Presidential Inauguration Meets Climate Action: Day 1 and Beyond
By: Patty L. Buchanan
January 20 was a triumphant day for climate action. Starting with his Inaugural Speech, President Biden recognized that there is:
Much to repair.
Much to restore.
Much to heal.
Much to build.
And much to gain.
While calling out the multiple crises cascading upon us that we must push through to overcome, he promised that he would heed the “cry for survival” that “comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or more clear.” As he said, by repairing the damage we are doing to our Common Home, there is “much to gain.”
His words were not empty. He has already begun to lead us into a new era of climate action. On Inauguration Day itself, President Biden took important steps on our path to accelerate our drawdown of perilous greenhouse gas emissions. Within hours of taking Office, he commenced the formal process to re-enter the Paris Agreement that will compel this country to lead the emission reduction race to net zero in the first half of this century.
He also used his Executive Authority to revoke the March 2019 permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline that facilitated one of the most toxic fossil fuel extraction and transmission projects in our hemisphere which would have led to more toxic emissions filling our atmosphere.
Before the President lay down to rest that night, he signed the “Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” This Order takes my breath away. If you have a few moments to read it, please do so. You may be energized to throw yourself into climate education, advocacy and action like never before because this work will not be in vain. Here’s just a few words from it: “Our Nation has an abiding commitment” to “promote and protect” the environment. “Where the Federal Government has failed to meet [our] commitment[s] in the past, it must advance environmental justice.
In carrying out this charge, the Federal Government must be guided by the best science and be protected by processes that ensure the integrity of Federal Decision making.” With this commitment to right wrongs, there is so much we can accomplish working together now. Please, do not be complacent. Even with these commitments, the Federal Government, acting alone, cannot make the changes we need. We will not achieve our goals without work in our community to implement energy transitions, without neighbors influencing neighbors about accessible paths to actual carbon emission reductions. To change everything, we need everyone.
There’s so much more to come. If you want to keep an eye on the President’s progress in meeting his promises, check out this Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice, First 100 Days Countdown Scorecard, an environmental watch list put together by the Climate Reality Project, New York Capital Region chapter.
If you were stirred by Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s poetic recitation of The Hill We Climb at the Inauguration, you can get an inspirational climate action boost by her Earthrise recitation performed for the Climate Reality Project’s 24 Hours of Reality released in December 2018.
Beyond “Day One” Executive Orders, the Biden campaign published a detailed Climate plan with ambitious goals like a net-zero nation by 2050, increased investment in renewables and 500,000 public charging stations by 2030.
Each day next week will be dedicated to Presidential omnibus policy solution rollouts for one of the crises in the series of calamities we face. Wednesday, January 27 will be Climate Crisis Solutions Day. This auspiciously coincides with Croton100’s Kick-off 2021 Planning Meeting where we will be discussing how we can ride the wave of the President’s First 100 Days that will run in parallel with Croton100’s planning for Earth Day (April 22)/month. Please meet us and join us at 7:00 p.m. on January 27. Conference Call Details:
Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android: https://meetings.ringcentral.com/j/9513751248
Or call (773) 231 9226, meeting ID: 951 375 1248.