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NEWS & ANALYSIS

It’s Climate Day at the White House. What Does This Mean?

On his seventh full day in office, Joe Biden dove right into the topic of climate change, fulfilling campaign promises including freezing new oil and gas leasing on federal land and kicking off his agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

These actions follow up several extremely controversial executive orders he signed during his first week, including rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline permit. 

Biden and his top climate advisers, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, said the efforts to tackle climate change will ultimately create jobs for former energy industry workers, Good Morning America reports. 

“Today is climate day in the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House. We’re talking about American innovation, American products, American labor,” Biden said. 

“In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer,” Biden said. “We see it with our own eyes. We feel it. We know it in our bones. And it’s time to act.” 

Perhaps the creation of new jobs will lessen the blow after the Biden administration killed thousands of them. 

McCarthy, Biden’s national climate adviser, said the steps Biden announced Wednesday are also the first steps to economic recovery following the pandemic crisis. She said the benefits of investing in clean energy outweigh the $2 trillion price tag for Biden’s plans. 

“Now, in terms of the job issue, we’re explicitly doing this because our economy is right now stagnant. We have people — millions of people out of work, out of jobs, millions of people that are afraid they can’t feed their families. If you’re faced with that, what do you do? You boost the economy and you grow jobs,” she said. 

But, saving the world from climate change won’t really build back our economy. The first thing that needs to happen is reopening the economy – allowing people to leave their homes and encouraging businesses to reopen and operate normally. Step 2: save the world. 

And in terms of the job issue, Biden doesn’t have much room to talk. His decision to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline ultimately killed 11,000 jobs. 

Biden has made it clear that he wants to shift to “cleaner” forms of energy. 

Republicans and the oil and gas industry criticized Biden’s move Wednesday, saying that the administration shouldn’t seek to exclude forms of energy like oil or natural gas. Halting permits would hurt these industries and could force the country to rely on importing oil and natural gas from foreign countries. 

“We understand society has concerns about the climate but our energy choices do not have to be either/or, but rather an all of the above, Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association said. 

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