December 29. By Michael Sales. President-elect Biden has proposed an ambitious climate plan and assembled a talented team to turn the plan into reality. This suite of articles leads with a synopsis of the overall plan and provides profiles of the men and women who are supposed to hit the ground running to address the climate crisis starting at 2PM on January 20, 2021. For climate activists, this continues to be a time of great concern, but also a season for enthusiastic optimism.
In these write ups, we have:
- Synthesized Biden’s extensive climate plans.
- Profiled key members of Biden’s climate team:
- John Kerry, former U.S. senator and Secretary of State, to be international Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
- Gina McCarthy, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama, to be Biden’s domestic National Climate Advisor.
- Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan, nominated to be Secretary of Energy.
- Deb Haaland, Congresswoman from New Mexico, nominated to be Secretary of the Interior.
- Pete Buttigieg, former Presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, nominated to be Secretary of Transportation.
- Michael Regan, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, nominated to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Ali Zaidi, formerly a member of the Office of Management and Budget team under Obama, to be Gina McCarthy’s deputy.
- Brian Deese. Nominated to be Director of the National Economic Council.
Each of these individuals brings a powerful set of credentials, experience, and life stories to the roles they will be assuming. But they will be leading organizations of great size and complexity, at a time when our country faces unprecedent challenges. Biden’s climate plan is ambitious, and even more expansive proposals are in circulation. How will these good ideas and high-minded aspirations be achieved and funded? The administration will face opposition by the fossil fuel industry and political opponents, and the forces of inertia may slow the pace of change, even as climate conditions demand rapid action. Crises created by the changing climate itself and a wide variety of other priorities and problems may make it hard to keep the new administration’s eyes on the climate prize as 2021 and beyond unfold.
ECA Massachusetts will be monitoring these developments, and we’ll attempt to provide periodic summaries of progress and disappointments in the months ahead. But despite our apprehensions as this new chapter begins for our nation—which is both the world’s biggest economy and its second largest CO2 polluter—we are excited about the prospects for change. It’s about time!