President Biden’s Whole-of-Government
Effort to Tackle the Climate Crisis
“This is a case where conscience and convenience cross paths, where dealing with this existential threat to the planet and increasing our economic growth and prosperity are one and the same. When I think of climate change … I think of jobs.”President Joe Biden Before Signing Executive Actions on Tackling Climate Change, Creating Jobs, and Restoring Scientific Integrity (Jan. 27, 2021)
On Day One, President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, restored U.S. leadership on the world stage, and reestablished our position to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad. Days later, he took executive actions to ensure we tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad – all while creating jobs and growing our economy. And each day since, he has taken decisive action to reduce emissions, advance environmental justice, and create good-paying, union jobs.
President Biden formed the first-ever National Climate Task Force — mobilizing every agency to prioritize acting on climate change throughout the entire federal government. From curbing emissions, strengthening resilience, protecting public health, advancing equity, conserving lands and waters, and spurring economic growth, combatting climate change is central to every mission across the United States government.
The President also convened the first-ever Leaders Summit on Climate, a historic gathering of more than 40 world leaders that affirmed the need for unprecedented global cooperation and ambition. The President also organized a leader-level convening of the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate and pledged to quadruple our international climate finance. On the road to COP26 in Glasgow and beyond, President Biden will continue rallying the rest of the world to step up, underscoring how strong domestic action goes hand-in-hand with international leadership.
President Biden has set ambitious goals to lead by example in tackling the climate crisis and delivering economic benefits at home:
- Reducing greenhouse gas pollution from 2005 levels by 50-52% in 2030 as part of the U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)
- Creating a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035
- Reaching net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050
The 2020s is a decisive decade for the world to confront climate change and avoid the worst and irreversible impacts of the crisis by keeping the goal of 1.5 degree Celsius limit on global average temperature rise within reach. And the countries who take urgent and decisive action will reap the economic and jobs benefits of the clean energy future.
President Biden knows this, which is why he has taken clear action to create a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous future, building on past U.S. leadership of states, Tribes, and Territories, and local governments. And with his Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda, his efforts would be supercharged with the transformational investments that unlock the full economic and climate potential of his agenda.
Leadership in Action
Through executive and regulatory actions, public-private partnerships, international diplomacy, and more, President Biden is working towards achieving his bold goals while taking steps to grow the economy, create jobs, and build a clean energy future – all while rallying the world to step up too.
Reducing Emissions and Accelerating Clean Energy
President Biden mobilized a whole-of-government effort to look at all sectors of the economy and take direct actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate clean energy production and deployment, and create good-paying jobs that strengthen the economy.
- Set a target of 50% electric vehicle sales share in 2030, and aligned ambition among automakers and the United Autoworkers (UAW)
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) are advancing smart fuel efficiency and emissions standards that can reduce around two billion metric tons of carbon pollution
- Accelerated the deployment of electric vehicles and chargers and moved the U.S. federal fleet to zero-emission vehicles, the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world
- Coordinated leadership and innovation across the federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers, and more to produce three billion gallons of sustainable fuel and reduce aviation emissions by 20% in 2030
- Provided federal funding for zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) infrastructure projects, clean school buses, renewable biofuel infrastructure, and more
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded grants to reduce emissions and improve air quality at airports across the country, including installing electric charging infrastructure and airport equipment
- Modernizing homes, businesses, and buildings to make them more affordable, cleaner, and resilient while driving down emissions
- The Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Initiative for Better Energy, Emissions, and Equity on RDD&D of clean heating and cooling systems to support sustainable buildings
- The General Services Administration (GSA) advanced the Green Proving Ground program for innovative technologies in federal buildings
- EPA updated ENERGY STAR standards to promote innovative heat pump technologies and encourage electric appliances
- HUD supported energy efficiency and healthy housing demonstration projects in low-income households, partnering with DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program
- Advanced the expansion and modernization of a clean power grid to create jobs, increase reliability, and unlock clean energy resources
- Opened the Pacific Coast for clean energy jobs and energy production, as well as the entire East Coast to meet the President’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030
- Supported solar deployment through a new National Community Solar Partnership goal of powering 5 million households by 2025, and DOI acceleration of solar projects on public lands
- The Department of Transportation (DOT) issued guidance to help states host transmission lines and other clean energy resources along highway rights-of-way
- DOE is financing the construction of transmission lines through the Western Area Power Administration Transmission Infrastructure Program and the Loan Programs Office
- Jumpstarted offshore wind energy projects to accelerate and deploy clean energy, create good-paying, union jobs, and bolster the domestic supply chain
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing funding through the Electric Loan Program to build or improve rural electric infrastructure in 11 states, including expansion of smart grid technologies; and through the Rural Energy for America Program to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided critical funding for electric power system enhancements in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Mobilizing the entire federal government to take historic actions that phase down super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons — one of the most impactful federal efforts to reduce climate pollution in decades while strengthening domestic manufacturing
