Executive Order Launches Government-Wide Climate Action

On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. The executive order signals that climate change will be a priority in policy making across the federal government, establishes a number of new offices, and instructs agency heads to take steps towards developing climate policies.

In the realm of foreign policy, the executive order builds on the creation of a Special Presidential Envoy for Climate by declaring, among other things, that President Biden will host an early Leaders' Climate Summit aimed at raising ambition ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, that the United States will immediately begin the process of developing its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement, and that the United States will immediately begin to develop a climate finance plan.

With respect to domestic policy, the executive order establishes a new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, National Climate Task Force, Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, and a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (within EPA). Among other things, the executive order also instructs the Secretary of the Interior to seek to increase renewable energy production on federal lands and offshore waters, pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and offshore waters to the extent possible, and develop a plan to create a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative; and directs the EPA to strengthen civil rights protections and create a community notification program to monitor environmental pollution.

Read the full executive order here.