Before you do anything else, the EPA Climate Tracker is Back!!!

CABINET

CABINET

President George Washington created the Cabinet by having meetings with three advisers, but James Madison gave the group its enduring name. Today, the President’s Cabinet has expanded from three to fifteen, including the Vice President. Cabinet members determine the order of succession should the President pass away or be unable to serve — the Secretary of State, for example, follows the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and President pro tempore of the Senate — but they are also heads of their own Executive Departments. Cabinet members are nominated by the President and require a majority vote from the Senate to be confirmed.

Examples include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Transportation. The presidentially-appointed Secretaries of each Department develop, enforce, and oversee federal regulations. Because climate change touches every single aspect of our lives, the position of every government leader towards climate change has significant consequence; however, there are certain positions, like Head of the Department of Energy and the Department of Interior, where this connection is especially explicit.

It is for this reason that, on occasion, the relationship between a Cabinet member and private interests have drawn public ire. For example, it doesn’t sit well that Dan Brouillette, the Secretary of Energy under President Trump, was a former lobbyist for Ford Motor Company. Similarly, Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, was a former lobbyist for oil and gas companiesThese conflicts of interest are undoubtedly connected to the approximately 100 environmental rollbacks that occurred under President Trump.

Most of these rollbacks came from the Environmental Protection Agency, then headed by Andrew Wheeler. While the EPA Administrator is not a part of the Cabinet, the position has Cabinet-level rank, and also has regulatory power. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, continued trends set by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (who was also appointed by Trump and one who does not believe in scientific evidence supporting climate change) to aggressively challenge Obama-era environmental regulations. As Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA under Obama vocalized, rollbacks that allow for increased pollution exacerbate the threat of Covid-19, particularly for marginalized populations who are more likely to live in areas with poor air quality and less likely to have access to health insurance.

Many of President Joe Biden’s climate team have been announced.

  • John Kerry has been, a cabinet level post named special presidential envoy on climate change with a seat on the National Security Council. Kerry helped write and steer the negotiation of the Paris Agreement, and the appointment signals Joe Biden’s commitment to the climate crisis.
  • Jennifer Granholm will be the Energy Secretary. A former governor of Michigan, she is currently teaching at UC Berkeley and will be the second woman to run the 14,000-employee department, long focused on maintaining the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. She has long advocated for renewable energy sources.
  • Michael Regan will run the EPA, and will be responsible for crafting fuel-efficiency standards for the nation’s cars and trucks, overseeing emissions from power plants and oil and gas facilities, and cleaning up the country’s most polluted sites.
  • Deb Haaland, if confirmed, will be the Interior Secretary. Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, will be in charge of an agency that has tremendous sway over the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes as well as over much of the nation’s vast public lands, waterways, wildlife, national parks and mineral wealth.
  • David Hayes, will be special assistant to the president for climate policy, coming to the Biden White House with a background in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, as deputy secretary at the Department of the Interior.
  • Brenda Mallory will be the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, and  brings deep and versatile expertise working directly with communities and partners across the public and private sectors to solve climate challenges and advance environmental protection and environmental justice.
  • Gina McCarthy will be the first-ever National Climate Advisor. McCarthy will head up the newly formed White House Office of Climate Policy, where she will drive an “all of government” approach to combating climate change. A leading voice on climate and environmental issues for more than 30 years, she will oversee the National Climate Task Force, which President Biden created as part of a series of executive actions during his first week in office.
  • Ali Zaidi will be Deputy National Climate Advisor, Zaidi helped draft and implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Climate Action Plan and negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition

02/24/22
Demand for clean energy technologies such as wind turbines and batteries for electric vehicles has increased significantly as technology costs have plummeted over the last decade and countries seek to diversify their energy systems with…

Investing in a Clean Energy Future: Solar Energy Research, Deployment, and Workforce Priorities

09/13/21
The immediate need for action on climate change has been made clear in the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Limiting the rise in global temperatures would help avoid future catastrophic…

Climate Change Indicators in the United States

05/18/21
The Earth's climate is changing. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events – like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures – are already happening. Many of these observed…

Vineyard Wind

05/16/21
The Departments of the Interior and Commerce announced the approval of the construction and operation of the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the United States, located offshore Massachusetts. The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind energy project…

Climate Change Adaptation: Department of the Interior

03/02/21
The Department of the Interior (DOI) and many agencies within it, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and U.S. Geological…

Tracking turnover in the Trump administration

01/01/20
The rate of turnover among senior level advisers to President Trump has generated a great deal of attention. Below, we offer four resources to help measure and contextualize this turnover. The first set of resources…

The Cabinet

01/27/19
Established in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, the Cabinet’s role is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of each member’s respective office.

