25 key executive actions for Biden, plus Morgan Stanley projection that coal will be replaced in the next 12 yrs

Renewables are expected to replace coal on the U.S. grid by 2033, according to a new report from Morgan Stanley. They project that by 2030, renewables will supply 39 percent of U.S. electricity and 55 percent by 2035. Coal supplied around 20 percent of the nation’s power last year and could rebound to as much as 22 percent in 2021, but analysts say the short-term increase will not overcome the long-term global shift toward clean electricity. In the U.S., renewables are expected to receive a boost from President Joe Biden’s vision to transition the country to a carbon-free power system by 2035. (Bloomberg $) 

President Biden should use all the tools at his disposal to avert further climate devastation while helping people recover from the pandemic.

Below, we’ve pulled out 25 key executive actions that Biden can take from Day One to protect and invest in communities, end the era of fossil fuel production, and #BuildBackFossilFree. Every action should come with strong labor standards to protect workers’ rights and be developed with meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples, workers, frontline communities, and other affected constituencies.

1. Protect and invest in the Black, Indigenous, Brown, and working-class communities that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel pollution and climate disaster.

Prevent pollution hotspots

Develop and advance a federal No Hotspots Policy to prevent disproportionate exposure to multiple sources of pollution in “hotspots,” particularly in communities of color.

This executive action has not been taken.

Create a Climate and Environmental Equity Map and Screen

Establish a system to identify communities facing the heaviest pollution burdens, climate vulnerability, health disparities, and socioeconomic inequities, and screen all regulatory proposals and investments for equity impacts using this system.

This executive action has not been taken.

Implement a fossil fuel moratorium for environmental justice communities

Halt new fossil fuel infrastructure, operations, and transport in and around environmental justice communities.

This executive action has not been taken.

Address cumulative pollution impacts

Require cumulative pollution impact assessments of all applicable federal policies, regulations, and actions, in order to reduce disproportionate environmental impacts on over-polluted communities.

This executive action has not been taken.

Strengthen the federal environmental justice mandate

Reaffirm and strengthen Executive Order 12898 on environmental justice, including expanding its scope to include climate change impacts, risks, and required mitigation for all identified adverse impacts, and establish a mandate to require that at least 40 percent of federal clean energy and climate investments are targeted for the most impacted communities.

This executive action has not been taken.

Enshrine self-determination of Indigenous peoples

Institutionalize Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) to require consent of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and Indigenous peoples regarding federal actions affecting their lands, livelihoods, culture, and spirituality.

This executive action has not been taken.

Reckon with the impacts of colonization

Establish a high-level commission to determine federal responsibility for the harms affecting American Indian and Alaska Native nations and peoples, and use this as the basis for policies and investments to remedy past harms and support self-determination for Indigenous clean energy transitions and economic development.

This executive action has not been taken.

Prioritize co-pollutant reductions

Require that greenhouse gas emissions standards and related policies also prioritize and maximize reducing other pollutants in overburdened communities.

This executive action has not been taken.

Set a national climate pollution standard

Establish a science-based, nation-wide, and economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions to reduce climate pollution at the pace necessary to protect public health and welfare.

This executive action has not been taken.

Regulate climate pollution sources

Set strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions from all stationary sources of pollution and from all modes of transportation, including vehicles, shipping, and aviation, as fast as possible.

This executive action has not been taken.

2. Reject new fossil projects, eliminate giveaways to oil, gas, and coal corporations, and end the era of fossil fuel production.

Ban federal fossil fuel leasing

Ban new fossil fuel leases and permits on our public lands and waters, and phase out existing production as quickly as possible while protecting workers and communities.

This executive action has not been taken.

Reject climate-polluting projects

Reject all federal permits for fossil fuel and other climate-damaging infrastructure, including, but not limited to, the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, Line 3, and Mountain Valley Pipelines.

This executive action has not been taken.

End fossil fuel subsidies

End fossil fuel subsidies, bailouts, and international finance and redirect funds to climate investments.

This executive action has not been taken.

Hold polluters accountable

Investigate and prosecute fossil fuel polluters for damages they have caused, and electric utilities for antitrust violations.

