Biden’s 1st Moves on Energy, Environment and Climate

Rejoining the Paris Agreement, revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and reversing rollbacks are just some actions taken by the new administration.
Image by photoshopper24 via Pixabay

President Joe Biden’s first day in office marked a big step forward for solving environmental concerns. He signed several executive orders that translate into the reversal of a load of the Trump administration’s environmental policies.

Of critical importance was the signing of a letter to rejoin the Paris Agreement, which will officially occur in late February (30 days from the date of the letter). In 2019, former President Trump had formally announced the United Nations that the U.S. would withdraw from the coalition of nearly 200 countries working together to move away from planet-warming fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. This has led the U.S. to officially exit the Accord in November 2020.

A massive order titled ‘Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis’ targeted various other policies. Among them is the revocation of the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would have carried around 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast. The Obama administration revoked the permit in 2015, but the Trump administration reversed course in 2017.

The same executive order empowered agencies to review and reverse the rollbacks instated by the Trump administration such as vehicle emissions standards for cars and light trucks, energy efficiency standards for appliances and buildings, a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and re-establishing a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gasses.

The current administration’s climate plans target a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2035 and zero emissions across the board by 2050.