MORE NEWS

Solution for Pollutions

09/15/22  
President Biden promised to address the climate crisis by cutting climate pollution in half by 2030 and to deliver strong public health protections for all communities, including those historically overburdened by pollution.

Climate law: What to watch at Interior, FERC and DOE

By Heather Richards and Others  Photo: Francis Chung, E&E News   09/12/22  
The Department of Energy, Interior Department and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are grappling with how to implement the landmark climate law and carry out President Joe Biden’s priorities for shifting the country towards low-carbon energy.…

To decarbonize industry, DOE makes road map

By Robert Walton  Photo: Archaea Energy   09/08/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday published an industrial decarbonization road map, laying out a comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions associated with five sectors: chemical manufacturing, petroleum refining, iron and steel, cement production, and…

White House policies rescued U.S. economy, Treasury’s Yellen says

By Chelsey Cox  Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP   09/08/22  
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen praised Biden administration’s economic policies Thursday during a speech at a Ford Motor Company electric vehicle plant in Michigan.

The Department of Energy wants feedback on how to recycle lithium-ion batteries

By Justine Calma  Photo: Akio Kon, Getty Images   08/30/22  
The Department of Energy just took a first step toward launching new lithium-ion battery recycling programs in the US. It issued a Request for Information (RFI) yesterday to ask for public input on how to…

EPA tells 15 states they missed air pollution plan deadline

By Zack Budryk  Photo: Thinkstock   08/29/22  
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued notices to 15 states for failure to submit plans for air pollution reduction, four months after a lawsuit on the matter from a coalition of environmental groups. In…

DOE begins accepting applications for $425M in major boost to state clean energy funding

By Robert Walton  Photo: Mingzhe Zhang, Getty Images   08/29/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday announced a significant expansion to its state energy program and is now accepting applications for $425 million in formula funding for the development of renewable resources, efficiency improvements,…

DOE Announces $540 Million for Technologies to Transform Energy Production and Cut Emissions

08/25/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced more than $540 million in awards for university- and National Laboratory-led research into clean energy technologies and low-carbon manufacturing. Most greenhouse-gas emissions come from the production and…

The EPA Just Quietly Got Stronger

By Robinson Meyer   08/24/22  
All carrots, no sticks. That is the story of the Inflation Reduction Act. Since the law was unveiled last month, savvy commentators have noted that its policies consist almost entirely of “carrots,” incentives meant to…

Greens ask EPA to ban new natural gas heating

By Rachel Frazin   08/23/22  
Environmental advocates are asking the Biden administration for a federal ban on new natural gas-powered heating appliances in homes and commercial buildings. In a petition submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday, 26…

Biden appoints Robinson to DOE grid office after GOP pushback against previous nomination

By Catherine Morehouse   07/19/22  
Maria Robinson, whose name was withdrawn to lead the DOE Office of Electricity just last month after Republican criticism, has been appointed again by the White House.

Four ways the United States can still fight climate change

By Coral Davenport  Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times   07/15/22  
With the president’s most potent tools to fight climate change stripped by Congress and the courts, the administration will now have to rely on smaller, less powerful actions.

Energy Department to fund initiatives focused on ‘barriers’ to clean energy tech

By Rachel Frazin   07/14/22  
While the department selects Technology Commercialization Fund projects each year, an energy official told The Hill that this year the department was taking a “new approach” that doesn’t target specific kinds of energy like wind…

Biden administration unveils new funding for domestic solar manufacturing

By Reuters  Photo: Mike Blake, Reuters   07/14/22  
The Biden administration on Thursday said it would pour $56 million into programs aimed at spurring domestic manufacturing of solar energy products as the U.S. seeks to move its clean energy sector away from a…

DOE Awards $14 Million to Improve Climate Change Predictions

07/07/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $14 million in funding for 22 projects aimed at improving climate change predictions. As extreme weather events and impacts of climate change continue to escalate, the research…
tti

USDOT announces proposed greenhouse gas emission reduction framework

By Tom Stone   07/07/22  
The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for states and municipalities to track and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Biden opens door to more offshore drilling, despite earlier climate vow

By Dino Grandoni and Others  Photo: Luke Sharrett   07/01/22  
President Biden’s administration opened the door Friday to more offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters over the next five years, setting a potential course for future U.S. fossil fuel extraction just a day…

Biden admin to hold first onshore drilling auctions in blow to climate agenda

By Reuters  Photo: Evelyn Hockstein   06/29/22  
The U.S. Interior Department this week will hold its first onshore oil and gas auctions since President Joe Biden took office, a setback to his administration's early efforts to end federal drilling to fight climate…

Biden to pause new solar tariffs as White House encourages adoption

By Ana Swanson, David Gelles and Jim Tankersley  Photo: Erin Schaff/The New York Times   06/06/22  
The Commerce Department had been considering whether to impose the tariffs as part of a trade case against Chinese companies.