This executive action has not been taken.

Prevent new polluter giveaways

Commit to veto legislation that would undermine climate action or environmental justice, including bills that grant legal immunity, new subsidies, or regulatory loopholes for polluting corporations to continue to harm our communities and environment, and bills that invest in technologies that would harm communities or perpetuate market-based mechanisms.

This executive action has not been taken.

Ensure a just transition

Create an Interagency Just Transition Task Force to facilitate a well-managed phaseout of all fossil fuel production and guarantee support for affected workers and communities, including wage and tax base support, job training, and vocational opportunities.

This executive action has not been taken.

End fossil fuel exports

Reinstate the ban on crude oil exports under a national emergency declaration and halt fossil gas exports to the extent possible under existing law.

This executive action has not been taken.

3. Launch a national climate mobilization to Build Back Fossil Free, delivering jobs, justice, and opportunity for all.

Declare a climate emergency

Declare a national emergency on the climate crisis and direct resources to build out clean, renewable, and distributed renewable energy

This executive action has not been taken.

Establish an Office of Climate Mobilization

Create a new office and council to lead a national climate mobilization alongside federal agencies and state and local governments.

This executive action has not been taken.

Create a green infrastructure bank

Establish an institution to finance historic green infrastructure investments via loans, grants, equity, and other instruments.

This executive action has not been taken.

Use green manufacturing to drive the 100% clean energy transition

Use the Defense Production Act to mobilize domestic production of clean energy, energy efficiency technologies, storage, smart grid infrastructure, and electric vehicles.

This executive action has not been taken.

Transform all federal government operations to 100% clean energy by 2025

Direct all agencies, including federal utilities, to power their operations and facilities with 100% clean energy by 2025.

This executive action has not been taken.

Usher in an era of energy democracy

Drive energy democracy and green Rural America by financing distributed and community solar and wind power development.

This executive action has not been taken.

Decarbonize and increase resilience of the buildings sector

Make retrofitting accessible and affordable for building managers and homeowners while creating millions of good jobs.

This executive action has not been taken.

Make the U.S. a responsible world leader on global climate justice

Rejoin the Paris Agreement and commit the U.S. to reduce its fair share of emissions at the source, fulfill its “climate debt” to developing countries by increasing climate finance contributions, and call for binding safeguards under Article 6 to protect human rights and the right of Indigenous Peoples, including an effective grievance procedure and the prohibition of market-based mechanisms.

This executive action has not been taken.

For a detailed climate justice executive action blueprint, Biden should look to the #ClimatePresident Action Plan: 10 Steps for Next Administration’s First 10 Days and the Frontlines Climate Justice Executive Action Platform. Together, these plans are supported by over 500 leading climate, environmental, racial and economic justice, and youth organizations representing millions of people nationwide. They stem from the best available science and legal analysis (see: Legal Authority for Presidential Executive Action on Climate).



U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wants Congress and the Biden administration to conduct an investigation into what he calls the “climate corruption” of the Trump administration.

The Rhode Island Democrat is advocating for a broad inquiry into connections between the Trump administration and the fossil fuel industry. In an interview with E&E News, Whitehouse said the connections go beyond the typical revolving door of Washington — where government officials use their experience to land lucrative work in the private sector — and into possible quid pro quo.

Two legal experts contacted for this story weren’t convinced, but Whitehouse, a former federal prosecutor, said he believes the Trump administration was corrupt on climate and “not just corrupt on the meaning of the Founding Fathers, but corrupt in the meaning of the United States criminal code.”

“I am confident that a good, hard look at communications between fossil fuel interests and people who had duties to discharge in government will reveal that they failed in their duties because of pressure and inducements from the fossil fuel industry,” he said.

He wants to set up a special committee of Congress, with its own staff and investigative powers, to gather information he suspects Biden Cabinet officials will find when they take office. He said he also would like to hold hearings in Congress but wants subpoena power to conduct a full investigation. However, since the Senate is split 50-50, he would need at least one Republican lawmaker to sign on to a subpoena.

