As part of the Foreign Press Centers’ “*Combatting the Climate Crisis through U.S. Innovations Virtual Reporting Tour Love News reporter Hipolito Novelo was briefed by the *White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy. McCarthy is the “first national climate advisor, the President’s chief advisor on domestic climate policy and leads the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, which is focused on mobilizing a whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis by creating good-paying union jobs and securing environmental justice.” She has been at the forefront of environmental and public health progress in a variety of leading roles for over three decades. In her briefing, McCarthy, spoke of the US domestic climate policy goals.
Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor: “Over the past 100 days, the first 100 days of this administration, we met with and listened to constituents all across the country in order to be prepared to have a plan in place on Earth Day. And to be able to identify the kind of opportunities we have to deliver a strong NDC. And in effect when we looked at these sectors we saw a variety of different pathways across all of them and using policy levers across the federal state and local levels that would really deliver a growing economy and reduce our emissions consistent with the NDC goal of 50 to 52%. And I think that’s just consistent with President Biden’s commitment from day one that he saw that tackling the climate crisis presented an important and necessary unnecessary opportunity to grow our economy. And the fact is, that when we invest in the competitiveness of our industry and we empower US workers we believe that we will build a more resilient and sustainable infrastructure, and that that’s going to compel us and propel us to actually move forward to lead to innovative manufacturing as well as exports of clean energy technology. In short, we are hoping to win the future. In some ways for my team, you know, every day since January 20, has been Earth Day and jobs day and it should be. Every week we’ve been talking about the President’s commitment in his jobs plan, American Jobs plan to infrastructure investments that are going to be vital to moving this clean energy future forward and to the creation of millions of new jobs. We have marshalled the whole of government approach, we have terrific cabinet members who are excited to be part of this effort and and this is not being presented to them or to the public or to anyone, frankly, as as opportunities to address an existential threat as much as they are opportunities to make our world healthier and safer today and to grow an economy that’s going to allow us to address this existential threat.”
As part of its policy, the Biden Administration has developed the American Jobs Plan which will see an investment in excess of two trillion dollars.
Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor: “We’re looking at workers in energy communities, capping abandoned wells and reclaiming mines and stopping methane leaks; that’s happening, now that’s funded now we’re going to move that and ramp that forward. We’re talking about our auto makers, building modern efficient electric vehicles and charging infrastructure that we’re going to support through the American Jobs plan. We’re talking about engineers and construction workers expanding carbon capture and also investing in the innovation opportunities with green hydrogen so we can forge cleaner steel and cement. And we’re talking about farmers using cutting edge smart technology and tools to make American soil the next frontier of carbon innovation. So we’re excited to the American Jobs plan is in excess of two trillion dollars that we expect to be invested in these efforts. Clean energy as a foundation of that plan and we’re doing that to make sure not just that we meet the moment that we are in which necessitates bold action but Joe Biden, President Biden, is unwavering on his focus on people, on the air that they breathe and keeping them healthy, on the strength of our communities and building and investing in environmental justice communities. So we close that wealth gap that we are seeing increasing and start building middle class again and he is convinced that dignity comes with good work and jobs we create and that we will be able to move together with hope and with opportunity because this is the day for investing in our country and for bringing our country back to the table with our international partners.”
Andrew Wishnia Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy for the Department of Transport joined the briefing, Wishnia spoke about the Biden-Harris administration’s climate policy priorities at the Department of Transportation.
Andrew Wishnia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy: “We want to reduce emissions to the greatest extent possible but we also want to reduce waste to the greatest extent possible as well. So hopefully, you know, as kind of a topper, that’s a helpful construct for folks to think about our North Star net zero emissions by 2050. How are we thinking about creating options to reduce trips, shift trips, and and obviously all of that has to be, you know, undergirded with a strong performance management regime. And by that, I mean, in in the United States as part of a surface transportation law that was passed in, in 2012, map 21, there was a performance management regime that was stood up by a law called mat 21 and that had certain performance measures and in targets, and so we’re looking at that law and in sort of ways to consider updates to, to that law as well. In it kind of reflects the old adage, you, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. So we’re looking at ways to to measure, you know, greenhouse gas emissions on our transportation system, both through sort of that regime, and through also better climate modeling, better data. And so that’s kind of the way that, you know, we’re thinking about policy and in some fashion, but just as important as the policy, I also kind of wanted to talk about the the process. And so we’ve stood up kind of this policy regime and a lot of that was at the President’s direction- there were a couple of executive orders that were released in the first couple of months of the administration and that gave us a number of do outs, which I can talk about through q&a further, but just in the essence of time, you know, equally as important, I think to us is to our time in office, you knowmy time in office is not necessarily just creating priorities and initiatives though that’s important but also thinking of ways that we can really institutionalize and embed climate practices across the Department of Transportation