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

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

William Happer, Lover Of Carbon Dioxide, To Exit Trump Administration

09/11/19  
The White House adviser has claimed Earth is in the midst of a “CO2 famine." ...

Trump’s Interior Department is sidelining scientists, experts warn lawmakers; Virginia congressmen skip hearing

07/26/19  
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s administration has been sidelining researchers and suppressing climate change science at the U.S. Interior Department, experts warned Congress this week.  A climate change scientist and a former senior executive staffer…

New EPA rule could expand number of Trump officials weighing in on FOIA requests

By Miranda Green  Photo: Stefani Reynolds   06/25/19  
More political appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could soon have the authority to weigh in on public information requests.

Trump Administration Buries Government-Funded Studies Showing Dangers of Climate Change

06/24/19  
The Trump administration ratcheted up its open hostility to climate science in a move that may hide essential information from the nation's farmers. The administration put the kibosh on publicizing work done by the U.S.…

Agriculture Department buries studies showing dangers of climate change

By Helena Bottemiller Evich  Photo: AP and Getty Images   06/23/19  
The Trump administration has stopped promoting government-funded research into how higher temperatures can damage crops and pose health risks.

William Happer: Trump aide pushing climate denial inside the White House

By Emily Holden  Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images   06/21/19  
The physicist, 79, has a seat on the National Security Council – and thinks the science that proves global heating is wrong

Trump admin mulls sprawling Calif. wind project

By Scott Streater  Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons   06/21/19  
The Interior Department announced today it will conduct a detailed analysis of a major new proposed wind power project in Northern California, one of only a handful of large-scale wind projects the Trump administration has…

Wheeler slams Calif. regulator ahead of contentious hearing

By Maxine Joselow   06/20/19  
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler today accused a California air regulator of negotiating in bad faith over the rollback of clean car standards.
Vox

Trump’s EPA just replaced Obama’s signature climate policy with a much weaker rule

By Umair Irfan  Photo: US Environmental Protection Agency   06/19/19  
The Affordable Clean Energy rule replaces the Clean Power Plan. It could increase carbon emissions.

The Trump administration takes climate denial to new heights

By Paul Waldman   05/28/19  
Fifty or 100 years from now, we may well say that President Trump’s concerted effort to exacerbate climate change — and that’s precisely what it is — was the single worst thing he did in…

Trump Administration Is Restricting How Scientists Conduct Climate Science

05/28/19  
The Trump administration is changing the way some government agencies conduct climate science, The New York Times reported Monday, limiting them from assessing the future consequences and worst-possible outcomes of climate change.NoneFormer petroleum geologist and…

Elizabeth Warren On Climate Plan: ‘No Coal Lobbyists For Head Of EPA’

By Alexander C. Kaufman  Photo: Getty Editorial   04/22/19  
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) promised to make the Green New Deal the centerpiece of her administration’s climate policy if she’s elected president.

Senate Confirms Bernhardt as Interior Secretary Amid Calls for Investigations Into His Conduct

By Coral Davenport  Photo: Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times   04/11/19  
The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries, as secretary of the interior. The confirmation of Mr. Bernhardt to his new post coincided with calls…

Andrew Wheeler, Who Continued Environmental Rollbacks, Is Confirmed to Lead E.P.A.

By Lisa Friedman  Photo by Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times   02/28/19  
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Andrew R. Wheeler to be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, giving oversight of the nation’s air and water to a former coal lobbyist and seasoned Washington insider.