Biden Halts New Leases for Oil Drilling on Public Lands, Establishes New Task Force


by | Jan 27, 2021

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President Biden took sweeping executive actions on Wednesday to “tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad.” He says these Executive Orders follow through on his promise to aggressively tackle climate change and build on the executive actions that he took on his first day in office, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the immediate review of harmful rollbacks of environmental standards made during the Trump Administration.

Biden’s assault on climate change is being backed by allies that include labor unions, anti-fracking activists, leaders of Wall Street, the auto industry and the US Chamber of Commerce, writes Politico.

These allies will be a necessary force if Congress is to be persuaded to approve $2 trillion to create a carbon-pollution-free power sector by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050.

But former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister argues that getting rid of fossil fuels in the next four or even eight years is “just not going to happen” (via Fox News). “What will happen is that the price of oil will go up and the production of US oil will go down,” he is quoted as saying. And the US will not be able to shift to electric vehicles quickly enough to help, as there “aren’t enough of them. We don’t have the supply chain built yet for lithium, for example, for batteries, so this is a long, long process.”

Biden has directed his administration to:

—Center the climate crisis in US foreign policy and national security considerations;
—Take a “whole-of-government” approach to the climate crisis;
—Leverage the federal government’s footprint and buying power to lead by example;
—Rebuild infrastructure for a sustainable economy;
—Advance conservation, agriculture and reforestation;
—Revitalize energy communities; and
—Secure environmental justice and spur economic opportunity.

Among other actions, the executive orders establish the National Climate Task Force, assembling leaders from across 21 federal agencies and departments to enable the whole-of-government approach to combatting the climate crisis,

Biden has also temporarily blocked new leases for oil drilling on federal lands; he has ordered a review of fossil-fuel subsidies and other measures to overhaul the US energy mix, writes Bloomberg.

President Biden set ambitious goals that he says will “ensure America and the world can meet the urgent demands of the climate crisis, while empowering American workers and businesses to lead a clean energy revolution that achieves a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and puts the United States on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050.”

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