WASHINGTON | US President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday introduced key members of his climate team and said his administration will make the fight against global warming a pillar of its action to rebuild the pandemic-stricken US economy.
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Mr Biden said these figures “will lead my administration’s ambitious plan to address an existential threat of our time: climate change”.
“We are in crisis,” Biden said at the event at his home town of Wilmington, Delaware. “Just as we need to be a united nation to deal with COVID-19, we need a national and collective response to climate change.”
Among the personalities presented on Saturday is New Mexico’s elected Deb Haaland, chosen to head the Department of the Interior, which oversees natural resources on federal lands, such as national parks and wildlife refuges.
Mme Haaland will become the first Native American to hold a ministerial post if her appointment is confirmed by the Senate.
Mr Biden said his government would work to modernize water, transport and energy infrastructure so that they are better equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions – and that it would create many jobs in as part of this process.
Mr. Biden also said he wants to build 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles and 1.5 million energy-efficient homes and social housing.
He also announced the “immediate” creation of 250,000 jobs to close millions of abandoned oil and gas wells, considered to be health and safety risks.
Mr. Biden reiterated that the United States would return to the Paris Climate Agreement, abandoned by President Donald Trump, and that it would restore a series of environmental regulations introduced by Barack Obama and abandoned by Mr. Trump .
For other positions, Biden said he had chosen Gina McCarthy, the administrator of Mr. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, to lead the new Climate Policy Office of the White House.
Mr Biden has appointed Michael Regan, currently head of the North Carolina State Department of the Environment, to lead the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Brenda Mallory, an environmental lawyer , to lead the Council on Environmental Quality.
M. Regan and Mme Mallory are both African American. The president-elect said that with Saturday’s announcements, his cabinet will number six African Americans.