Biden administration to cut costs for wind and solar energy projects

By Lisa Friedman  Photo: Noah Berger/Associated Press   06/01/22  
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the government would sharply reduce the fees it charges to companies that operate on public lands.

SEC extends deadline for public to comment on climate risk proposal

By Rachel Frazin   05/09/22  
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) extended how long the public will have to weigh in on a proposal that would require companies to reveal their vulnerabilities and contributions to climate change.

Interior Dept. Report on Drilling Is Mostly Silent on Climate Change

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman  Photo: Steve Nesius , Reuters   11/26/21  
The Interior Department on Friday recommended that the federal government raise the fees that oil and gas companies pay to drill on public lands — the first increase in those rent and royalty rates since…

White House creates new energy division to help craft climate change policies

By Maxine Joselow  Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post   11/24/21  
The announcement, scheduled for Wednesday, illustrates that the White House is racing to fulfill President Biden’s ambitious commitments to combat climate change, particularly as Republicans ramp up their attacks on the administration over high gas…

Jigar Shah has a new strategy to boost climatetech through DOE loans

By Jeff St. John  Photo: Miljøstiftelsen   11/15/21  
Jigar Shah has spent his private-sector career working to bring once-unfinanceable long-shot clean technologies to multibillion-dollar commercial scale, from utility-scale solar at SunEdison to community solar, electric buses and other ​“sustainable infrastructure” projects at Generate…

Biden, other G-20 world leaders formally endorse groundbreaking global corporate minimum tax

By Jeff Stein  Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images   10/30/21  
The new global minimum tax of 15 percent aims to reverse the decades-long decline in tax rates on corporations across the world.
DOE

DOE Awards $20 Million to Help States Deploy Carbon Capture and Storage

10/15/21  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $20 million in funding to four projects working to accelerate the regional deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). The projects, representing all four corners of…

CEQ chief touts climate goals, laments ‘ping-ponging policy’

By Pamela King  Photo: Francis Chung/E&E News   10/13/21  
The president’s top environmental adviser said today that she is laser-focused on addressing planet-warming emissions while preserving some stability for regulated industries. Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, told an…

DOE commits $20M to create clean hydrogen from nuclear power with Palo Verde project

By Scott Van Voorhis   10/12/21  
The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday unveiled plans to spend $20 million on research into the production of clean hydrogen from nuclear power. The money will help pay for a demonstration project by PNW…
EPA

EPA Releases Draft Strategic Plan to Address Climate Change and Advance Environmental Justice and Equity

10/01/21  
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that its Draft Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-2026 EPA Strategic Plan has been published in the Federal Register and is available for public comment through November 12, 2021. The Strategic…

The International Energy Agency Aims for Net-Zero by 2024

By Sami Grover  Photo: PBNJ Productions / Getty Images   09/30/21  
Whether it’s promoting building efficiency or pushing for renewables, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has been talking about decarbonization for quite some time. Now the agency is putting what it preaches into practice, announcing a…

USDA pledges billions for climate-smart farm projects, resilience

By Marc Heller   09/29/21  
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today he’ll use billions of dollars from a Depression-era agency to pay for a carbon-saving program for farms, and to help farmers prepare for drought and adverse weather associated with…
EPA

U.S. Will Dramatically Cut Climate-Damaging Greenhouse Gases

09/23/21  
Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule establishing a comprehensive program to cap and phase down the production and consumption of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the United States. HFCs are…
DOE

DOE Announces $12 Million to Boost Geothermal Energy Research

09/22/21  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $12 million in funding for seven research projects to advance the commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) — manmade reservoirs that produce clean, renewable energy. EGS development…

U.S. Climate Equity Office Debuts, But With a Tiny Budget

By Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News  Photo: Luke Sharrett Getty Images   09/13/21  
It aims to help communities become more resilient to climate change, particularly its health impacts