- The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a federal plan implementing standards limiting methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills in areas without State or Tribal plans in effect
- Outlined best practices to responsibly scale Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS), streamline permitting, and protect public health and workers
- DOE launched the Energy Earthshots Initiative to drive clean energy breakthroughs, including a Hydrogen Shot to reduce clean hydrogen costs by 80%, and a Long Duration Storage Shot to reduce the costs of grid-scale energy storage by 90% in a decade
- DOE expanded the Better Buildings, Better Plants program – which works to reduce industrial emissions – to cover 3,500 manufacturing and water treatment facilities
- The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an industry advisory on requirements to minimize pipeline methane emission and prevent hazardous leaks
- EPA is proposing a rule to reduce methane emissions and other harmful pollutants
- Signed into law a joint resolution of Congress that reverses the previous administration’s harmful methane rules
- Outlined the “America the Beautiful” initiative to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, helping combat climate change and strengthen local economies
- Restored protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments
- USDA launched efforts to promote climate-smart solutions through the Conservation Reserve Program
- USDA launched a new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative that will create new market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices
- USDA announced a new Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy to help support a diverse economy, enhance community resilience, and conserve natural resources, including protections for the Tongass National Forest
- The Department of the Interior (DOI) suspended all oil and gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
- The National Park Service (NPS) distributed funding to local communities to create public parks and expand recreation in urban areas
- EPA took steps to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska, preventing pollution and protecting waters essential to commercial and recreational fisheries that support Alaska Natives and their communities
Advancing Environmental Justice and Empowering Workers
President Biden has made historic commitments to use every lever at his disposal to advance environmental justice, create good-paying, union jobs, and spur economic opportunity for disadvantaged communities, particularly those like communities of color and low-income communities that have been historically marginalized and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment in housing, transportation, water and wastewater infrastructure, and health care.
- Created the first-ever White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to confront longstanding environmental injustices and ensure historically marginalized, polluted, and overburdened communities have greater input on federal policies and decisions.
- Launched the Justice40 Initiative to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.
- Strengthened EPA enforcement of environmental laws in communities overburdened by pollution
- Established the first-ever Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity to address health disparities exacerbated by climate change and protect vulnerable populations at higher risk from climate hazards
- Announced DOT funding for equitable transportation infrastructure, with priority for projects that improve racial equity, reduce climate impacts, and create jobs
- Mobilized resources to invest in coal and power plant community economic revitalization
- Directed Department of Commerce (DOC) funding towards energy communities to create new jobs and opportunities
Strengthening Climate Resilience
One in three Americans have grappled with extreme weather events in the last year alone. As extreme weather events increase in frequency and ferocity, the U.S. is taking bold steps to strengthen the nation’s resilience to severe impacts climate change has on our communities, infrastructure, economies, and more.
- Mobilized pre-disaster mitigation resources and investments to protect communities, families, and businesses before extreme weather strikes
- Improved capabilities to prepare for and prevent growing wildfire threats
- Launched efforts to respond to the extreme heat threatening workers, children, and seniors
- Developed more than 20 federal agency plans that will ensure facilities and operations become more resilient and adapt to climate change impacts
- Directed agencies to analyze and mitigate the risk climate change poses to the economy and financial systems, homeowners and consumers, businesses and workers, and the federal government
- Released a roadmap and comprehensive national strategy to build an economy that is resilient to climate change impacts
- Made climate information and decision tools more accessible so individuals and communities can understand and prepare for risks of climate change
- Re-established standards to enhance the nation’s ability to improve resilience to floods
Leveraging Domestic Ambition to Rally Global Peers
While the U.S. has committed itself to addressing the climate crisis, countries across the globe must also step up given that more than 85% of emissions come from beyond our borders. President Biden and his team are rallying global peers to take the decisive action needed in this decade to tackle the climate crisis.
- On Earth Day, President Biden convened 40 world leaders for a historic Leaders Summit on Climate to galvanize efforts from major economies to tackle the climate crisis and underscore the urgency and economic benefits of decisive action – growing the coalition to include strong NDCs from Canada and Japan
- Announced the Build Back Better World (B3W) infrastructure initiative at the G7 to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars between G7 members and the private sector in sustainable, infrastructure investment for low- and middle-income countries and achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement
- Brought about the Global Methane Pledge with the European Union, aligned with our domestic methane strategy, an initiative to reduce one of the most potent greenhouse gases
- President Biden and fellow G7 Leaders agreed to a set of concrete actions to move away from unabated coal and, for the first time in history, all G7 Leaders aligned their long-term and short-term climate goals consistent with keeping the 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming threshold within reach
- Released the first-ever U.S. International Climate Finance Plan, including a pledge to double U.S. international climate finance
- Further doubled the U.S. international climate finance pledge at the UN General Assembly to help achieve the collective $100 billion climate finance mobilization goal to support developing countries
- Launched a Green Shipping Network, Clean Hydrogen Partnership, and other actions with the Quad Climate Working Group to enhance climate adaption, resilience, and preparedness