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We can no longer wait to resolve the climate crisis

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President Joe Biden signed executive orders in the most ambitious U.S. effort to stave off the worst of climate change to transform the nation’s heavily fossil-fuel-powered economy into a clean-burning one, pausing oil and gas leasing on federal land and targeting subsidies for those industries.

In the next 10 years, the directives plan to protect 30 percent of the country’s lands and oceans, double the nation’s offshore wind resources and, among other improvements, switch to an all-electric federal vehicle fleet. The sweeping initiative of Biden is aimed at staving off the worst global warming caused by fossil fuel burning.

But his campaign also brings political risk for the president and Democrats, as oil and coal-producing states face job losses from efforts to sharply increase U.S. dependency on renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

“We can’t wait any longer” to fix the climate crisis, Biden said at the White House on Wednesday. With our own eyes, we see. In our bones, we know it. It is time for action.

He said his directives would “supercharge the ambitious plan of our administration to face the existential threat of climate change.”

Biden has set a goal of eliminating emissions from fossil fuels in the power sector by 2035 and from the U.S. economy as a whole by 2050, speeding up the growth of solar and wind energy already powered by the market and reducing the reliance of the country on oil and gas. The goal of the ambitious initiative is to delay global warming caused by humans, which magnifies severe weather events such as deadly wildfires in the West and drenching rains and hurricanes in the East.

Recognizing the political risk, Biden repeatedly stated that his approach would create jobs in the renewable energy and automotive sectors to offset any oil, coal or natural gas losses.

“I think of jobs when I think of climate change and the answers to it,” Biden said. “These are not visions of pie-in-the-sky. There are concrete ideas that are actionable. And we know how this can be achieved.

Biden also directs agencies to concentrate assistance and investment on the low-income and minority communities that reside closest to polluting refineries and other hazards, and the oil and coal-patch cities that face job losses as the U.S. continues to sharply increase its reliance on wind, solar and other energy sources that do not emit climate

Biden vowed to create “millions of good-paying, union jobs,” building electric vehicles, installing solar panels and wind turbines, and carrying out specialised work to cap abandoned wells, reclaim mine-scarred property, and transform old manufacturing sites “into new economic growth hubs.”

Even so, the initiative was denounced immediately by Republicans as a job killer.

“The mandates and directives of the Pie-in-the-Sky government that restrict our mining, oil and gas industries adversely affect our energy security and independence,” said Washington State Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Biden is also raising the atmosphere of warming to a national security concern, guiding intelligence agencies, the military, and others to do more to prepare for the increased risks. As part of Biden’s campaign promise for a $2 trillion initiative to slow global warming, the conservation plan will set aside millions of acres for recreation, biodiversity and environment efforts by 2030.

President Donald Trump, who mocked climate change research, withdrawn the U.S. from the global climate agreement in Paris, opened more public lands to the development of coal, gas and oil, and weakened fossil fuel pollution regulations. Experts warn these pollutants dangerously heat the Earth’s atmosphere and make floods, droughts and other natural disasters worse.

Actually, 61 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from natural gas and coal, 20 percent from nuclear energy, and 17 percent from wind, solar, and other renewable energy. Administration for Energy Knowledge says.

Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb said that “if this momentum of Day 7 is representative of the four-year term of this administration, there is every reason to believe that carbon neutrality could be achieved earlier than 2050,” even though main roadblocks lie ahead.

The acts of Biden came as his candidate for energy secretary, former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, faced intense criticism from Republicans as she attempted to pitch the vision of the president for a green economy.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a leading republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said, “The last Democratic administration went on a regulatory rampage to slow or stop energy production.” I will not sit idly by… If the Biden administration introduces policies that undermine the economy of Wyoming.

As a response to jobs that would be lost as the U.S. turns away from fossil fuels, Granholm, whose state was ravaged by the 2008 recession, advocated new renewable energy technology, such as battery production.

“Former Secretary of State John Kerry, now Biden’s climate envoy, said that “the oil, gas and coal workers have been fed a false storey” that “somehow, it comes at their expense to cope with the climate. No, it doesn’t. Owing to other market forces already taking place, what’s happening to them is happening.

A miner will have a happier future as a solar power technician instead of a potential black lung illness, Kerry said. The same people will do those jobs, but it’s a smarter option to opt to do solar power now.

The oil industry has said that reducing domestic production would lead to a rise in imports of petroleum.

Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said, “I don’t think any American wants to go back to the days of being held hostage by foreign entities that don’t have the best interest of America at heart when we lose American energy leadership.”

Sommers and other leaders in the industry cautioned that hundreds of thousands of jobs and vital funding could be lost by states. Almost one-third of the state budget in New Mexico comes from oil and gas, said Ryan Flynn, president of the Oil and Gas Association of New Mexico.

After the Trump administration slowed permit review of some giant offshore wind turbine projects, Biden’s order to double energy output from offshore wind arrives. Significantly, it orders the reduction of expenditures by organisations that serve as subsidies to the fossil fuel industries.

The pause in onshore leasing is confined to federal land and does not concern private land drilling, which is primarily state-regulated. Also, current leases will not be impacted and companies that stockpiled ample drilling permits in Trump’s final months to enable them to keep pumping oil and gas for years may be further blunted.

The order exempts tribal lands that are used for energy extraction, mostly in the West.

Biden has instructed U.S. agencies to use research and evidence-based decision-making in federal laws and declared on Earth Day, April 22, a U.S.-hosted climate leaders’ summit.

 

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