Confirm Climate is a coordinated campaign from the nation’s top climate advocacy groups to support President Joe Biden’s top nominees for more than 50 climate-related positions across federal agencies. Confirm Climate amplifies the environmental community’s voice to ensure that science and expertise prevail in the selection of nominees for these key positions. Climate action has never been more urgent, and President Biden’s Cabinet will be the Climate Change Makers responsible for implementing his ambitious plan to protect our climate and public health.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
The mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect public health and the environment. The EPA works to ensure all people have clean air, land and water; to implement and enforce our nation’s bedrock environmental laws and defend the health and environment of the American people; to reduce environmental risks based on the best available scientific information; to provide the public with accurate information that empowers communities to effectively manage public health and environmental risks and hold polluters accountable; to clean up and revitalize contaminated lands and toxic sites; and to review marketplace chemicals for public safety.
The EPA must take bold action to usher in a new generation of health and environmental safeguards to swiftly reduce climate and health harming pollution from our nation’s largest sources – especially in overburdened communities that disproportionately suffer from harmful pollution – and to create good jobs in manufacturing and deploying clean energy technologies. Over the past several years, the Trump administration and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler have committed an all-out assault on vital climate and public health safeguards. From rolling back life-saving clean car standards, to undermining protections on mercury and other harmful air pollutants from power plants, to attacking limits on methane and smog-forming pollution from the oil and gas sector, the Trump administration flagrantly ignored science and the rule of law to attack policies that protect America’s health and environment. The Biden Administration nominees must return EPA to its core mission and enforce public health and environmental protections that are violated by industry and others. However, merely undoing the Trump administration’s attacks will not be enough: the Biden Administration’s nominees must also take ambitious and urgently-needed action to ensure a safer climate and healthier environment for all Americans, to advance environmental justice, and to encourage job creation and growth in the clean energy economy.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) mission is to conserve and manage America’s public lands, water, wildlife and energy resources, and honor the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities.
After selling off America’s public lands to the highest bidder and eviscerating waterway protections, the Trump Interior Department showed they were more interested in supporting the special interests of the oil and gas industry. Biden Administration nominees will be expected to protect public lands and our natural resources from dangerous pollution and uncontrolled exploration and extraction.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
The mission of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.
Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice has become increasingly politicized at the highest levels. The role of the Attorney General has traditionally been to serve as an independent defender of the law of the land. However, Trump’s Attorney General, Bill Barr, has served as an advocate for Trump’s political agenda. Biden Administration nominees will be expected to return integrity to the department and to focus on environmental and equal justice for all.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
The Department of Commerce is responsible for promoting the economic growth of our nation, working with businesses and workers to do so. Part of its mission is to plan for sustainable development and tackle long-term threats to our prosperity. This includes climate change, which stands to harm our long-term economic growth, infrastructure, and public health.
The Department of Commerce must continue to provide communities and businesses with the tools and information they need to respond to the climate crisis. That starts with following science when providing guidance, not appointing science deniers to key agency positions. Biden Administration nominees will be expected to believe in the science of climate change and to incorporate science into department policies.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) oversees our nation’s national security and Armed Forces. National security experts have identified climate change as a threat to our security, impacting our military readiness, increasing troop threats and jeopardizing military installations. In 2019, the agency reported that two-thirds of U.S. military installations are currently at risk of flooding, droughts, or wildfires linked directly to climate change.
To keep our nation safe at home and abroad, we need to treat climate change like the national security threat it is and have a plan to take action.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
The mission of the Department of Energy is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. Addressing the effects of climate change is a top priority of the Energy Department. As global temperatures rise, wildfires, drought, and high electricity demand put stress on the nation’s energy infrastructure. And severe weather — the leading cause of power outages and fuel supply disruption in the United States — is projected to worsen, with eight of the 10 most destructive hurricanes of all time having happened in the last 10 years.
To fight climate change, the Energy Department supports research and innovation to cut carbon pollution, develop domestic renewable energy production and win the global race for clean energy innovation. They are also working to dramatically increase the efficiency of appliances, homes, businesses and vehicles.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was established to ensure America has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world, which boosts our economic productivity and global competitiveness and enhances the quality of life in communities both rural and urban. The agency administers laws designed to address safety, innovation, and infrastructure challenges.
The transportation sector is responsible for America’s largest source of carbon pollution that exacerbates climate change. The Department of Transportation, along with EPA, sets the standards for fuel efficiency and pollution from vehicles.
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's mission is to maintain a strong economy and create economic and job opportunities by promoting the conditions that enable economic growth and stability at home and abroad. The agency is also charged with managing the U.S. Government’s finances and resources effectively, including the distribution of any further COVID-19 stimulus funds.
In its 2014 “Climate Change Adaptation Plan,” the agency noted, “Our goal is to develop practical, nationally consistent, legally justifiable, and cost effective measures, both structural and nonstructural, to reduce our vulnerability, while increasing our resilience to climate change.” Over the last four years, the agency abandoned this goal.
Moving forward, an economic policy that recognizes the need to address climate change will be critical in implementing the Biden administration unprecedented climate plan. The Treasury Department will be charged with integrating the goals of jump starting the American economy with taking aggressive action to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.
SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE
The special presidential envoy for climate is a new cabinet-level position created by the Biden administration. The special presidential envoy for climate will advise the President Biden on foreign climate policy matters and will help return the US to its position as a global climate leader. This position does not require Senate confirmation.
NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISOR
The national climate advisor is a newly created post within the incoming Biden administration. The national climate advisor will help to coordinate climate efforts at all levels of the administration, ensuring a smooth implementation of President Joe Biden’s ambitious climate plan. This position does not require Senate confirmation.