House Energy Panel Seeks Billions For EPA To Cut GHGs, Air Pollution

09/10/21  
The House Energy & Commerce Committee is poised to mark up budget reconciliation measures Sept. 13 that would appropriate billions of dollars for EPA to cut greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, while also imposing…

U.S. Department of Energy Announces More Than $64 Million for Biofuels Research to Reduce Transportation Emissions

09/09/21  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $64 million in funding for 22 projects focused on developing technologies and processes that produce low-cost, low-carbon biofuels. Biofuels are made up of renewable resources and…

DOE Announces Nearly $65 Million for Biofuels Research to Reduce Airplane and Ship Emissions

09/09/21  
As part of a White House roundtable to launch the Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) Grand Challenge to decarbonize the aviation sector by 2050, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $64.7 million in funding for projects focused on producing cost-effective, low-carbon biofuels. These investments will advance technologies to create replacements for petroleum fuels used in heavy-duty forms of…

Solar Could Be the Keystone of Biden’s Decarbonization Plans

By Eduardo Garcia   09/09/21  
The U.S. could rely on solar energy to produce 40% of its electricity by 2035, an effort that would lead to a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, the Biden administration said in a new energy…

Biden’s First Big Swing at Cooling the Planet: HFCs Explained

By Stephen Lee  Photo: Jayme Gershen, Getty Images   09/05/21  
The EPA has proposed a rule phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a potent contributor to global warming—and the Biden administration’s first major attempt at tackling climate change. It’s the first time the Environmental Protection…
HHS

HHS Establishes Office of Climate Change and Health Equity

08/30/21  
Protecting Americans’ health and well-being has always been at the heart of fighting climate change, and now for the first time, its importance is being elevated at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…

UC Berkeley scientist Patrick Gonzalez to advise White House on climate change and biodiversity

By Jacob Shea  Photo: Al Golub   08/30/21  
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has appointed University of California, Berkeley, scientist Patrick Gonzalez as assistant director for climate and biodiversity. The OSTP advises the president, vice president and the…

Biden Opens New Federal Office for Climate Change, Health and Equity

By Lisa Friedman  Photo: Nathan Howard/Associated Press   08/30/21  
Amid deadly heat waves and new evidence showing that wildfire smoke may contribute to premature births, the Biden administration is creating a new federal office to address the health consequences of climate change and their…

U.S. begins detaining solar panel imports over concerns about forced labor in China

By Jeanne Whalen  Photo: Qilai Shen , Bloomberg News   08/27/21  
U.S. officials have begun blocking the import of solar panels that they believe could be products of forced labor in China, implementing a recent ban that could slow construction of solar-energy projects throughout the country.

How Should the Fed Deal With Climate Change?

By Neil Irwin  Photo: Lexey Swall for The New York Times   08/26/21  
The climate crisis is at high risk of becoming an economic crisis. That is an increasingly widespread view among leading economic thinkers — that a range of economic and financial problems could result from a…

FEMA overhauls the National Flood Insurance Program for climate change

By Diana Olick   08/18/21  
Climate change and its devastating impact are accelerating faster than ever, according to a new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Hurricanes are becoming stronger, rainfall heavier and flood risk higher.…

‘Climate change is going to cost us’: How the US military is preparing for harsher environments

By Andrew Eversden   08/09/21  
The aftermath of Hurricane Florence dumping 36 inches of rain on North Carolina in 2018 saw three Marine Corps installations flooded, costing taxpayers $3.6 billion in damage. A few weeks later, Hurricane Michael ripped through…

FEMA Knows a Lot About Climate-Driven Flooding

By James Bruggers  Photo: Michael S. Williamson , Getty Images   08/04/21  
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been collecting a lot of information about flood risks across America, including the increased risk of flooding linked to climate change. But the agency has not effectively used…

EPA announces new members of science board after firing Trump appointees

By Rachel Frazin   08/02/21  
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday announced the new members of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) after previously firing the board members who had been appointed during the Trump administration.

Democrats’ ‘Hot FERC Summer’ campaign aims to boost FERC’s visibility on Capitol Hill

By Catherine Morehouse   07/21/21  
What do the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, rapper Megan Thee Stallion and climate change have in common? They're all tied to a new campaign launched on the House floor Tuesday intended to boost FERC's visibility…

DOE Quietly Backs Plan for Carbon Capture Network Larger Than Entire Oil Pipeline System

By Sharon Kelly  Photo: Kilian Munch   07/18/21  
An organization run by former Obama-era Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, with the backing of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 56 labor unions, has created a policy “blueprint” to build a nationwide pipeline network capable of carrying a gigaton of…