(Image courtesy of Celine Choi)

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President Joe Biden takes his first steps toward environmental reform

President Joe Biden was sworn into office last Wednesday in an unprecedented inauguration. Now, America is keeping a close eye on President Biden in his first 100 days as POTUS. On his first day, Biden has signed 17 executive orders in hopes of undoing policies enacted by former President Trump. Many of his first actions…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/ceshch03/" target="_self">Celine Choi</a>

Celine Choi

January 25, 2021

President Joe Biden was sworn into office last Wednesday in an unprecedented inauguration. Now, America is keeping a close eye on President Biden in his first 100 days as POTUS.

On his first day, Biden has signed 17 executive orders in hopes of undoing policies enacted by former President Trump. Many of his first actions had to do with climate change and environmental preservation.

Up until his final days in office, Donald Trump pushed to sell leases for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Yet with backlash from environmentalists and indigenous activists as well as the overwhelming risk that comes with investing in the oil drilling industry in the first place.

Last Wednesday, President Joe Biden put a temporary halt to the leasing and oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Although leasing cannot completely be stopped by the Biden administration as it is required under the 2017 tax reform bill, Biden could potentially delay and hinder drilling efforts through legal challenges. 

The Keystone XL pipeline, another environmentally harmful project that began under the Trump Administration, planned to help transport from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Permits for this 1200 mile long pipeline were first rejected under President Obama only to be reinstated by Trump despite the fact that other than legal and economic obstacles, the oil industry’s profitability is rapidly declining.

Biden overturned the construction permit for the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline just as he claimed he intended to do during his campaign. 

Biden has also signed documents to rejoin the Paris climate accord which consists of almost 200 signatories in the largest global effort to address climate change. Just four years ago, Trump began the withdrawal process and formally left the agreement in 2019.

Although it will take about 30 days for the United States to officially be able to rejoin the Paris agreement, French President Macron welcomes the United States back in a Twitter message and said: “It is together that we can succeed in meeting the challenges of our time. It is all together that we can change the climate situation by taking action for our planet.” 

The Paris Climate Agreement is a “legally binding international treaty” working towards a goal of limiting “global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.” With the United States being the second-largest emitter of carbon and greenhouse gases after China as well as being one of the most influential world powers, the presence of the US in climate action is crucial to benefit the global cause.

Other than environmental preservation, the Biden administration plans to work towards combating the coronavirus pandemic through stricter legislation and mandates, challenging racial injustice, rebuilding the economy, and reforming educational institutions.

As America enters into a new presidential Administration, Biden will be held accountable for all of the goals he has set throughout his campaign including the next steps he plans to take to achieve his climate plan which many environmental advocates are looking forward to.