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  • Lauren Duhon

Hitting the Ground Running: One Month After the Inauguration

As promised throughout the campaign, the Biden administration started off with a list of actions in the fight against climate change.

Source: The White House

Sticking to the goal of ushering in climate policy in his first 100 days, no time was wasted in heeding the call.

Although not all of the actions were exclusive to climate action, President Joe Biden signed 17 executive orders in the first 24 hours alone, which marked more than several of his predecessors combined and further demonstrated his urgency.

To recap, some of President Biden’s campaign promises included the following:

One of his first notable executive actions was the revoking of a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that has been steeped in debate. Those in favor of the pipeline have praised its capacity to transfer crude oil, while opponents have worried about the environmental factors, along with other issues like infringing on native lands.

Another executive action entailed the halting of oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which previously had been protected for the sake of the environment, wildlife and the people who rely on both. The measure was overturned following former President Donald Trump’s actions, who officially opened these lands to be auctioned off to oil and gas drillers during his term.

Within the first month, several people have been confirmed to positions of power, including Jennifer Granholm as the Secretary of the Department of Energy and Michael Regan as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency. Still pending is the appointment of Rep. Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Department of the Interior, who would be the first Native American to lead the department.

More recently, the U.S. officially reentered the Paris Climate Agreement. Although the administration announced this on day one, the official agreement went into effect on Feb. 19. Being one of the world’s leading emitters of carbon emissions, it’s a big deal for the U.S. to reenter and to commit to emissions reductions.

Additionally, climate action has been at the forefront of many conversations. With other initiatives, like the creation of a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council and a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, there is momentum toward prioritizing the effects of climate change, not just on the planet but on the people most vulnerable.

Not only that, but the Department of Energy announced a funding opportunity of $100 million for research and development of transformative clean energy technology, OPEN 2021.

In support of the administration’s climate innovation agenda, this marked the first of billions of dollars of the Department of Energy’s research and development opportunities to be announced.

With these steps and more to come, the goal is set for the U.S. to continue on a pathway to take on climate change.