Statement from Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

(NEW YORK – Jan. 27, 2021) President Joe Biden took significant action today to combat the climate crisis, building on the steps he took his first day in office.

“President Biden’s bold and decisive action today again makes clear he is serious about restoring and strengthening American leadership on climate solutions. The administration’s commitment to rapidly cut climate pollution, create good jobs now and in the future, and build healthier communities — especially communities of color unfairly burdened by pollution — demonstrates significant progress in the fight to protect our climate.

“In particular, the Biden administration’s actions to take a whole-of-government approach to climate change, prioritize environmental justice as an integral part of climate policy and return to science-based decision making signal the U.S. will lead on strong, inclusive climate action. They will also make climate change central to U.S. foreign policy, and ensure that federal agencies address the national security threats posed by our warming planet. President Biden can continue this strong leadership by setting a nationally determined contribution to the Paris Agreement in the range of 50% emissions cuts below 2005 levels by 2030. 

“For too long, our government not only accepted, but contributed to environmental injustice. President Biden is showing strong leadership by focusing the resources and attention of the federal government on the environmental injustices faced daily by many people of color and low-income Americans. These frontline communities who, as a result of discrimination in housing, zoning and economic opportunity, are more likely to live near power plants, incinerators, ports, factories and other hubs of toxic pollution, have been especially put at risk as pollution rules were ignored or unenforced under the Trump administration. Fortunately, with today’s orders President Biden seeks to not only repair this damage, but to prevent future injustices and build back better. 

“By establishing an Interagency Working Group to revitalize coal and other fossil fuel communities, President Biden is taking critical action to ensure that these communities are not left behind in the clean energy transition — and receive the investments and support they need to harness new economic opportunities.

“President Biden’s announcement that the federal government will lead by example by prioritizing buying zero emitting cars and trucks and clean power is a strong market signal that will create American jobs, reduce air pollution and health disparities, and lead to important reductions in climate pollution. 

“President Biden’s temporary moratorium on new leases on federal lands is a sensible policy that buys us time to ensure drilling does not derail our path toward a clean energy economy. 

“Conserving 30% of the U.S. by 2030 is an ambitious goal to protect America’s lands, water and wildlife — and if done well can provide durable and equitable benefits to people, biodiversity and habitats. 

“The focus on bringing back scientific integrity into policymaking via the Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum and the re-establishment of the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology are all important and a much needed reversal over the last four years. Ensuring that strong science underpins all of the work of the federal government is critical to meeting the many serious challenges we face. Reinstating the centrality of science and the prominent role of scientific advisors to the work of government and the need to protect the integrity of the processes used to bring science to bear is fundamental to meeting our climate goals and ultimately protecting the health and well-being of Americans with more vulnerabilities.

“After four years of President Trump, the Biden administration knows we need to do much more than turn the clock back to 2016. We need to leap ahead with bold steps to address the climate crisis and build healthier communities and a more equitable society. It is truly impressive to see the administration seize the opportunity to do just that.”