Despite this hugely encouraging change of direction, despite these first steps, Biden rejected the demand from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to declare the climate crisis a national emergency because it certainly does. Biden should reconsider his opposition. "I think it might be a good idea for President Biden to call for a climate emergency," said Schumer. "Then, under the emergency powers of the president, he can do many, many things that he could do … without legislation."
Executive orders, as we saw in the Trump regime, can have a big impact. But they can be turned around by a future president, and while important, they are not enough to accomplish all that is necessary. And Congress, still full of climate science deniers and other lawmakers who don't deny the scientific consensus but have been fighting the climate for years, is going to be a major drag on legislation despite the fact that Democrats in the EU are responsible Senate.
This is especially true of investing in federal funds to achieve the necessary reshaping of our transportation, agricultural, and energy systems from reliance on the burning of fossil fuels, which also burn the planet. This opposition, if the Congress Democrats cannot overcome it, could eventually induce Biden to follow Schumer's good advice.
Implementing regulations enacted today include commissioning Avril Haines, the newly appointed director of national intelligence, to prepare the country's first national intelligence assessment on climate change.
Biden also imposes a one-year freeze on new federal oil and gas leases. The immediate impact on greenhouse gas emissions will be relatively small. For one, companies have stockpiled leases, with 26 million acres of public land currently leased, although the vast majority of it is not being drilled. However, litigation is expected under the centuries-old Minerals Leasing Act, which mandates the leasing of oil, gas, and coal on public land. "I suspect there will be litigation if an attempt is made to cancel all future oil and gas sales," Mark Squillace, a law professor who served in the Home Office during the Clinton administration, told E&E News.
It is possible to achieve net zero emissions in the electricity sector in 15 years, but it will be a huge effort. A report published in December Princeton University researchers – "Net-Zero America: Possible Paths, Infrastructure, and Impact" – identified possible pathways for this transition. "Reshaping our national energy infrastructure … will not be easy," said Jesse Jenkins. One of Princeton analysts reported at the Steering Committee meeting of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). "The good news is that we seem to have the tools. It's technically feasible." The Princeton study estimates the nation will need to add an average of 60,000 megawatts of wind and solar power per year for a decade to meet its carbon targets, almost double what it did in 2020.
Another implementing ordinance issued today provides for an "initiative of the civilian climate corps" which is committed to the restoration of public areas and waters and the fight against climate change. This is a modern version of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the Great Depression, a reinvention recently proposed by some legislators in Congress. The original CCC provided employment and training to 3 million Americans between 1933 and 1942.
In a statement, National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O & # 39; Mara said: "What better way to get millions of Americans to work and rebuild better than our forests, meadows, and wetlands Restoring coastal areas to increase resilience and sequester carbon? " and endangered wildlife populations through a revitalized Civilian Conservation Corps of the 21st century and a commitment to restore 30 percent of our land and waters by 2030? "
Just a week after taking the oath, President Biden gave Climate Falcons and other environmental officials good reason to rejoice on Wednesday, even though some things – like the repetition that he will not stop fracking – caused gritted teeth in some areas. With such exceptions, the Biden-Harris team is strongly steering us on the right path to address the climate crisis with a comprehensive transformation of our economy and environment.
This is a huge shift after 30 years of handicap and Dilly-Dally by lawmakers in both parties. Grassroots climate activists still have a big job ahead of them to expand, improve and meet the goals set by the White House. And that will mean a tough, ongoing battle with some of the same enemies whose past actions have put us in the difficult climatic circumstances we find ourselves in. We can do it. We must.