Fri, 26 Feb 2021

Biden Targeting Climate Change Using Executive Orders

Voice of America
28 Jan 2021, 04:05 GMT+10

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Joe Biden is signing a series of actions Wednesday to combat climate change, saying they will restore "scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking" across the American government.

The new U.S. leader, a week into his four-year presidency, said his executive orders would allow the U.S. to achieve "a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and puts the United States on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050."

The White House said Biden would sign a memorandum on scientific integrity to "protect scientists from political interference and ensure they can think, research, and speak freely to provide valuable information and insights to the American people."

Additionally, Biden is re-establishing the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, a panel that former President Donald Trump had left vacant for much of his White House tenure.

The White House, ahead of Biden signing his executive order, said he intends to consider combating climate change as an "essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security."

"The United States will exercise its leadership to promote a significant increase in global ambition," the White House said. It said Biden's climate change order "makes clear that both significant short-term global emission reductions and net zero global emissions by mid-century - or before - are required to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory."

Biden, shortly after his January 20 inauguration, announced his intention for the U.S. to rejoin the 2016 international Paris climate change pact and has named former Secretary of State John Kerry, the losing Democratic presidential candidate in the 2004 election, to serve as his climate envoy.

Kerry was the top U.S. diplomat during the crafting of the Paris climate agreement, which Trump withdrew the U.S. from.

The steps Biden is expected to take include a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on U.S. lands and waters, and regulatory actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also will include directing officials to set aside more areas for conservation and establishing a White House office to serve low-income and minority communities that disproportionately suffer from air and water pollution.

In addition, Biden is directing government agencies to buy "carbon pollution-free electricity and clean, zero-emission vehicles to create good-paying, union jobs and stimulate clean energy."

Biden is planning for the U.S. to host a summit of climate change leaders in April.

While Biden's order demanding attention to climate change could win support among progressive Democrats, major U.S. industries, including automakers and energy producers, have often resisted tighter regulations mandating pollution curbs.

As the U.S. attempts to curb its use of coal as an energy source in favor of cleaner, renewable fuels, coal-mining states have voiced opposition and mine workers left without jobs, leaving their communities impoverished.

Congressional lawmakers have often deadlocked while trying to write and enact further environmental controls in the U.S., while industries have often sued to try to block restrictions that have been imposed.

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