Quick Things President-elect Joe Biden Could Do for the Environment Once He Takes Office

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Nicole Welle | November 9, 2020

The AP announced Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner of the 2020 presidential race on Saturday, and the early days of his presidency will likely see a lot of positive climate action.

Biden campaigned on an ambitious climate platform, promising to spend $2 trillion during his first term on reducing fossil fuel emissions and converting to clean energy. Some of his more ambitious plans could be stalled if the senate remains in republican control, but his first days as president are likely to see a number of executive actions and strong pushes to put clean energy provisions into legislation, according to the New York Times.

Here are some actions Biden is likely to take during his first 100 days as president.

  1. Rejoin the Paris climate agreement

Biden has vowed to rejoin the Paris Agreement immediately after taking office. The United States officially withdrew from the agreement on November 4, over three years after Donald Trump first announced the move in June of 2017. However, the U.S. will be able to rejoin the agreement 30 days after Biden submits a formal letter to the UN. Biden also plans to assemble a “climate world summit” to press leaders of the world’s top industrial countries to more aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Reverse Trump’s executive orders

Biden will likely reverse most or all of the executive orders Trump signed that rolled back environmental regulations. This could include reinstating fuel economy standards, revoking the permit authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline project, and reversing Trump’s “America First” strategy that aimed at opening up U.S. waters to energy and gas drilling, according to a National Geographic article. Biden also promised to sign an executive order on his first day in office to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and waters by 2030.

3. Create an environmental justice advisory board

Environmental justice became a central part of Biden’s platform during his campaign. Addressing the effects of pollution and climate change on low-income and minority communities would involve a multi-step process, but Biden could quickly create an environmental justice advisory board tasked with coordinating decisive action and policies. These could include establishing pollution monitoring in vulnerable communities and creating mapping tools to better understand current disparities.

4. Add clean energy to coronavirus relief

Biden is likely to add clean energy provisions to any new economic stimulus measures he puts before congress. These could include funding clean energy research and development, supporting continued renewable energy expansion for states, and extending tax credits for renewable energy industries.

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