A who’s who of Obama administration alumni, climate experts and Biden transition advisers released a blueprint today for how the incoming administration can take a whole-of-government approach to climate change policy.
The policy guide suggests that the Biden White House create a new National Climate Council on par with the existing National Economic Council to coordinate and drive climate policy from the West Wing.
The group that authored the recommendations, called the Climate 21 Project, is co-chaired by the Obama White House’s Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss and by Tim Profeta, who helped write carbon cap-and-trade legislation while working for former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
Its steering committee includes Joseph Goffman, a former senior EPA lawyer, and Robert Bonnie, a former undersecretary of Agriculture, who are now on President-elect Joe Biden’s transition teams for those agencies. It also features former Obama special assistants Joseph Aldy and Jason Bordoff, who have been advising the campaign.
"In order to achieve ambitious U.S. leadership on climate change, the next administration must be ready to hit the ground running and effectively prioritize its climate response from Day One," its summary memo states.
"As the next administration seeks to tackle the wide-ranging and growing challenges associated with climate change, the need for an effective and efficient federal government workforce has never been clearer," it said.
The group makes recommendations for 11 White House offices and federal departments and agencies, drawing on input from more than 150 experts. There are memos for the executive office of the president, the Office of Management and Budget, EPA, Interior, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, the Department of State, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury, and one on "attracting and hiring climate change talent." A memo on climate policy at NOAA is forthcoming, the website said at the time of publication.
The group called for the publication of a new four-year Climate Ambition Agenda detailing actions agencies can take to reduce emissions and support a green energy transition.
And it suggests new high-level climate teams within each department or agency with "significant climate responsibilities," accountable to the agency’s head but connected to the National Climate Council and "empowered to mobilize the full assets of the department or agency."
The proposal came out a day after the Biden transition team announced who it would send to federal departments and agencies to meet with staff (E&E News PM, Nov. 10).
But President Trump’s refusal to concede the loss of last week’s election has held up access and funds for these landing teams, delaying their work.