At the current rate, the Earth is on pace to warm more than 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, a threat that President-elect Joe Biden has called “existential" and one of his central priorities — even amid the devastating coronavirus pandemic and a crippled economy.
Biden says that the crisis demands a coordinated, whole-of-government response, and that the United States is running out of time. Whether he will be able to transition the country to a greener future will depend on many factors — science, money and political will, among them.
In confronting climate change, Biden won’t have a day to waste.
By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis
A year ago, amid a crowded Democratic presidential primary, no one would have mistaken Joe Biden as the field’s biggest climate crusader. But in recent days, the president-elect has demonstrated that he is prepared to deliver on his promise to pursue a more ambitious environmental agenda than any president before him — one that aspires to rapidly shrink the nation’s carbon emissions, give voice to the vulnerable communities hit hardest by pollution and create new jobs in industries helping to create a greener future.
The Paris agreement
The U.S. will soon rejoin the Paris climate accord. Then comes the hard part.
By Brady Dennis
Leaders from 75 countries gathered virtually earlier this month to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate accord and to outline more ambitious plans to cut planet-warming emissions in the critical years ahead. The one glaring absence at the event: the United States. Now, President-elect Joe Biden’s promises on climate action have no doubt provided relief to many world leaders, but he is likely to encounter a world that is wary of the strength of the United States’ commitment.
Biden has massive climate plans. Where will he find the money?
By Steven Mufson
President-elect Joe Biden is planning to pursue a costly package of climate change policies aimed at transforming the country’s economy, including the way farmers plant crops and the way automakers design engines. Biden will seek to merge the need for stimulus spending with the need for climate action — without taxing crude oil, carbon or gasoline, as previous presidents tried in vain to do. He intends to insert or earmark money for climate plans in every department budget. But marshaling political support will pose obstacles.
Biden wants to make the climate fight central. How do energy firms feel about that?
By Steven Mufson and Dino Grandoni
President-elect Joe Biden has promised a “transition” away from gas, oil and coal — the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions that have put the planet on a path toward dangerous warming. A few big oil and gas companies are thinking about what it would mean to shift — or even shrink — their businesses. The trick is to execute a transition that will reassure fossil fuel workers that their jobs won’t vanish overnight, and that’s a tightrope Biden will continue to walk as he aims to eliminate contributions to global warming by the middle of the century.
The Biden administration can’t stop wildfires. But it can make them less destructive.
By Sarah Kaplan
A century of poor forest management and unchecked climate change have pushed the West into a “new world of fire,” said Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. Traditional methods of firefighting falter in the face of such huge, unpredictable blazes. Instead, fire experts and environmental groups are hopeful that President-elect Joe Biden will adopt a more scientific approach, removing fuel from forests and shoring up community defenses to make wildfires less destructive, rather than simply trying to put them out.
It could take years for Biden to restore wildlife protections erased by Trump
By Darryl Fears
When President-elect Joe Biden takes office, he will inherit a Migratory Bird Treaty Act that no longer protects birds, a watered-down Endangered Species Act, and a policy that allows hunters in Alaska to crawl into bear and wolf dens to shoot mothers and their babies. Conservationists think President Trump has weakened federal protections for wildlife in a way that, in some cases, will take Biden years undo.