Biden Administration

Today Versus 2008

Despite Trump’s efforts, he couldn’t actually reset the clock to the pre-Obama era.

Obama moved us forward. Trump moved us backwards. Are we back where we began? No. Biden starts from a significantly stronger position than Obama did in 2008. In 2008, like today, the outgoing Republican President had adamantly opposed climate action, favored the oil and gas industry, and turned a cold shoulder toward environmental regulation.  Trump …

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The Georgia Elections, the Republican Schism, and the Environment

The prospects for a green stimulus bill have improved

Although the word is overused, last week really did see a seismic shift in the political world. Actually, there were two earthquakes — the victories of Democrats Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia, and the violent invasion of the U.S. capitol incited by Trump.  While the significance of these events is much broader, their relevance to …

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Climate Politics and the Urban-Rural Split

How do we sell climate policies to huge swathes of Trump country?

The 2020 elections revealed America as bitterly divided as ever. The split between rural and urban voters is intensifying, with rural voters delivering massive support to Trump and down ticket Republicans.  Success in decarbonizing the economy will ultimately require the support of those voters.  Short of a miraculous turnaround in attitudes about climate change, how …

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The Year Ahead

Nine key developments to watch for on the environmental front.

2020 was a tumultuous year. Hopefully, 2021 will be balmier.  Widespread use of vaccines will hopefully tame the COVID-19 pandemic, and maybe the political world will settle down a bit too.  Here are nine key things to watch for in terms of environmental policy. The Georgia runoff elections. Currently, the Republicans look likely to control …

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Passing Green Laws in a Polarized Senate

New legislation will require threading a needle in the Senate.

How polarized is the Senate?  A lot.  Consider their voting records: Every Republican except one has an environmental voting score below 25%.  Every Democrat but one has a score above 75%.  That’s a walloping fifty point gap. Given this polarization, getting energy or environmental legislation through Congress will require tremendous finesse.  That’s without even considering …

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Biden’s Green Team

Here are the six who will lead the way on environment and energy issues.

Biden’s choices to head particular agencies have trickled out over the past few weeks.  It’s only when you put them together that you get a sense of the overall time.  It’s a very diverse group, all of whom seem to have strong environmental commitments. Pete Buttigieg, Department of Transportation.  Buttigieg is a well-known figure from …

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Environmental Justice and Climate Action

Are the two in conflict? What should we make of the attacks on Mary Nichols?

Mary Nichols, the frontrunner to head EPA, was knocked out of contention earlier this week.  She would have been a formidable choice to implement Biden’s climate policies.  For that reason, it wasn’t clear whether she would have the votes to get through the narrowly divided Senate. But she was ultimately taken down by the fierce …

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California’s Environmental Justice Policies Should Serve as A Model for the Biden-Harris Administration

AB 617’s Program to Reduce Hot Spot Pollution, Port Programs, Zero Emission Trucks Could Go National

No Presidential ticket has come into office more committed to environmental issues than President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.  Appropriately, climate change is at the top of their agenda.  They are also committed to advancing environmental justice by addressing the disproportionate environmental harms many low income communities of color face. California is often …

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Things to be Thankful For (2020 edition)

Trump has done his best to eliminate federal protection for the environment. But there have been many positive signs.

Nearly four years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a new attack on the environment.  It’s also been an awful year in terms of the pandemic. But there are some things to be thankful for. Here’s how I started a similar post in 2017, nearly a …

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Biden Can Leverage Larger Trends to Make Climate Progress

Biden can use these three strategies to make major progress on climate issues.

With the next president of the United States finally decided, we can now begin moving on to the work at hand. Joe Biden’s election creates an exciting opportunity for climate action. But there’s one clear hurdle: Unless the January runoff elections in Georgia for two Senate seats deliver surprising success to the Democrats, President-elect Biden …

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