoked a key cross-border presidential permit needed to finish the controversial Keystone XL pipeline – a move that angered Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ended the $8 billion pipeline.
Biden also created a climate czar position – adding it to the National Security Council – that is held by John Kerry.
Biden will also host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.
Some Democrats said Biden should do more, including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who called on the president to declare a national emergency.
‘President Biden should consider the declaration of a national emergency on climate change,’ Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.
‘It would allow President Biden to tap additional resources,’ he pointed out.
Biden already enacted a series of climate initiatives – including returning the United States to the Paris Climate Accord and ending construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline
President Biden made climate change a national security issue; he talks about his plans in the State Dining Room of the White House as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, left, and Vice President Kamala Harris listen
Biden stopped short of endorsing the controversial Green New Deal – a set of progressive ideas that called for trillions of dollars in spending on green initiatives and for the elimination of greenhouse gas pollution by 2015.
Instead, he came with his own plan – a more central approach that had some liberals grumbling it wasn’t enough while garnering fire from the oil and gas industry, who complained his plan would result in lost jobs and revenue.
He brought his climate team in the administration, although he did nominate Rep. Deb Haaland to lead the Interior Department. She was a co-sponsor of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s Green New Deal.
Biden’s campaign climate plan infuriated the oil industry and became a battle cry in the key swing state of Pennsylvania, where fracking is a major industry. Biden ultimately won the state but Donald Trump repeatedly criticized him on the issue during the campaign in one of his more effective tactics against Biden.
Wednesday’s plan does not ban fracking but does halt any new leases. Federal land accounts for less than a quarter of total U.S. oil production and much less for natural gas.
‘And let me be clear because I know it’s always comes up. We’re not going to ban fracking. We will protect jobs and grow jobs, including through stronger standards like controls from methane leaks and union workers and willing to install the changes,’ Biden said in announcing his climate plans.
The top three House Republicans, joined by 17 others, sent a letter to Biden on Tuesday warning him against suspending federal oil and gas auctions.
Taking such a step ‘would be as extreme as it is radical, and it would only further divide the country. It would put Americans with good-paying jobs in the energy industry out of work. And, it would seem to conflict directly with federal law.’
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