Biden’s latest climate plan includes electric trucks and end of oil lease


(Bloomberg) – President Joe Biden is set to order further action to combat climate change – with plans to block new rentals of oil on federal lands, prioritizing science in making government decision and bring world leaders together to face the threat.

The political plans and guidelines, some of which are expected as early as Wednesday, were described by people familiar with the plans.

A moratorium on the sale of new drilling rights on federal lands and waters will allow the government to consider whether – and how – this energy development should take place. At the same time, Biden will adopt the goal of protecting at least 30% of the land and oceans of the United States by 2030, according to two people familiar with the matter.

A similar ’30 by 30′ conservation plan has been endorsed by Biden’s Home Secretary candidate, Rep. Deb Haaland, as well as by many prominent conservatives who say this kind of land protection is very important. ladder can help fight climate change and save species from extinction.

The administration is also preparing an executive order to harness the purchasing power of the federal government by requiring federal agencies – including the U.S. Postal Service – to purchase clean vehicles and renewable energy, according to three people familiar with the matter. , although the timing. the announcement was not clear. Biden alluded to the plans on Monday during remarks detailing the White House’s plans to increase federal spending on American products.

“The federal government also has a huge fleet of vehicles, which we will replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, by American workers,” Biden said, adding that the move would create millions of jobs. “Together, this will be the largest mobilization of public investment in public procurement, infrastructure and R&D since World War II.”

Biden is also set to host world leaders at an Earth Day climate summit, three people familiar with the matter say, a sign of the new president’s pledge to not only join the Paris agreement on reducing emissions of carbon, but also to strengthen it. The meeting hosted by the United States on April 22 could be virtual, one of the people said, similar to a United Nations climate summit in December.

The president will order federal agencies to rely on science to make decisions about federal policy and rules, said a person familiar with the matter. Scientists have complained that research on climate change and public health was abandoned under former President Donald Trump. In one of its last major political actions under Trump, the EPA imposed a rule limiting how the agency uses scientific studies with non-public data to guide decisions on pollution limits and other policies .

Biden is expected to lay the groundwork for his promised new Civilian Conservation Corps modeled on the work-relief programs President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created during the Great Depression. The program would give Americans jobs in land restoration and climate resilience.

“A 21st century Civilian Conservation Corps is as close as it gets to a silver bullet to tackle the climate, biodiversity and unemployment crises our nation faces today,” said Collin O’Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation, in a statement.

The efforts build on orders Biden signed on his first day in office, aimed at eliminating Trump-era regulations that loosened limits on greenhouse gas emissions and sought to accelerate fossil fuel projects.

While last week’s orders – to cancel Keystone XL and join the Paris climate accord – were aimed at removing Trump-era policies, Wednesday’s action is aimed at dealing with the threat.

“This is the visionary thing,” as Biden confirms his claim during the election campaign that fossil fuels must be phased out because they pollute, said Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s land protection program. “He is walking on the climate and public lands and is attacking the oil industry.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Although the drilling initiatives are primarily targeting federal lands, US agencies could be asked to consider ways to promote conservation of private lands as well, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The tenancy moratorium would not affect existing oil and gas leases or ongoing operations on federal lands and waters.

However, that would prevent oil and gas companies from replenishing a reserve of drilling rights while the government undertakes a broad year-long review of where activity should resume and under what conditions – if so.

The territory covered is a primary source of the country’s oil and gas, generating about 22% of the total supply and 12% of the United States in 2019, according to the Energy Information Administration. The rental and development on the leaflets also generates billions in revenue for federal, state and tribal governments.

Energy cost

Environmentalists argue that the cost of this energy development is too high. Oil and gas extracted from federal lands and waters generate about 8% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. They argue that federal lands can instead be turned into a weapon against climate change, simply by conserving them or using the territory to house wind farms and solar panels.

Biden is also expected to detail his plans on Wednesday for how he will fulfill his campaign pledge to target 40% of clean energy investments to underprivileged communities, seize climate change as a force for job creation, and put set up a government-wide task force dedicated to the problem.

In addition, Biden is also set to highlight the threats of climate change to national security – a move in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s efforts to downplay the crisis – according to a person familiar with the matter.

Harnessing the government’s purchasing power of some $ 600 billion a year is no small feat. The federal government operates nearly 10,000 buildings and a fleet of 645,000 vehicles.

Mail trucks

“Federal purchases are a way to achieve the economies of scale you need to lower the cost of many clean energy technologies that will be so essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Elgie Holstein, Senior Director of Environmental Defense Fund. “Federal procurement is a big enough part of the administration’s strategy to get us started quickly to restore the momentum we lost by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating new jobs in the industry. the field of clean energies. ”

The mere act of electrifying the US Postal Service fleet – which was exempt from Obama-era energy efficiency standards – could cause immediate shock. The postal service now operates more than 228,000 vehicles – one of the largest civilian fleets in the world.

And according to the USPS Inspector General in 2014, the vehicles also burn fuel – costing about $ 3,000 a year to stay in service and only getting 10 miles per gallon. Refueling vehicles accounts for about half of the postal service’s total energy consumption, according to the EIA.

The Postal Service has been considering a massive replacement for years and was on track to pick a winning design from what were originally six prototypes earlier this year.

Companies that could benefit from these changes include Workhorse Group Inc., an Ohio-based startup offering an all-electric option.

(Updates with details on Civilian Conservation Corps in the ninth paragraph.)

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.


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