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President Biden’s Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis
President Biden campaigned on a bold vision of tackling the climate crisis with the urgency that science demands, by building a clean energy economy that benefits all Americans—with lower costs for families, good-paying jobs for workers, and healthier air and cleaner water for communities.
Since Day One, President Biden has delivered. After rejoining the Paris Agreement and restoring U.S. leadership on the world stage, President Biden created the first-ever National Climate Task Force, with more than 25 Cabinet-level leaders from across agencies working together on groundbreaking goals:
- Reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels in 2030
- Reaching 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035
- Achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050
- Delivering 40% of the benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities
The Biden-Harris Administration is taking decisive steps to reduce emissions, increase resilience, advance environmental justice, and achieve true energy security. This federal mobilization, building on the leadership of states, Tribal Nations, and local governments, has already spurred historic progress:
- The United States set records for clean energy deployment in 2021, bringing enough new solar and wind projects online to power 10 million homes and tripling utility-scale battery storage capacity.
- The three-millionth electric vehicle hit the road, 135,000 chargers were installed, and companies invested over $110 billion in EV and battery manufacturing, helping create battery manufacturing capacity to supply 13 million EVs each year.
- Major climate “firsts” included the Administration’s approval of the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in federal waters, the first commercial flight powered by 100% sustainable aviation fuel flying from Chicago to DC, and U.S. steel and cement companies committing for the first time to reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
- Clean energy is by far the biggest job creator in America’s energy sector, with over 3 million Americans employed in clean energy jobs during 2021 earning wages 25% over the national median.
- On the international stage, President Biden worked with E.U. counterparts to rally more than 100 countries to join the Global Methane Pledge, a new partnership to reduce super-polluting methane emissions 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
President Biden and Vice President Harris also made tackling climate change, advancing environmental justice, and creating jobs centerpieces of the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Passed in August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act is the most significant legislation in U.S. history to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen American energy security. It will lower energy costs for households, saving families hundreds of dollars per year on energy bills; create millions of good-paying jobs for American workers through manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles; and deliver a healthy future for our children and grandchildren by cutting pollution and advancing environmental justice. The savings, jobs, and other benefits provided by this legislation will reach communities across the country.
Additionally, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides historic resources for upgrading the power grid, improving public transit and investing in zero-emission transit and school buses, installing a nationwide EV charging network, cleaning up legacy pollution, replacing lead pipes and delivering clean water. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will also strengthen the nation’s resilience and save taxpayer money, helping communities safeguard against extreme weather events, catastrophic wildfires, and other climate-related disasters—which last year caused more than $165 billion in from the biggest 18 weather and climate disasters alone.
President Biden and Vice President Harris also made climate action and environmental justice a centerpiece of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This legislation provides the largest federal investments ever in upgrading the power grid, improving public transit and investing in zero-emission transit and school buses, installing a nationwide EV charging network, cleaning up legacy pollution, replacing lead pipes and delivering clean water. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will also strengthen the nation’s resilience and save taxpayer money, helping communities safeguard against extreme weather events, catastrophic wildfires, and other climate-related disasters—which last year caused more than $145 billion in damages from the biggest 20 disasters alone.
This is the decisive decade for the world to confront climate change and avoid the worst, irreversible impacts of this crisis. That’s why the President has called on Congress to act on climate by providing clean energy investments and tax credits that will bring down the sticker prices of EVs, weatherize homes and businesses to cut energy costs, and save American families an average of $500 a year. President Biden will continue leading to meet this moment and deliver economic opportunities, health benefits, and household savings here at home—by accelerating our transition to clean energy, and protecting Americans from fossil fuel price spikes.
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 and Vice President Harris have mobilized a whole-of-government effort in every sector of the economy – taking executive actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate clean energy production and deployment, and create good-paying jobs that strengthen the economy. In addition to the actions below, the Administration is leading by example across federal operations and procurement through the President’s Federal Sustainability Plan.
- Secured historic clean power investments, including Inflation Reduction Act tax credits that will more than double wind, solar, and battery storage deployment; targeted support for clean electricity across rural America; and billions from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for grid upgrades and transmission buildout and for clean energy demonstrations.
