Joe Biden has been president for a week. Here’s every climate action he’s taken so far

Louise Boyle
·5 min read
Joe Biden waits to sign his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House  (AP)
Joe Biden waits to sign his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House (AP)

During his inaugural address, President Joe Biden made clear that there was no time to waste when it comes to “a climate in crisis”.

That message has permeated his first week in office which culminated in a “climate day” at the White House.

Read more: Follow live updates on the Biden administration

Over seven days, the president signed a slew of executive orders to tackle the issue, instituted new domestic and international policies, and made it clear to the world that America was back in the fight.

Here’s what the Biden administration has done so far:

  1. Rejoined Paris Agreement, the international pact to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5C

  2. Directed agencies to review and reverse more than 100 Trump actions on climate and environment

  3. Executive Order to combat the climate crisis both at home and abroad, including:

  4. Establishing climate change as an essential element of US foreign policy and national security

  5. Elevating climate in foreign policy with Special Envoy John Kerry sitting on National Security Council

  6. Developing America’s “Nationally Determined Contribution [NDC]” – each country’s emission reduction target – ahead of US climate summit in April

  7. Developing a climate finance plan

  8. Directing the Director of National Intelligence to estimate the security implications of climate change

  9. Directing State Department to prepare a transmittal package to the Senate for Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which is aimed at reducing climate-warming chemicals hydrofluorocarbons

  10. Directing all agencies to develop strategies for integrating climate considerations into international work

  11. Establishing White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, led by first-ever National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy

  12. Establishing “National Climate Task Force” across 21 federal agencies and departments

  13. Directing federal agencies to procure carbon-free electricity and zero-emission vehicles

  14. Ordering agencies to ensure jobs from climate funds have prevailing wage and choice to join a union

  15. Directing each federal agency to make facilities and operations climate resilient

  16. Pausing on entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters

  17. Reviewing existing leasing and permitting of fossil fuel development on public lands and waters

  18. Identifying steps to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030

  19. Directing agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies

  20. Identifying new opportunities for clean energy technologies and infrastructure

  21. Committing to goal of conserving at least 30 per cent of US lands and oceans by 2030

  22. Establishing a “Civilian Climate Corps” to put young people to work tackling climate change

  23. Directing Secretary of Agriculture to consult rural America on how to use federal programs to encourage agricultural practices that reduce emissions

  24. Establishing a working group on coal and power plant communities to help them transition

  25. Setting up working group to advance projects that reduce methane emissions, oil and brine leaks, and other toxic harm from former mining and well sites

  26. Formalizing commitment to make environmental justice part of the mission of every agency

  27. Developing a “Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool” to identify disadvantaged communities, to inform equitable decision making

  28. Executive Order establishing the president’s council of advisors on science and technology

  29. Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum - Directing agencies to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best science and data, and prevent political interference in science

  30. Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis, including:

  31. Cancelling the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline

  32. Directing all executive departments and agencies to immediately review the rollbacks of climate and environmental regulations during the Trump era

  33. Reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector

  34. Establishing Fuel Economy Standards for vehicles

  35. Revising Appliance- and Building-Efficiency Standards

  36. National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units

  37. Proposing new EPA regulations for methane and volatile organic compound emissions from existing operations in the oil and gas sector

  38. Reviewing monument boundaries and conditions at Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

  39. Directing Office of Management & Budget director to develop recommendations to modernize regulatory review and undo Trump's regulatory approval process

  40. Moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  41. Restoring the original Obama withdrawal of certain offshore areas in Arctic waters and the Bering Sea from oil and gas drilling

  42. Studying the social cost of carbon pollution via an interagency group

  43. Revoking other Trump executive orders including on expediting environmental approvals for high priority infrastructure; promoting energy independence; review of designations under the Antiquities Act; and the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

  44. Climate change now recognized on the White House website as an “emergency” that will require meeting “the demands of science"

  45. Hearings for key Cabinet posts with notable influence on climate action including Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg

  46. Janet Yellen approved as Treasury Secretary, who will assess the financial risks from climate change

  47. Antony Blinken approved as Secretary of State, tasked with rebuilding US relationships around the world to tackle global issues including the climate crisis

  48. Nearly 1,000 new administration appointees sworn-in via Zoom, who will play a role in “whole government” approach to crisis

  49. Held a “climate day" at the White House on 27 January to focus on specific policy priorities

  50. Announced a US climate summit on Earth Day - 22 April - by reconvening the Major Economies Forum

  51. “Virtually” deployed John Kerry to Davos and first-ever UN Climate Adaptation Summit

  52. Calls to allies including France’s Emmanuel Macron, UK’s Boris Johnson, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga where climate change was named as a priority

  53. Call to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO to discuss priorities including climate change

  54. “Buy American” executive order, closing loopholes and reducing waivers granted on federal purchases of domestic goods, aiming to ultimately replace 650,000 federal government fleet with electric vehicles