President Biden to Take Executive Action Elevating Climate Change Across Federal Government

President Joe Biden is expected to take executive action today intended to elevate climate change across the U.S. federal government. Today's announcements follow President Biden's Day One commitment to re-join the Paris Agreement.


The "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad Executive Order" (the Order) will direct the Biden Administration to:


Establish climate considerations as an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security considerations.The Order:

  • affirms that the U.S. will exercise its leadership to "promote a significant increase in global ambition";

  • reaffirms that President Biden will host a Leaders' Climate Summit on April 22, 2021 (Earth Day);

  • formalizes the role of former Secretary of State John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, with a seat on the National Security Council;

  • launches the process of developing the U.S.' nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement, as well as a climate finance plan; and

  • directs the Director of National Intelligence to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate on the security implications of climate change.

Enhancing climate as a national security concern may allow for further border carbon trade measures and tariffs and plays directly into the carbon-free procurement and "Buy American" strategy being implemented for federal agencies and departments. This is likely one of the most significant and impactful elements of today’s announcements.


Take a whole-of-government approach to the climate crisis. The Order establishes the:

  • White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, led by the National Climate Advisor (Gina McCarthy, the former EPA Administrator) and Deputy National Climate Advisor (Ali Zaidi, previously New York State's deputy secretary for energy and environment); and

  • National Climate Task Force, composed of leaders from across 21 federal agencies and departments.

Leverage the federal government's "footprint and buying power to lead by example". The Order directs federal agencies to:

  • procure carbon pollution-free electricity and clean, zero-emission vehicles and requires that those purchases be consistent with President Biden's "Buy American" executive order, issued Monday;

  • develop plans to increase the resilience of their facilities and operations to the impacts of climate change; and

  • eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, to the extent permitted by law.

The Order also notably directs the Secretary of the Interior to:

  • implement a moratorium on entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters "to the extent possible";

  • launch a review of all existing leasing and permitting practices related to fossil fuel development on public lands and waters; and

  • identify steps that can be taken to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030.

Rebuild U.S. infrastructure for a sustainable economy. The Order directs steps to ensure that federal infrastructure investments reduce climate pollution and that steps are taken to accelerate clean energy and transmission projects under federal siting and permitting processes in an environmentally sustainable manner.


Advance conservation, agriculture, and reforestation. The Order:

  • commits to the goal of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and oceans by 2030 and launches a stakeholder engagement process in relation to the same;

  • calls for the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative; and

  • directs the Secretary of Agriculture to launch a stakeholder engagement process on how to use federal programs to encourage adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices that produce verifiable carbon reductions and sequestrations.

Revitalize "energy communities" through the establishment of an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plan Communities and Economic Revitalization.


Secure environmental justice and spur economic opportunity by directing federal agencies to develop programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic, and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities and establishing a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council and a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.


Today's executive actions also include a presidential memorandum on scientific integrity and an executive order establishing the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).


For more information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa (Elisabeth) DeMarco at lisa@resilientllp.com.

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