- Launched the American offshore wind industry, approving the first large-scale projects, identifying new wind energy areas in the Atlantic and the Pacific, and holding a record-breaking $4.3 Billion lease sale in the New York Bight – putting this major new industry on track to achieve the President’s bold goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, all while creating good-paying union jobs up and down the supply chain.
- Fast-tracked clean energy projects to bring jobs and savings to communities, by approving a record-level, 35% increase in permitting of solar and other renewables on public lands and reducing fees and rents by 50% for wind and solar. The Administration is also helping local governments advance community solar projects and rooftop installations, and launching a new initiative to deploy distributed energy resources in disadvantaged communities. These efforts will help power 5 million homes by 2025.
- Supported domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologies, by invoking the Defense Production Act to make more solar panels, critical electric grid components, heat pumps, and more in America.
- Accelerated innovation by creating an Energy Earthshots Initiative to drive clean energy breakthroughs and dramatically reduce the cost of critical technologies, including long-duration storage, clean hydrogen, enhanced geothermal systems, and floating offshore wind.
- Advanced smart rulemaking, including finalizing a “Good Neighbor Plan” rule to cut cross-state smog, and proposing rules to reduce toxic air and water pollution from power plants.
- Rallied automakers and autoworkers around an electric transportation future, setting a national target of 50% electric vehicle sales share in 2030 and spurring investments in new American factories to manufacture EVs, batteries, and chargers.
- Secured largest investments ever in public transportation, passenger rail, an EV charging network, and battery supply chains through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, along with Inflation Reduction Act tax credits for new and used EVs, clean fuels, and EV chargers.
- Released a National Blueprint for Transportation to enable agencies to accelerate the nation’s affordable and equitable clean transportation future.
- Launched EV Charging Action Plan to build out a national charging network that is convenient, reliable, and equitable; approved deployment plans for all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico ahead of schedule; and paired plans with billions of dollars in enabling grants.
- Finalized strongest passenger vehicle standards in American history to increase average fuel economy to 49 miles per gallon, protect communities from pollution, and save drivers money at the pump.
- Proposed stronger standards on greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions from light- and heavy-duty vehicles, projected to result in 60% new EV sales share for the light-duty sector by 2030—exceeding the President’s 50% target.
- Accelerated clean buses, trucks, and ports with Vice President Harris announcing actions to reduce pollution from heavy-duty transportation and invest in electric vehicle models for public transit, school bus fleets, freight and port operations – providing relief to fenceline communities who bear the brunt of these dirty emissions.
- Strengthened battery supply chains by invoking the Defense Production Act to support American production of critical minerals and materials such as lithium, while adhering to strong sustainability and community engagement standards, and by reviving the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program to support battery material processing projects.
- Advanced the future of American aviation, coordinating 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.
- Secured historic investments in energy efficient homes, with more than $3 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand the Weatherization Assistance Program for low-income households and tax credits and $8.8 billion in rebates from the Inflation Reduction Act to support electric appliances and efficiency upgrades that make homes healthier and lower energy bills.
- Took 100+ actions in 2022 on appliance and equipment standards to save an average household at least $100 annually—including through efficiency improvements to air conditioners, furnaces, light bulbs, clothes dryers, and more—and reduce 2.4 billion tons of GHG emissions through standards completed in this term.
- Supported subnational action, launching a new Building Performance Standards Coalition of over 30 states and local governments to reduce building emissions, create good-paying union jobs in energy efficiency and electrification, and lower energy bills.
- Invested in school facility upgrades with Vice President Harris announcing a new Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure to support energy efficiency retrofits and other improvements that save school districts money and deliver health and education benefits to students, educators and school staff.
- Accelerated innovation with the launch of the Initiative for Better Energy, Emissions, and Equity on RDD&D of clean heating and cooling systems to support sustainable buildings and updated ENERGY STAR standards to promote innovative heat pump technologies and encourage electric appliances.
- Made commitments to federal sustainability, launching a Federal Sustainability Plan for net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045 and 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030 across federal facilities, and announcing the first-ever Federal Building Performance Standard.
