Let’s be brave enough to see it and be it

Biden's climate team: Brenda Mallory, Deb Haaland, Michael Regan, Jennifer Granholm, John Kerry, and Gina McCarthy.

Kudos to President Joe Biden for his courage in speaking truth and science to the world. His inaugural address made clear the urgent need to heal the nation and the planet:

“We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain. Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now… A cry for survival comes from the planet itself.”

– President Joe Biden at his Inaugural Address, January 20, 2021

President Biden called for unity and truth at a time when 90 of the 147 members of Congress who voted to overturn the election results have also denied basic climate science. Biden also named climate change among several common enemies of the people:

“This is a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy and on truth. A raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis.”

Over the past few weeks, President Biden demonstrated a promising commitment to addressing the climate crisis by building a strong climate team. And on Inauguration Day, he rejoined the Paris Accord and moved to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline.

He also signed an executive order beginning the process of overturning environmental policies under the Trump administration, including rescinding rollbacks to vehicle emissions standards, imposing a moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and re-establishing a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gasses.

President Biden’s cabinet picks have shown his commitment to supporting Indigenous rights, science, equity, justice, and a transition away from fossil fuels. In fact, he plans to spend $2 trillion over four years to rapidly move away from coal, oil and gas, and has set a goal of eliminating fossil fuel emissions from electricity generation by 2035 (10 years earlier than current California law!). By midcentury, Mr. Biden has vowed that the entire United States economy will be carbon neutral.

In tandem with these federal efforts and funding, we must now insist that California lead on climate once again. It’s time for policymakers to accelerate climate action timelines and pass bold legislation to equitably phase out fossil fuels, scale up nature-based carbon sequestration on natural and working lands, and advance resilience to growing climate impacts. Bold California leadership is required to demonstrate to the country and the world how to achieve a vibrant and healthy future for all.

Please support our urgent work today by making a donation today here, join us for the upcoming Climate-Safe California webinar series (see more below), and, if you haven’t yet, endorse Climate-Safe California here.

As the nation’s first-ever Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, concluded in her exceptional reading at the inauguration, “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Let’s be brave enough to do the work to secure the equitable, vibrant climate-safe future we desperately need!