Realizing Biden’s bold climate mandate will require an all-of-government effort led directly by the White House. The President-elect’s announcement of a domestic climate lead, and his choice of a proven leader like McCarthy, show that he is serious about fulfilling that mandate.
Gina McCarthy, and the new climate office that she will lead, will succeed only if they are fully empowered. This effort requires a robust mandate for the new White House domestic climate leader to convene agencies, establish accountability for all Cabinet officials, shape the federal budget, coordinate new public investments and financing authorities across every agency, and provide leadership in both policy-making and implementation. This new role must also work closely with the National Economic Council (NEC) and others to ensure that America’s economic recovery accelerates climate solutions.
Gina McCarthy’s experience and perspective make her the right person to drive the whole government’s mobilization on climate. Now it’s all hands on deck to defeat the climate crisis and rebuild a better economy.
McCarthy strongly supports an approach to climate action based on clean energy standards, investments, and environmental justice. And she recently stressed that every department in the Biden administration must center climate action and clean energy.
The Evergreen Action Plan, and Evergreen co-founders Sam Ricketts and Bracken Hendricks writing in the Democracy Journal, have previously outlined a detailed proposal for the creation of a White House climate office, along with a White House-led climate council. As part of Evergreen’s Five to Mobilize initiative, here are five things that must define the new White House climate office:
To be led by a director who is a senior-level Assistant to the President within the Executive Office of the President. To have an office and staff that are fully empowered by the president with authority to convene agencies and influence each agency’s policy and budget priorities.
To work across the federal government, and directly with states, local governments, tribal nations, industry, and civil society, to realize a Standards, Investments and Justice-driven national mobilization that is required to rebuild the economy, create and sustain millions of high-quality American jobs, and build a just and thriving clean energy future.
To work with key agencies, like the EPA and Department of Energy, in promulgating new, aggressive standards that transform each sector of the economy to realize the President-Elect’s 100% clean energy commitment. And that raises the bar on job quality, wages and benefits for workers.
To focus urgently on the deployment of capital into job-creating, community-based climate solutions, working alongside key partners like the National Economic Council (NEC) and Office of Management & Budget (OMB). Using existing funding programs, financing authorities and credit enhancements, and prioritizing new stimulus and infrastructure investments in Congress, to build a clean energy economic recovery.
To work alongside important federal partners, like the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and President-Elect Biden’s new proposed White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, to center environmental and economic justice throughout economic recovery and climate action. This includes policies and investments that directly support disadvantaged communities facing the cumulative impacts of environmental racism and historic disinvestment.