In the most ambitious U.S. effort to stave off the worst effects of climate change, President Joe Biden is aiming to cut oil, gas and coal emissions and double energy production from offshore wind turbines through a series of executive orders.
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Biden signed three orders at the White House Wednesday that target federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels and halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. They also intend to conserve 30 percent of the country’s lands and ocean waters in the next 10 years and move to an all-electric federal vehicle fleet.
Speaking before the signing, Biden said the U.S. “has already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer.”
He also repeatedly underscored that addressing climate change will create American jobs, not eliminate them.
“We’re going to put people to work. We’re not going to lose jobs in these areas, we’re going to create jobs,” Biden said. “These aren’t pie in the sky dreams. These are concrete, actionable solutions. And we know how to do this,” he added.
Biden has set a goal of eliminating pollution from fossil fuel in the power sector by 2035 and from the U.S. economy overall by 2050, speeding what is already a market-driven growth of solar and wind energy and lessening the country’s dependence on oil and gas.
The ambitious plan is aimed at slowing human-caused global warming that is magnifying extreme weather events such as deadly wildfires in the West and drenching rains and hurricanes in the East.
In a change from previous administrations of both parties, Biden also is directing agencies to focus help and investment on the low-income and minority communities that live closest to polluting refineries and other hazards, and the oil- and coal-patch towns that face job losses as the U.S. moves to sharply increase its reliance on wind, solar and other other energy sources that do not emit climate-warming greenhouse gases.