Climate Action

The Biden-Harris Administration has been proactive on climate action from Day One with hundreds of executive orders and agency actions.  In addition, Democrats have passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) and the CHIPS Act – all of which implement historic actions on climate change. Further, each executive action, agency action and piece of legislation builds on the other. For example, IRA will make electric vehicles (EV) cheaper and invest in solar and renewables; IIJA will build a national EV charger network and clean energy transmission grid; and the CHIPS Act will provide key components for solar devices and EVs.


What Have the Biden-Harris Administration and Dems Done?

  • Passed the Inflation Reduction Act – the single largest investment in climate change action ever and the single biggest investment ever made in climate change in the world which will reduce CO2 emissions 40% by 2030 – just 7 years!
  • Passed the American Rescue Plan which implemented infrastructure improvements combating climate change.
  • Passed the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act which will build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers, invest in EVs and solar, and upgrade our power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy.
  • Passed the CHIPS Act which will provide key components for electric vehicles (EVs) and solar.
  • Implemented hundreds of executive orders and agency actions that will create clean energy jobs, provide low-cost solar energy to families, increase clean energy access, train and develop a clean energy workforce, reduce energy costs, mitigate climate change impact nationally and globally, preserve our natural resources (lakes, forests, oceans, national parks), partner with other countries to combat climate change, and invest in clean energy technology.
  • Appointed Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA under President Obama, as the first-ever National Climate Advisor and head of the White House Climate Policy.
  • Convened the first-ever National Climate Task Force.

What Have the Biden-Harris Administration and Dems Done?

 

Legislative Actions

      • Passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This is the single largest investment in climate change action ever and the single biggest investment ever made in climate change in the world. IRA’s $369B investment in funding for clean energy and climate action will reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 (below 2005 levels). These investments will reduce US dependence on oil and significantly lower energy costs for consumers. The IRA will also:
          • Give the EPA back its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions after SCOTUS’ WV vs. EPA decision in June 2022. By adding an amendment to the Clean Air Act into Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act that defines CO2 as an air pollutant, Dems did an end-run around SCOTUS’ horrendous decision.
          • Create 9M clean energy jobs. It is estimated by economists at the Univ. of Massachusetts and BlueGreen Alliance that the IRA will generate 9M high-paying jobs over the next 10 years with close to 1M in “clean manufacturing” (e.g. wind turbines, retooling factories and producing electric vehicles), nearly doubling the current 13M U.S. manufacturing jobs.
          • Establish incentives for companies producing clean energy projects in “energy communities” such as West Virginia.
          • Provide tax credits to incentivize consumers and companies away from fossil fuels (oil, coal) toward clean energy. Transportation and electricity generation are two of the heaviest polluting components of the economy. IRA provides financial incentives to buy electric cars, electric HVAC systems, and other forms of cleaner technology, reducing emissions. Incentives for companies will also encourage manufacturing with clean energy technology. These tax breaks will reduce the consumer costs of solar, wind, batteries, cars, heat pumps, and other clean technology.
              • Ex: For electric cars, consumers would receive a tax credit of $7,500 per new vehicle and $4K for a used vehicle until 2032, (this may vary depending on where the batteries were manufactured and income limits).
              • Ex: IRA also provides a $9B home energy rebate program for retrofits and electrifying home appliances; $1K will be used to make public housing more energy-efficient.
          • Set and enforces methane limits on oil and gas companies. Methane is 86X more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon over a 20-year period, and it is emitted in oil and gas production. If these companies emit above the methane limits, penalty fees will be imposed. A royalty fee will also be imposed on all methane extracted from public lands.
          • Prioritize environmental justice. IRA will fund $60B in clean energy and emissions reductions specifically for low-income and disadvantaged communities. Community groups, governments, and tribes can also qualify for $3B in block grants for EJ programs (e.g. cleaning up abandoned mines, monitoring air quality, and improving extreme weather resilience). IRA also has $3B to restore and reconnect communities that are divided by highways.
          • Reduce industrial pollution by incentivizing energy efficiency at industrial sites to reduce their fossil fuel footprint.
          • And so much more! This is an excellent summary on the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate change actions. And if anyone is saying the IRA is not significant and substantive, they need to read this overview.
    • Passed the American Rescue Plan which implemented infrastructure improvements combating climate change. ARP will reduce energy costs and tackle climate change through updating building codes to make structures more energy-efficient, including advanced insulation designs to keep temperatures season-appropriate, modern construction techniques to protect against extreme flooding, and raising standards for cutting carbon emissions. The $225M investment is expected to lower electricity costs by approximately $138B over a span of 30 years. See more details in What A Difference A Democratic Congress Makes.
    • Passed the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. IIJA will build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers, invest in EVs and solar, upgrade our power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy, improve public transportation and adds bike lanes to keep cyclists safe, clean up Superfund and brownfield pollution sites and make our infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events. See more details in What A Difference A Democratic Congress Makes.
    • Passed the CHIPS Act which will provide key components for EVs and solar.

