Biden picks White House veteran to revive climate

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday brought back John Podesta, a veteran behind-the-scenes climate pusher under previous Democratic administrations, to launch an ambitious U.S. climate plan that was recently revived by 375 billions of dollars from Congress.

Biden named Podesta a senior adviser responsible for crafting clean energy and climate spending milestones as part of the massive health care and climate bill passed by Congress in August. Podesta will also lead the administration’s climate task force.

Further reshaping the White House climate team for a much more hopeful phase, Biden also announced the departure of his current climate adviser, Gina McCarthy. A former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, McCarthy had spearheaded Biden’s domestic climate agenda during the Democrats’ two-year struggle — often seemingly doomed — to get climate funding through Congress.

McCarthy was expected to serve only the first half of Biden’s term. Ali Zaidi, McCarthy’s deputy, will succeed her as national climate adviser, the White House announced.

A surprise administration-backed deal reached last month with two Democratic senators held on to rescue a watered-down version of Biden’s domestic spending plan. This includes funding for the US’s largest effort to slow global warming caused by fossil fuels.

“Podesta’s deep roots in climate and clean energy policy and his experience at senior levels of government mean we can really hit the ground running to take advantage of the huge clean energy opportunity before us,” Biden said in a statement. .

The choice of Podesta, a veteran of Democratic White Houses dating back to Bill Clinton’s in the early 1990s, is in line with Biden’s tendency to choose tried, well-known figures from previous administrations, passing over potentially more exciting and newer figures from the progressive movement. . Among the most experienced figures is John Kerry, the former secretary of state in charge of US climate diplomacy abroad.

Podesta’s jobs for Democratic presidents include replenishing Clinton’s general staff and helping advance some of Barack Obama’s first climate milestones. The subsequent election of Donald Trump saw his administration reverse Obama’s legacy efforts to reduce climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions, as well as appointing conservative judges who have since blocked some key climate initiatives.

Podesta has served as the head of the Center for American Progress think tank, and in that role he closely monitors US efforts to step up climate action after the Trump administration’s failures.

Podesta is perhaps best known to the public for his role in 2016 as the unwitting victim of the hacking of his email account, an attack that US intelligence said had Russian involvement. The theft and leaked emails were credited with helping Trump win the presidency over Hillary Clinton. Podesta was Clinton’s campaign manager at the time.

Legislation passed last month, called the “Inflation Reduction Act,” is intended to pump nearly $375 billion over the decade into strategies to combat climate change that Democrats believe could put the country in trajectory to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. .

This includes tax credits for electric vehicles, a 10-year consumer tax credit for renewable energy investments in wind and solar, and other tax breaks to help consumers go green.

For businesses, the bill has $60 billion in clean energy production tax credits and $30 billion in wind and solar production tax credits, which are seen as ways to boost and support industries that can help reduce the nation’s dependence from fossil fuels.

The bill also provides tax credits for nuclear power and carbon capture technology that oil companies such as Exxon Mobil have invested millions of dollars to promote.

The bill would impose a new end to excessive methane emissions from oil and gas drilling, while giving fossil fuel companies access to more leases on federal lands and waters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *