Biden climate team’s foes: Time, politics and bureaucracy
The effects of climate change were already apparent in 2016 when Donald Trump, then president-elect, introduced his team of nominees to lead energy and environmental policies and help “unleash” American fossil energy industries.
Now, four years and more than a hundred rollbacks of energy, transportation and environmental rules later, an even warmer planet spawning evermore devastating hurricanes and record-setting wildfires awaits President-elect Joe Biden’s team.
Biden finalized what he called his “climate team” last week: Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., for Interior secretary, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for Energy secretary, North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan for EPA administrator and Brenda Mallory to chair the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House agency.
The group, joined by international climate adviser John Kerry and domestic aides Gina McCarthy and Ali Zaidi, who both worked in the Obama administration, faces the daunting task of reining in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, re-engaging foreign leaders on environmental issues, restoring and revising climate-related regulations eliminated or weakened by the Trump administration, nudging along climate legislation in Congress and doing it all in the midst of an economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It showed it’s a high priority for the administration to engage around the different corners of climate, whether it’s at Interior or inside the White House or in the Cabinet,” Heather Reams, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a right-leaning clean energy group, said of the rollout. “This is clustered together in a way to tell a story.”
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