President Biden’s Executive Actions and Agency Actions

 

Prioritized Climate Action in the Biden-Harris Administration Across Agencies

    • Appointed Gina McCarthy, former head of the EPA under President Obama, as the first-ever National Climate Advisor and head of the White House Climate Policy.
    • Convened the first-ever National Climate Task Force. The task force includes Cabinet-level leaders from 21 federal agencies and senior White House officials to kickstart the Biden-Harris Administration’s implementation of a whole-of-government approach to tackling climate change, creating good-paying, union jobs, and achieving environmental justice.

Transitioning Homes and Jobs to Clean Energy

    • Issued Executive Orders Expanding Access to Clean Energy – Biden’s July 2022 EOs included:
      • Connecting families to low-cost solar power. The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued new guidance that will enable families in HUD-assisted housing to subscribe to local solar where available, permitting 4.5M families to benefit from community solar power and save 10-50% on power each year.
      • Connecting states to low-cost solar power. Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Washington, D.C. have signed up to pilot DOE’s and HHS’ Community Solar Subscription Platform. This platform will connect community solar projects to households participating in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This is expected to result in $1B annually in combined electric bill savings.
      • Empowering rural housing authorities. HUD will launch a new initiative helping rural housing authorities make energy efficient upgrades and retain the savings from those projects to reinvest in improvements to rural HUD-supported housing.
      • Strengthening America’s solar workforce. DOE will invest $10M in the Workforce Partnerships program to support new programs expanding union density and increasing participation of underserved and underrepresented groups in the solar industry. This funding will ensure hundreds of thousands of solar jobs created in the next decade are accessible to workers from all backgrounds, provide competitive wages and benefits, and offer opportunities for union membership.

Mitigating Climate Change

    • Developed strategies to reduce wildfire risk: The Forest Service has a 10-year strategy to reduce wildfire risk through science-based fuels and forest treatments for 50 million acres across federal and non-federal lands. The Department of the Interior has a 5-year plan to monitor, maintain, and treat fire-prone land on federally-owned and tribal lands.
    • Invested in removing CO2 from the air. DOE has invested in building four direct-air capture hubs which will each be capable of removing over a million tons of CO2 per year (equivalent to 200K less cars on the road).
    • Launched the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) to assist developing countries with climate change.
    • Instituted net-zero emission goals for federal buildings and vehicles.
    • Established new rules to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons 85% by 2036, slowing temperature rise by 0.5°C.
    • Implemented strong vehicle emission standards: Fuel efficiency standards for cars and light-trucks was raised from 43/mpg to 55/mpg by 2026, which will reduce CO2 emissions by billions and result in $190B net-benefits in pollution reduction, public health and consumer savings.
    • Proposed new rules to reduce NOx emissions from new trucks 90% by 2031 via the EPA.
    • Proposed rules requiring stronger climate disclosures for public companies via the Securities and Exchange Commission.
    • Released climate plans for the US Army and Navy to reduce emissions by 50% and 65% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050.

