During his 2020 campaign, while the shape of the world changed in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, President Joe Biden made promises to spend $2 trillion over his first four-year term on efforts to slow the United States’ contribution to global warming, and to convert the country to renewable energy. They’re big promises. And halfway through his first hundred days in office, President Biden has already taken some major steps in that direction.
On his very first day in office, he drafted orders to begin a massive review of the rollbacks on environmental regulation enacted by his predecessor. For instance, in 2017 the Trump Administration issued an executive order to every federal agency to dismantle all policies related to climate change. President Biden reversed that decision less than six hours after he took his oath of office. He also reversed another 2017 executive order which removed important restrictions on fossil fuel projects like offshore fuel production and pipelines.
He rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and met with other global leaders to push for more ambitious environmental goals worldwide. Those discussions on how to slow climate change are ongoing. He also scheduled an international climate change summit for April 22.
“The convening of this summit is essential to ensuring that 2021 is going to be the year that really makes up for the lost time of the last four years,” said John Kerry, Biden’s international climate envoy.
President Biden established that climate change and environmental health would be a core facet of all foreign policy and national security decisions under his administration. His EPA appointee, Michael Regan, has sworn to make global environmental justice a key part of his decisions within U.S. policy.
There is one campaign promise he has not yet fulfilled, however: there is no budget in the latest $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package for environmental matters. Investment in environmental issues as a part of the stimulus could have generated jobs in a time when they’re sorely needed, while ensuring that the restructured economy which will emerge from this crisis is greener from its very birth.
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