Joe Biden is selecting a large, experienced and diversified team to carry out his ambitious program to address climate change. Among them are John Kerry, the former secretary of state; Gina McCarthy, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency; Jennifer Granholm, once the governor of Michigan; and Deb Haaland, a member of Congress who would be the first Native American named to a president’s Cabinet.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless discusses the Biden administration’s climate change goals and his planned appointments with Carol Browner, who spearheaded climate policy for President Barack Obama following his inauguration in 2009.
With a long and distinguished career in environmental and energy policy and regulation at the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House, Carol brings unique insight to the challenges of implementing new policies and the wherewithal that’s needed to make it happen.
Carol now is a senior counselor in the sustainability practice at the Allbright Stonebridge Group, or ASG, where she advises clients on environmental impact, sustainable strategies, and partnerships. But her roles in government go back some 30 years.
From 2009 to 2011, she was an assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, where she oversaw the coordination of environmental, energy, climate, transport and related policy across the federal government. During that time, the White House secured the largest investment ever in clean energy and established a national car policy that included both new fuel efficiency standards and the first-ever greenhouse gas reductions.
From 1993 through 2001, she was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, where she adopted the most stringent air pollution standards in U.S. history and set for the first time a clean air standard for fine particulates. Her stint at EPA is the longest ever for an administrator at that agency.
She had state experience, as well, having served as secretary of environmental regulation in Florida from 1991 through 1993.
Among her other involvements, she’s the chair of the board of the League of Conservation Voters.
Among the topics that Carol and Bill cover are the challenges the Biden administration faces in fulfilling its sweeping plans to address climate change as well as the roles that his appointments of Kerry, McCarthy and others will play in that undertaking. They also talk about the outlook for congressional action on climate change at a time when Biden and lawmakers will also be consumed with addressing a pandemic and economic troubles, not to mention the repercussions of President Trump’s impeachment.
It has now been just over a year since the US signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act and already, it has been followed by more than US $110 billion in clean energy investments.
Rising debt levels and the ravages wrought by climate change present acute threats to achieving sustainable development goals in emerging market and developing economies.
As the world races to transition to cleaner energy sources, there exists a substantial gap between the financing required for this transition and the actual investments being made.