Biden Set to Take Big Steps on Climate

Several executives actions expected Wednesday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2021 12:35 PM CST
Biden Set to Take Big Steps on Climate
President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Thursday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Biden is expected to make a big climate move Wednesday by halting oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waterways. The executive action, following a 60-day moratorium issued on Biden's first day in office, will order the Department of Interior to stop new oil and gas leasing "to the extent possible," fulfilling a Biden campaign promise. The department will also be directed to review existing practices "related to fossil fuel development," reports NPR, which points to a report that found 23.7% of the nation's total CO2 emissions are associated with the combustion and extraction of fossil fuels from federal lands. But the practices also infuse billions of dollars into local and state economies—something the oil and gas industry is expected to focus on. "We'll be in court shortly thereafter [Wednesday's announcement]," Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, tells NPR.

Biden will reveal other executive actions related to the environment and climate change on Wednesday. He'll reportedly order the DOI to conserve 30% of the country's land and waters by 2030, and to identify ways to double offshore wind production by the same date. He'll also order Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to evaluate the security implications of climate change; reestablish the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology; and form the National Climate Task Force, the White House environmental justice interagency council, the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, and the Civilian Climate Corps Initiative. The latter aims to put Americans to work in restoring public lands and waters, per CNN. In a statement, the Center for Biological Diversity argues this is the exact "kind of bold, urgent action" the country needs. (More environment stories.)

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