President Joe Biden signed several executive actions related to the climate crisis, including one directing the secretary of the interior to pause on entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters.
Biden and other administration officials have emphasized that the White House is taking a "whole of government" approach to climate change. They've also underscored that they believe the President's actions will help spur job growth, and categorized people working in industries vulnerable to job loss, such as coal miners, under their umbrella of environmental justice.
"Today is climate day at the White House and, which means that today is jobs day at the White House. We're talking about American innovation, American products, American labor," Biden said at the outset of his remarks at a signing ceremony. "We're talking about the health of our families and cleaner water cleaner air and cleaner communities. We're talking about national security."
He continued: "It's a future of enormous hope and opportunity. It's about coming to the moment to deal with this maximum threat that we exist with as now facing us, climate change, with a greater sense of urgency. In my view, we've already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can't wait any longer."
The executive order on oil and natural gas leases directs the interior secretary to launch a "rigorous review" of the existing leasing and permitting programs related to fossil fuel development, and to identify steps to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030, according to a fact sheet provided by the White House.
The halting of new leases fulfills a campaign promise by Biden and will expand an existing 60-day moratorium issued by the President on his first day in office. Biden's climate actions mark a sharp departure from the Trump administration's efforts to maximize fossil fuel production and expand oil and gas drilling on federal lands but climate emissaries for the administration emphasized they hope to build new job opportunities out of the changes.
White House climate czar Gina McCarthy described the order as one that "directs everyone who works for the President to use every tool available at our disposal to solve the climate crisis. Because we're going to take a whole of government approach."
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