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Former Washington Journalist
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After four years of neglect and inaction by the Trump administration, President-elect Biden’s pledging a new muscular and “unified” national response to meet the challenges of global climate change.
The Biden team will represent a sharp departure from the Trump years under which Donald Trump referred to climate change as a “Chinese hoax,” and ordered the withdrawal of the United States from the international Paris Agreement for Climate which was negotiated under the Obama administration.
Biden, however, committed to action on climate as he continues his transition ahead of his January 20 Inauguration.
The president-elect spoke about climate Sunday, as he announced more picks for his incoming team, including former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (D) as energy secretary-designate and Rep Deb Haaland (D-NM) as his nominee for interior secretary, and he folded his climate efforts into his overall “build back better” agenda.
Biden earlier had tapped former secretary of state John Kerry to serve as a special climate envoy.
“More than 5 million acres in California and Washington state: Across the West, an area literally the size of New Jersey burned to the ground. Tropical storms pummeled Louisiana, North Carolina, across the East Coast. Hurricane-speed windstorms and severe droughts ravaged the midwest. And more Americans see and feel the devastation in big cities, small towns, coastlines, and in farmlands. Red states and in blue. Billions of dollars of damage. Homes and memories washed away. Crops and farmlands washed away,” Biden said. “And just last year, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a direct threat to more than two thirds of operational critical installations in this world, particularly in the United States. So many calamities are colliding all at once.
“It’s not just the pandemic keeping people inside. It’s poor air quality. Air pollution is associated with the increased risk of death from COVID-19. Folks, we are in a crisis,” the president-elect added. “Just like we need to be a unified nation in response to COVID-19, we need a unified national response to climate change. We need to meet the moment with the urgency it demands. From this crisis — from these crises, I should say — we need to seize the opportunity to build back and build back better than we were before.”
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