Biden Cabinet Climate Tracker

To defeat the climate crisis, every agency of the federal government must become a climate agency. Evergreen Action is calling on every Biden cabinet and agency nominee to detail their plans on climate change as part of their confirmation hearings.

We will keep track of each nominee’s commitments as part of our Biden Cabinet Climate Tracker.

During the transition, Evergreen released “Five to Mobilize,” a series of five actions that each agency should take as part of an all-of-government mobilization to defeat climate change.

Upcoming Hearings:

  • Wednesday, February 3 at 10am ET: Miguel Cardona for Sec. of Education
  • Wednesday, February 3 at 2pm ET: Michael Regan for EPA Administrator
  • Thursday, February 4 at 10am ET: Marty Walsh for Sec. of Labor

Completed Hearings (listed chronologically):

The Department of Treasury

Five to Mobilize: Department of Treasury

Nominee: Janet Yellen — confirmed on January 25
Hearing Date: Tuesday, January 19 — complete
Committee: Senate Finance

Top Quote 1: (Timestamp: 0:55; relates to Evergreen’s Five to Mobilize recommendation: “Champion Investments in a Clean Energy Economic Recovery”)

YELLEN: “[Climate change] is one of the most critical issues facing our country and the world, and it poses an existential threat. It will be a focus of President-elect Biden and his entire administration. The infrastructure plan he’ll come forward with will include investing in clean tech, electric vehicles, etc… in the process of addressing this very significant challenge, there’s also the opportunity to create jobs. Treasury will look at how we can direct investment and give private firms the info they need to support sustainable investing.”

Top Quote 2: (Timestamp: 2:13; relates to Evergreen’s Five to Mobilize recommendation: “Build Standing Capacity to Address Systemic Climate Risk”)

SEN. WHITEHOUSE: “Economists have warned of a carbon bubble clobbering the US economy. How will you staff addressing climate at the most senior level?”

YELLEN: “I will create a hub in which we particularly focus on financial system related risks and tax policy toward climate change. We need to seriously look at addressing risks to the financial system from CC. The Fed is joining a network greening the financial system.”

W: “How seriously should we take warnings of systemic risk, coastal property risks, etc?”

Y: “We should take these risks very, very seriously. CC is an existential threat, both its impact and policies to address it could have major changes in terms of stranded assets, credit risks.”

W: “And systemic risk is a very powerful phrase, but it conveys the right message, doesn’t it?”

Y: “Yes, it does.”

The Department of Homeland Security

Nominee: Alejandro Mayorkas
Hearing Date: Tuesday, January 19 — complete
Committee: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

The Department of State

Five to Mobilize: The Department of State

Nominee: Antony Blinken — confirmed on January 26
Hearing Date: Tuesday, January 19 — complete
Committee: Senate Foreign Relations

The Department of Defense

Five to Mobilize: Department of Defense

Nominee: Lloyd Austin — confirmed on January 22
Hearing Date: Tuesday, January 19 — complete
Committee: Senate Armed Services Committee

The Department of Transportation

Five to Mobilize: The Department of Transportation

Nominee: Pete Buttigieg — confirmed February 2
Hearing Date: Thursday, January 21 — complete
Committee: Senate Commerce

The Department of Commerce

Five to Mobilize: The Department of Commerce

Nominee: Gina Raimondo
Hearing Date: Tuesday, January 26 — complete
Committee: Senate Commerce

The Department of Energy

Five to Mobilize: The Department of Energy

Nominee: Jennifer Granholm
Hearing Date: Wednesday, January 27— complete
Committee: Senate Energy and Natural Resources

Top Quote: (Timestamp: 30:00)

Granholm: “Michigan is a place where workers could have a house and two cars and enough left over to take their family on vacation to a cottage on a lake up north, all because they had a good job in a factory. Then the bottom dropped out. The recession and the auto bankruptcies hit, and at that time our unemployment rate was the highest in the nation. In Detroit it was 25%.

Because we had such an auto dependent state, I knew we had to diversify, both inside the auto industry, and outside the auto industry. When I say inside I mean, we built car 1.0 and we had to build car 2.0, the electric vehicle, including the guts to that vehicle, which is the battery. And diversifying outside the auto industry we had to create new jobs in new sectors, and the most promising of those sectors was in clean energy. And so, we went to work. And today, one-third of all North American battery production is in Michigan. Michigan is one of the top five states for clean energy patents, and 126,000 Michiganders were working in the clean energy sector before COVID-19 hit.

This is a sector that every single state can benefit from. The products that reduce carbon emissions are going to create a $23 trillion global market by 2030. That is a massive opportunity. So we can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America. We can install wind turbines from Denmark, or we can make them in America. We can allow other countries to corner the market on carbon reduction technologies, like carbon capture utilization and storage, or we can put our workers in good-paying jobs manufacturing and installing those solutions in America. And we can export them all as well.”

The Department of Agriculture

Five to Mobilize: The Department of Agriculture

Nominee: Tom Vilsack
Hearing Date: Tuesday, February 2— complete
Committee: Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

Top Quote 1: (Timestamp: 0:31; Relates to Evergreen’s Five to Mobilize recommendations #2 and #4 — Investing in Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices to Make Farming Pay and Direct USDA Resources to Promote Agricultural Innovation, Research and Commercialization)

There are many solutions you propose that could be implemented administratively. For example, a farmer advisory group, making sure we can measure emissions reductions, making sure they accrue to the benefit of farmers, making sure our conservation programs include incentives, making sure we preserve soil health, and making sure we up our game on research. Agriculture is the first and best way to begin getting some wins in the climate area.”

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