US President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday announced his nominees for key climate and energy posts, including New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland for interior secretary and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm for energy secretary.
He called his term as the “right group” to lead the government’s “ambitious” plan to address climate change, CNN reported.
Biden described his team as “barrier-busting”, and said his nominations signified the seriousness with which his administration would tackle “the existential threat of our time: climate change”.
Besides Haaland and Granholm, the President-elect announced the name of members of his climate and energy team. He has chosen Michael Regan, who runs the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, to be his nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
If confirmed by the Senate, Regan would be the first Black man to hold that position. Biden also named Brenda Mallory, an environmental lawyer, to be his nominee to chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality, CNN reported.
The President-elect has named Gina McCarthy, a former head of the EPA, as his national climate adviser, and Ali Zaidi, a climate expert, and longtime Biden adviser, to serve as deputy national climate adviser.
“Folks, we’re in a crisis. Just like we need to be a unified nation in response to Covid-19, we need a unified national response to climate change,” Biden said in remarks from Wilmington, Del. “We need to meet the moment with the urgency it demands as we would during any national emergency,” he added.
Biden touted his ambitious climate plan, which seeks to end carbon emissions from power plants by 2035 and proposes broader public investment in green infrastructure, including USD 2 trillion for clean energy projects. He spoke about creating jobs, modernizing the nation’s water, transportation and energy infrastructures, turning the country toward electric vehicles, and lowering the nation’s carbon emissions.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris praised the nominees and appointees as some of the country’s “most seasoned public servants,” and described them as not only experienced and knowledgeable but also “compassionate leaders”.
“Our climate crisis is not a partisan issue, and it is not a hoax,” Harris said at the event. “It is an existential threat to all of us, particularly poor communities and communities of color who bear the greatest risks from polluted air, polluted water, and a failing infrastructure,” she added.
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