Statement: Biden Plans Ambitious Day One To Tackle The Climate Crisis And Invest In Clean Energy Jobs

Washington, D.C. – Hours before his inauguration as president, Joe Biden announced plans to reestablish America’s global leadership by addressing the climate crisis and took steps to swiftly reverse four years of rollbacks to environmental, public health, and scientific protections.

“This is our climate moment and President Biden understands we must meet this challenge with the bold, decisive action that both science and the American people are demanding,” said Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes. “Today’s executive orders will have real, meaningful impacts on the lives of people across the country, especially frontline communities that have borne the brunt of environmental racism for decades, and especially, the last four years. In addition to restoring critical health and environmental safeguards and protecting our nation’s most important natural treasures, today’s actions will form a strong foundation for President Biden’s all-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis. We can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Today’s executive orders will serve as a down payment toward fulfilling his pledge to take bold action to combat the climate crisis.

Here are some of the ways today’s executive actions will improve the economies and the health of frontline communities across the country: 

  • Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement: Biden can reduce emissions and improve air quality by rejoining this landmark climate agreement. Rejoining the accord would also safeguard our economy from the cost of climate change, as the U.S.’s continued inaction comes with a $698.77 billion price tag annually. Reducing emissions would save lives as air pollution is responsible for at least 7 million deaths per year.
  • Protecting Our Nation’s Public Lands: By taking steps to conserve the country’s public lands, Biden can stabilize ecosystems and biodiversity, secure critical water resources, and improve public health by ensuring access to nature (which has been shown to help with depression, anxiety, and obesity – all of which has risen to unprecedented levels during the pandemic). This move would also create an economic boom in rural communities that continue to struggle with a downturned economy as outdoor recreation accounts for $887 billion in consumer spending annually and creates 7.6 million sustainable jobs.
  • Reviving Energy Efficiency Standards: Biden can strengthen efficiency standards for buildings and appliances which would bolster the economy and reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 50% by 2050. By updating energy efficiency standards for just 47 common consumer products, the average American household could save more than $100 per year in 2030. Improving these standards can create new clean energy jobs: Existing energy efficiency standards that Trump rolled back helped support 300,000 jobs in 2016, and reversing course would help spur new economic growth.
  • Protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Taking action to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would protect the habitat for over 700 plant and animal species and preserve the traditional way of life for Native people like the Gwich’in.
  • Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline: Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline would protect the land, water, and air of those who live along its route from pollution and from the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet – tar sands. Stopping the construction of the pipeline will also be a boon to family farmers who’ve long opposed the project as it threatens their farms and water supplies. Alongside being an environmental disaster, Keystone XL is not the job creator once promised – in fact, PolitiFact found that it will result in fewer than 50 long-term jobs.
  • Reducing Methane Pollution: Biden could greatly improve the health of frontline communities by implementing aggressive methane pollution standards for new oil and gas operations. Studies have shown that air pollution near fracking sites has resulted in rural areas having worse smog levels than downtown Los Angeles and that the chemicals leaking from rural gas wells can cause serious health issues like cancer and birth defects. As a whole, this air pollution stemming from the oil and gas industry causes nearly 2,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.