- Secured historic investments to reduce industrial emissions, including $8 billion for clean hydrogen hubs and additional funding for clean hydrogen innovation in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, new tax credits to build a clean hydrogen industry and expand domestic manufacturing in the United States, and a new Inflation Reduction Act program focused on cleaner industrial facilities for steel, iron, cement, and other energy-intensive materials.
- Advanced clean domestic manufacturing, with new trade commitments to reward American manufacturers of clean steel and aluminum, a Buy Clean Initiative for federal purchasing of low-carbon construction materials, the first comprehensive U.S. government plan to build an Energy Sector Industrial Base, and an Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap.
- Issued the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan with more than 50 actions and $20 billion in new investments across multiple agencies to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, abandoned coal mines, landfills, agriculture, buildings, and more, while protecting public health, promoting U.S. innovation in new technologies, and helping employ thousands of skilled workers across the country.
- Launched the phasedown of super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons found in refrigerators, air conditioners, and other equipment, with actions from across agencies to reduce HFC emissions by 85% over 15 years while strengthening domestic manufacturing of alternatives.
- Promoted responsible deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) technologies, with guidance to help agencies ensure projects are environmentally sound, create union jobs, and reduce cumulative pollution in nearby communities.
- Expanded partnerships to reduce industrial emissions, with DOE’s Better Buildings, Better Plants program now covering 3,600 facilities representing almost 14% of the U.S. manufacturing footprint, and launched the Low Carbon Pilot to support even greater ambition.
- Secured historic investments to enlist nature in the fight against climate change, with over $40 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act to support climate-smart agriculture, forestry, and rural development and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law support for ecosystem restoration.
- Launched the America the Beautiful challenge to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 by accelerating locally led conservation and leveraging $1 Billion in public and private investments.
- Issued an Executive Order on strengthening America’s forests, including by safeguarding mature and old-growth forests on federal lands and supporting reforestation partnerships.
- Restored and strengthened protections for cherished places, including Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments, as well as the Tongass National Forest and Bristol Bay in Alaska, Castner Range in Texas, and Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada.
- Protected sensitive areas from oil, gas, and hardrock mineral leasing, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Chaco Canyon, and Boundary Waters, and ensured thorough and science-based review of all fossil fuel projects on public lands.
- Supported climate-smart agriculture projects anticipated to reach 60,000 farms and 25 million acres of working land, through a $3 billion commitment to create new market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices.
- Re-established regulations to protect America’s waterways to ensure environmental protections for water bodies that are critical to the health, safety and economic vitality of communities.
Advancing Environmental Justice & Empowering Workers
President Biden and Vice President Harris have worked since Day One to confront environmental injustices, toxic pollution, underinvestment in infrastructure and critical services, and disproportionate impacts from climate change on communities across the nation. The Administration has activated the entire federal government to advance environmental justice and for the first time in our nation’s history, elevate the voices, perspectives, and lived experiences of environmental justice communities to guide White House and Federal Government priorities, policies, investments, and decision-making.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to continually fighting for environmental justice through early, meaningful, and sustained partnership with communities and dedicated leadership in Federal agencies.
- Secured historic environmental justice investments, including new grant programs in the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments to clean up pollution, cap orphan oil and gas wells, reclaim abandoned mine lands, and replace lead pipes. The EPA’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund mobilizes financing and leverages private capital to further curb emissions and create benefits for disadvantaged communities.
- Launched and implemented the Justice40 Initiative to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities, with new guidance to help agencies transform hundreds of programs, and a new Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool to ensure that agencies are consistently identifying and delivering benefits to disadvantaged communities.
- Helped families save on energy costs by doubling funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, accelerating home efficiency and electrification retrofits, and supporting locally-driven clean energy plans to lower utility bills.
- Established the first-ever White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to ensure that voices of historically marginalized, underserved, and overburdened communities are heard in the White House and reflected in the policies and investments of federal agencies.
- Created new environmental justice initiatives across the federal government, including a comprehensive DOJ and EPA enforcement strategy to protect overburdened communities and hold polluters accountable, the first-ever Office of Environmental Justice at DOJ, the first-ever Office of Climate Change and Health Equity at HHS, agency Equity Action Plans that advance environmental justice, and more.
- Formed an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization to help identify and mobilize over $200 billion in federal funding opportunities that can be used to reduce pollution, support new industries, and create good-paying jobs.
