The Biden Administration has hit the ground running in addressing the climate crisis
From the January 2021 Cornerstone Network email
Yesterday, President Biden signed the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis Here and Abroad. This order comes on the heels of others to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement, to pull the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and a presidential memorandum that protects government scientists from political interference.
Earlier this week, the administration announced an effort to free up roughly $10 billion at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to protect against climate disasters.
It is most definitely a firehose of federal climate action, but a welcome one. Given the events of the past several weeks at the Capitol and across our nation, these aggressive and early moves to address the climate crisis are sweet music to our ears. Especially those of us who have been staring down the climate crisis without the support of our federal government for the past four years.
For the first time ever, the US is taking a “whole of government” approach. It is badly needed given the lateness of the hour and the transformational change required to meet the climate challenge.
We are hopeful and at the same time, recognize that we are in a major sprint.
How agencies deploy these resources will make all the difference. FEMA funding needs to focus on green infrastructure solutions in under-resourced communities. Meeting our commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement requires a nationwide system of climate resilience support services for local governments. And, our commitment to addressing the climate crisis needs to integrate across our economy and financial systems. We must align our resources to create the greatest climate gains.
Over the past several months, I’ve talked with partners in federal agencies, academic institutions, and for profit and non-profit organizations. These conversations focused on bringing existing resources together and filling the gaps so every community can take effective climate action.
We have less than 10 years to make real change, but now we have a clear pathway. And it feels good!
A colleague who works with local governments in the Mississippi River corridor wrote to me recently and said, “Tears dry faster in the sun and the clouds have parted for a time…I’m ready.”
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