Biden unveils environment team tasked with tackling 'existential threat'

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Dec 20, 2020, 08:09 AM(IST)

Joe Biden Photograph:( Reuters )

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Biden, a Democrat who will be inaugurated on January 20, has vowed to make tackling climate change a top priority.

US President-elect Joe Biden has introduced key members of his environmental team -- tasked with fighting against global warming in what can be called a pillar of his drive to rebuild the pandemic-hit US economy.

Biden, a Democrat who will be inaugurated on January 20, has vowed to make tackling climate change a top priority. But with a slim majority in the House of Representatives and control of the Senate still undecided, his agenda may see little success in Congress and instead rely on rules from his regulatory agencies to enact sweeping change.

The nominees introduced Saturday include Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico to be Interior Secretary -- the first Native American to hold a Cabinet position.

Biden said these nominees would lead his administration's ambitious plan to address an existential threat of our time -- climate change.

"Folks, we're in a crisis," Biden said at the event in Wilmington, Delaware. "Just like we need to be a unified nation to respond to Covid-19, we need a unified national response to climate change."

Biden said his administration would work to modernise water, transportation and energy infrastructure to make it better equipped to resist extreme weather conditions -- and create many jobs along the way.

Biden also said he wanted to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and 1.5 million energy-efficient homes and public housing units.

The president-elect repeated he would rejoin the Paris climate accord, which outgoing president Donald Trump abandoned, and restore a slew of Obama-era environmental regulations.

Biden's team includes Gina McCarthy, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency administrator, to lead a new White House Office of Climate Policy.

He has also tapped Michael Regan, North Carolina's top environmental regulator, to run the Environmental Protection Agency and Brenda Mallory, an environmental attorney, to direct the Council on Environmental Quality. 

Biden's Cabinet will feature six African Americans.

Michael Regan would become the first Black man to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if confirmed by the Senate. Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will be Biden's energy secretary if confirmed.

"Today's nominees are ready on day one, which is essential because we literally have no time to waste," Biden said.

Biden wants the United States to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which would require the world's second-largest emitter to transform its economy including transportation, power generation and farming.

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