- Protected public health by driving a multi-pollutant regulatory strategy to reduce pollution from chemical manufacturing and other hotspots.
Strengthening Climate Resilience
As climate-related extreme weather events increase in frequency and ferocity, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking bold steps to strengthen the nation’s resilience to severe impacts climate change has on our communities, infrastructure, economies, and more.
- Secured over $50 billion in resilience investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the most in American history, with additional support in the Inflation Reduction Act to protect against drought, wildfires, and more. The Administration has also doubled funding levels for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program.
- Launched the Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation portal to help officials track climate impacts in real-time and plan for future projections of extreme heat, drought, wildfires, flooding, and more.
- Announced a coordinated federal response for extreme heat by launching nationwide standards and employer training to protect workers from heat exposure on the job, using the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help provide A/C equipment, and more.
- Protected against flooding, superstorms, and sea level rise by re-establishing federal standards that will reduce flood risk, mobilizing new FEMA funding to help communities prepare, and launching interagency efforts on coastal restoration and nature-based solutions.
- Confronted growing wildfire threats by strengthening response capacity with more federal firefighters, launching a new Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission, announcing awards to make communities more resilient to wildfires, and releasing action plans from the Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and other agencies.
- Strengthened drought prevention, resilience, and protection by launching a federal-state task force with Western governors and coordinating across agencies to provide financial and technical assistance to drought-stricken communities, including in the Western United States.
- Launched the National Initiative to Advance Building Codesto help state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments adopt the latest design and construction standards that save lives and reduce property damage from extreme weather.
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 global climate pollution comes from beyond our borders. President Biden and his team are rallying the world to take the decisive action needed in this decade to tackle the climate crisis.
- Launched the Global Methane Pledge, in partnership with the European Union, to reduce the world’s methane emissions 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, with more than 100 countries already signed on.
- Convened the 2022 Major Economies Forum, representing 80% of global GDP and emissions, to launch a new Clean Energy Technologies Demonstration Challenge, Green Shipping Challenge, Global Fertilizer Challenge, and a collective 2030 zero-emission vehicle goal.
- Announced and expanded other major climate initiatives at COP26 in Glasgow, including the First Movers Coalition, the U.S. Plan to Conserve Global Forests: Critical Carbon Sinks, the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate and the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.
- Advanced the world’s first carbon-based sectoral arrangement on steel and aluminum trade, announcing a commitment to negotiate an arrangement with the European Union that will reward American manufacturers, prevent dirty products from entering U.S. markets, and result in more jobs and lower prices for Americans.
- Supported those most vulnerable to climate change worldwide, by releasing the first-ever U.S. International Climate Finance Plan, pledging to quadruple U.S. international climate finance and including these investments in the President’s FY23 Budget, and launching the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience.
- Launched 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 Agreement.
- Rallied G7 leaders to end public finance for overseas unabated coal generation, with historic agreement on a set of new actions to accelerate the global transition and, for the first time in history, alignment across the G7 on long-term and short-term climate goals consistent with keeping the 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming threshold within reach.
- Convened other key global gatherings, includingthe first-ever Leaders Summit on Climate (which featured the launch of the Greening Government Initiative) and the Quad Leaders’ Summit (which featured the launch of a Green Shipping Network and Clean Hydrogen Partnership), and co-hosted the7th Annual Our Ocean Conference in Palau, announcing 100 U.S. commitments totaling more than $2.6 billion for ocean protection and climate solutions.
- Released the National Climate Resilience Framework, a vision for a climate resilient Nation designed to guide and align climate resilience investments and activities by the federal government and its partners. This Framework was released atthe first ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities, which brought together 70+ representatives from more than 25 states, territories, and Tribal Nations to identify and accelerate progress on locally tailored, community-driven solutions that will both dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better manage climate threats. Read the Summit Proceedings.
President Biden is building toward a vision for a climate resilient Nation designed to guide and align climate resilience investments and activities by the federal government and its partners. This Framework was released atthe first ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities, which brought together 70+ representatives from more than 25 states, territories, and Tribal Nations to identify and accelerate progress on locally tailored, community-driven solutions that will both dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better manage climate threats. Read the Summit Proceedings.