Whitehouse also said he wants the Department of Justice to establish a bipartisan advisory committee to review the Trump administration’s politicization of DOJ. He said the outside committee could be staffed by veterans of the department and linked to DOJ’s inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility.

Another avenue would be for the Biden administration to establish a presidential commission, composed of independent experts, to explore climate denial, the dark money that funds it and how that affected the actions of government officials.

Whitehouse said he thinks the last four years go beyond Washington norms, and he doesn’t want any violations of the law to be forgotten. He wants the Biden administration to learn from the Obama administration’s mistakes, which he said included a willingness to overlook improper industry connections at federal agencies.

“The reason I wanted to speak so plainly was to make the point to the Biden administration that they need to be on the alert for this, that the old Obama ‘we’re not going to look back, we’re just going to look forward’ paradigm is simply not appropriate in this era and after the last administration’s behavior,” he said.

A Biden White House spokesman did not return a request for comment.

Part of what’s driving Whitehouse is that he suspects criminal activity.

“When you look at the extent to which the subjugation of policy was complete and when you look at the generally low-integrity mischievous characters that were installed, I think it’s almost impossible to conceive of a scenario in which no criminal laws were broken,” he said.

A number of Trump officials returned quickly to the energy industry after leaving government.

That includes former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who departed under the cloud of an ethics scandal and then became a coal industry consultant. Less than a month after Vincent DeVito left his job as counselor to the secretary for energy policy at Trump’s Interior Department, he took a job as the executive vice president and general counsel for Cox Oil Offshore LLC. Joe Balash, Interior’s assistant secretary for land and minerals management, abruptly left the administration to take a senior job at a foreign oil company pursuing drilling in Alaska.

There is no public indication that any Trump officials committed illegal acts related to climate or the fossil fuel industry.

Some experts cast doubt on Whitehouse’s pursuit of fossil fuel connections and said his accusations are tinted by politics.

The fact that somebody who used to work for an industry believes that certain types of regulations are too costly to be justified is not corruption, said Jonathan Adler, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

He said Whitehouse is quick to assume nefarious motives when it’s more likely he doesn’t like that the Trump administration was effective at undoing Obama-era regulations and adopting policies that would make it harder to develop future regulations. He said Whitehouse shouldn’t demonize his opponents unless he “really has the goods.”

“I’m just skeptical,” Adler said. “He often characterizes what I would view as the normal networking in Washington as being corrupt when it’s done by people he doesn’t like.”

Proving corruption related to climate regulations would be a tough case to make, said Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

He said since bribery requires quid pro quo, proving that any actions were illegal would essentially require proof that government officials acted to roll back climate regulations because of explicit promises of future monetary benefits.

“Just being cozy is not illegal, being appallingly pro-fossil is not illegal, but if there is some understanding that somebody would get a job, that would be a real problem,” he said.

Whitehouse said he understands that the legal cases would be tough to prove, but he is certain that career government officials at federal agencies know more than they have been willing to report because they were fearful of retaliation. He said he wants to raise awareness of possible corruption to encourage whistleblowers in federal agencies to come forward, in case they have any information on improper acts by political employees.

Corruption cases likely would hinge on a quid pro quo, which Whitehouse said could have come in the form of a “promise that they would be taken care of in the future.”

“When you’re as big and complicated and sophisticated as the fossil fuel sector,” he said, “you don’t show up like some mope with a bag full of cash looking for a favor.”


first-of-its-kind study focused on accelerating adoption of highly efficient electric technologies that displace fossil fuel technologies. As an efficiency advocate, we hope you will help us spread the word about this work.

The Building Technology Electrification Roadmap takes a comprehensive look at across various residential and commercial building types and characterizes more than three dozen technologies across technology readiness, product availability, ease of application, market awareness, and their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also highlights major roadblocks facing these technologies and provides recommendations on how to accelerate market adoption. While focused on California, the research has implications nationally.

Below are some social posting options and attached are a couple of graphics to support sharing.  Even further below is a push email that we shared today.  As you can see, we are also hosting a webinar on 2/25 to explain the study, which is the topic of one of the attached graphics. The links provided go to the report press release. The report can be accessed directly here: http://bit.ly/BETRstudy