Preserving Forests, Lakes, Everglades, National Parks and Oceans

    • Committed to conserving 30% of US lands and oceans by 2030.
    • Combatting local and global deforestation. The Biden-Harris Administration has made significant investments in cooperative forestry programs and reforestation projects across state, municipal, and privately-owned forest landscapes to reduce carbon emissions and provide local jobs. It has also committed to delivering on international goals to end natural forest loss by 2030 and restore at least 200 million hectares of forests and other ecosystems.
    • Restored full protections to national parks, monuments and Tribal Lands. This effort includes Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, re-imposing fishing restrictions in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean, and protecting Tongass National Forest from development, mining, and logging.
    • Enlisted nature-based solutions to address the climate crisis. An interagency working group, reporting to the National Climate Task Force, is exploring nature-based solutions to address extreme heat, drought, wildfire, flood, and coastal threats. This is part of Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative.
    • Invested $2.1B in the restoration of the Everglades and Great Lakes.
    • Revoked the Keystone XL Pipeline Permit.
    • Restored state and Tribal authority to block pipeline projects.
    • Signed an executive order to protect old growth trees.
    • Committed to planting 1.2B trees over the next 10 years, as a result of the REPLANT Act.

Investing in Clean Energy Technology

    • Invested in green energy and electric vehicles. After working with President Biden, SK Group — one of the largest companies in South Korea — will invest $22B into American semiconductors, green energy, and bioscience projects. This comes in tandem with the Administration’s investment and commitment to invest $100s of billions in EVs and green tech.
    • Authorized the Department of Energy to accelerate the production of clean energy technologies using the Defense Production Act. The five key areas of energy technologies include: solar, transformers and electric grid components, heat pumps, insulation, and electrolyzers, fuel cells, and platinum group metals. The DPA’s invokement will allow the Administration to lower energy costs for families, strengthen national security, and achieve lasting American energy independence through the reduction of fossil fuel use.
    • Launched an offshore wind energy industry.
    • Launched a national network of 500K electric vehicle chargers along highways and in communities funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
    • Made historic Investments in clean energy storage, clean hydrogen, carbon removal technology and fusion.
    • Ordered all government agencies to halt the financing of international carbon-intensive fossil fuel projects.
    • Ended financing for overseas coal and carbon-intensive energy projects.
    • Established the first “Green Trade Deal” between the US and EU to incentivize trade of low carbon steel.
    • Accelerated the review process for clean energy projects on federal lands.
    • Provided billions in clean energy transmission loans.
    • Provided over $30B to public transit to maintain services and reduce the number of vehicles on roads.
    • Created the civil nuclear credit program to support financially-struggling nuclear power plans and boost carbon-free electricity options.
    • Rejoined the Paris Climate Accords.
    • Partnered with the EU to establish the global methane pledge to reduce methane emissions 30% by 2030. Over 100 countries have signed.
    • Launched US-Caribbean Partnership to address the climate crisis 2030 (PACC 2030).
    • Launched Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean (RELAC) initiative.
    • Joined 100K Strong in the Americans Climate Initiative (CLIMA). The organization builds region-wide alliances between industries, governments, and higher education institutions to catalyze climate action and develop the next generation of clean energy developers.
    • Required federal agencies to consider climate-related financial risk in policies.
    • Restored California’s authority to set tailpipe emission rules.
    • Established the first ever Office of Environmental Justice in the Department of Health and Human Services to address the health impacts of climate change and pollution on communities of color.
    • Eased regulations and accelerated approval processes to build transmission lines necessary for the clean energy grid.
    • Invested approximately $190B in a myriad of environmental initiatives. These projects include public transit, low- and no-emission busses, the EPA’s Clean School Bus program, clean water projects (ex: lead pipe removals), environmental remediation, new rails, clean power grids and clean hydrogen hubs, carbon capture hubs, battery manufacturing supply chains, and state carbon emission initiatives.

LAST UPDATED ON SEPTEMBER 20TH, 2022