Three things Biden can do to spark local and national climate action


President BidenJoe BidenObama: Ensuring Democracy “Keeps Running Efficiently” Keeps Me From “Sleeping At Night” New Jersey landlords banned from questioning potential tenants about criminal records Night Defense: The Pentagon withdraws Middle East air defense assets | Democrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies suspension of military aid to Ukraine MORE campaigned on a US president’s strongest ever commitment to climate action, and in his first month in office he came out with an ambitious set of executive actions.

Now he should come up with a bold economic policy recovery package to Congress which will stimulate massive investments in climate solutions for his campaign Rebuild better agenda. Yet standing up to face the climate crisis will also require action from all actors, sectors and levels of government across the country. The federal government alone cannot achieve a climate-safe future.

The Biden administration’s climate agenda must be both informed and supported by the climate leadership of state, tribal and local governments. States, in particular, can be essential partners for the new administration. As former senior advisers to governors who have taken bold climate action, we urge the White House to do the following three things to better engage state, tribal and local governments, especially in the context of economic recovery and recession. its intersection with urgent climate action.

First, Biden and his administration should create a national climate action advisory committee made up of state, tribal and local leaders. Reporting to the National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and the National Climate Working Group, this committee could be modeled on President Obama’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders’ Task Force on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience, which brought together U.S. subnational leaders to advise this administration on how to meet the needs of frontline communities climate impacts.

This new committee could provide coordination, accountability and recommendations to the federal government on how to better advance climate action with state, tribal and local governments. It could work with the support of groups like the American Climate Alliance governors committed to climate action, Climate mayors, America is in full swing and others who have held the course on US climate action for the past four years. And he should make sure that the new White House Advisory Council on Environmental Justice contains representatives from tribal nations, local governments and community leaders who have developed effective, sustainable and equitable climate justice policies.

Second, while a task force is important for providing advice and coordination, state, tribal and local governments also need resources and direct federal support and partnership on the ground. This should include everything from federal dollars to technical assistance and program resources, as well as access to relevant science and research.

The National Climate Working Group, the Environmental Quality Council (CEQ) and regional federal offices should convene key agencies to ensure coordination within individual states and tribal nations – through Climate mobilization tips, on the model of similar entities in American history. To support this work, the federal government should lend federal personnel through the Intergovernmental Staff Act and direct hiring to support the implementation of state, tribal and local climate programs. These seconded individuals should in particular borrow from universities, national laboratories and federal regional offices that have knowledge and capacity in the region. And they could build on successful strategies from the Obama era, like the Renewable Energy Conservation Plan in the Desert in California, the Puget Sound Federal Task Force and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the Pacific Northwest, or the coordinated intergovernmental economic recovery strategy in Detroit.

The Biden administration is also expected to use existing federal funding and purchasing power to boost climate progress for states, tribes and locals. For example, federal agencies should involve state and local agencies in their bold new purchases strategies for electric vehicles (EVs) and other advanced energy technologies. The Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to update the 2016 Federal funding programs for clean energy memorandum and directly involve tribal, state and local governments in its use. And, the DOE loan program office should finalize advice to make billions of federal funding available to support low-cost loans from state and local green banks and clean energy financial institutions.

Third, Biden should use the “Build Back Better” climate investment legislation to enable states, tribes and cities to further accelerate their climate progress. This is expected to include a new $ 50 billion challenge grant program, led by the DOE, to support state, tribal and local governments that develop and implement ambitious immediate actions and long-term climate goals that are align with Biden’s ambitious decarbonization commitments specific to the sector and the economy as a whole. . The potential uses of these investments could range from the development of climate action plans; adoption of requirements for electricity or 100% clean cars; deployment of EV charging infrastructure; training programs for clean energy jobs; incentives for smart growth, housing and transit-oriented development; implementing zero-emission and energy-efficient building and zoning codes; climate smart agriculture and land conservation, and more.

In accordance with Biden Justice40 As an initiative, states should be supported in implementing equity-focused climate policies and ensuring that at least 40% of the benefits of federal climate investments support disadvantaged communities, using mapping tools such as CalEnviroScreen from California. Federal lawmakers should also increase investments in proven programs – like the state energy program, block grants for energy conservation and others – and should fund new national satellite lab offices in states. keys focused on renewable energies and sustainable technological transition.

Biden announced that he would organize a world climate summit Earth Day, April 22, when a new Paris pledge will be announced and other major economies will be invited to share their own new pledges. The new administration could energize this important event by starting as soon as possible to coordinate with and unleash the full potential of state, tribal and local climate leadership.

Aimee Barnes was a senior climate change advisor to former California Governor Jerry Brown from 2017 to 2019, and is the founder of Hua Nani Advisors. Follow her on Twitter @aekbarnes.

Sam Ricketts is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, co-founder of Evergreen Action, and longtime former climate advisor to the Washington government. Jay insleeJay Robert Inslee Beyond California, Record Year for Recalls Seattle is the first major city in the United States to see 70% of its residents fully vaccinated, according to Mayor Rivers, Hydropower and Climate Resilience MORE. Follow him on twitter @samtricetts.

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