President-elect Joe Biden announced key members of his climate team today, once again indicating the emphasis the incoming administration will place on climate change as a priority.
Biden has clearly signalled his intention to place the US in the center of the fight against climate change. In addition to promising to rejoin the Paris Agreement immediately upon taking office, the Biden-Harris transition team has established climate policy as one of the incoming administration’s top priorities, and has made key appointments including Former Secretary of State John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate – the first time the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change – and sustainable investing veteran and Paris Agreement negotiator Brian Deese as Director of the National Economic Council. Today’s announcement further builds out the climate team.
The President-elect’s new appointments and nominations include:
- Congresswoman Deb Haaland: Secretary of the Interior. Haaland currently serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Prior to her election to the U.S. House, Haaland was an entrepreneur and advocated for environmentally sustainable business practices. If confirmed, she will be the first-ever Native American Cabinet secretary.
- Governor Jennifer Granholm: Secretary of Energy. As Governor of Michigan, Granholm focused on retooling and electrifying the auto industry, as well as diversifying the state’s economy by sparking a new clean energy sector.
- Michael Regan: EPA Administrator. Regan currently serves as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, served in the EPA under both Democratic and Republican administrations, and was an Associate Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund focused on climate issues.
- Brenda Mallory: Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. Mallory is Director of Regulatory Policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center, and was former General Counsel to the CEQ and current Director of Regulatory Policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center.
- Administrator Gina McCarthy: National Climate Advisor. According to the Biden-Harris team, McCarthy was a driving force behind the Obama-Biden Administration’s groundbreaking Clean Power Plan during her tenure as Administrator of the EPA. In the newly created position of National Climate Advisor, she will head the newly formed White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, where she will drive an “all of government” approach to combating climate change.
- Ali Zaidi: Deputy National Climate Advisor. Zaidi currently serves as Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Energy and Environment and Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance for New York state, and leads the state’s efforts on climate change. He co-founded Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, a Stanford-coordinated initiative that equips sustainability-focused startups with pro bono legal services.
“This brilliant, tested, trailblazing team will be ready on day one to confront the existential threat of climate change with a unified national response rooted in science and equity. They share my belief that we have no time to waste to confront the climate crisis, protect our air and drinking water, and deliver justice to communities that have long shouldered the burdens of environmental harms. Together, on behalf of all Americans, they will meet this moment with the urgency it demands — and seize the opportunity to build back better with good-paying union jobs, climate-resilient infrastructure, and a clean energy future that benefits every single community.”