Getting existential, righting the wrongs of a previous administration, and ringing in a new era of transformation.
On his first day in office, President Biden brought the United States back into the Paris Agreement, banned the drilling of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, put a stop to the Keystone XL Pipeline, and restored science to tackle our climate crisis.
Basically, what you would expect from a President determined to confront the existential threat of climate change and make it the focus of his executive orders in his first week.
The orders aim to create millions of clean energy jobs, help us reach net zero emissions by 2050, reform the fuel economy, rebuild a new generation of energy-efficient homes and electric cars, protect a third of all public lands, reduce methane emissions, and devote resources to fight pollution. Especially, in communities of color that are hardest hit.
The new administration will have its hands full.
Trump leaves behind a legacy of political division and climate denial, along with one hundred environmental protections rolled back during his term.
Despite Biden's first executive order to review and restore those protections, doing so will take time. It will also take bipartisan cooperation and a "whole-of-government" approach despite political power shifts and opposing views. To help create his vision, Biden has established a National Climate Task Force, bringing together leaders from twenty-one federal agencies to take on its climate agenda.
To guide its decision-making, the new administration has welcomed science back into policymaking, advising agencies to make only "evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data." A seismic shift from Trump-era policymaking that often silenced or side-lined scientific research, which Biden condemned, "undermines the welfare of the nation, contributes to systemic inequities and injustices, and violates the trust that the public places in government to best serve its collective interests."
The Biden-Harris administration signals a clean break from division and denial in its commitment to solidarity and change.
But change won't happen overnight, or even in one hundred days. While Biden's lasting legacy may be restoring our country's unity and trust, his starting message to the world is clear: it's a new day.
Featured Image: Earth taken by Apollo 11