President Biden on Wednesday signed a series of executive orders that aim to “confront the existential threat of climate change” across the federal government while emphasising job creation. “In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer. It’s time to act,” said Biden, speaking at the White House.
The president cast many of the executive orders as opportunities for job creation, among other things pledging to use the purchasing power of the federal government to buy a vast fleet of zero-emissions vehicles. “This will mean one million new jobs in the American automobile industry.”
Wednesday’s executive orders also set broad new foreign policy goals, including specifying that climate change, for the first time, will be a core part of all foreign policy and national security decisions.
Biden’s international climate envoy, John Kerry, said earlier in the day that the US would host an international climate change summit on Earth Day, April 22. Kerry pledged that by that date he would announce a new set of specific targets detailing how the US would lower its carbon dioxide emissions under the terms of the Paris Agreement.
Biden has already ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of reinstating the federal government’s single largest policy to curb carbon dioxide emissions — an Obama-era rule that had been designed to cut greenhouse tailpipe pollution from automobile tailpipes, which Trump rolled back last year. Federal agencies also will be ordered to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies “and identify new opportunities to spur innovation.” Separately, Biden called on the campaign trail to overhauling tax breaks to oil companies — worth billions of dollars to the oil, coal and gas industries — to help pay for his $2 trillion climate change plan, although that plan is expected to face strong opposition in Congress.