Biden Considers Adding New Climate Secretary To The Cabinet
Pushing his environmental platform further since wrapping up the Democratic presidential nomination this month, former Vice President Joe Biden floated the idea of creating a new cabinet post focused solely on climate change if elected in November.
According to a report from E&E News, Biden told a group of donors that he wants this new cabinet position to have authority on climate that “goes beyond the EPA.”
The report notes that climate policy is managed collectively by nearly a dozen different departments and agencies, indicating Biden foresees a massive reshuffle and expansion of the federal bureaucracy.
However, it would require an act of Congress if Biden wishes to create an entirely new department and congressional appropriations to fund it. That proposal would likely run into stiff opposition if Republicans retain control of the U.S. Senate and may force Biden to resort to a White House-based climate office similar to what was organized during the Obama Administration.
Not only does Biden plan on increasing the size of his cabinet, but also adding new proposals to his climate policy platform, as the Washington Post reported. After accepting the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters, Biden said he’ll be “expanding” his plan because it’s an issue that “resonates with many, including young people.”
It’s the latest move from Biden to appease younger climate activists who have shown little enthusiasm for his campaign.
As Western Wire reported, the Sunrise Movement and other youth-focused activist groups have demanded that Biden embrace its climate proposals including a Green New Deal, a clean energy transition, and prosecuting fossil fuel executives. The groups said a failure to do so would result in the withholding of $100 million of campaign contributions and grassroots support.
Still, the Sunrise Movement is struggling to get behind Biden with members expressed dissatisfaction with his campaign and local chapters refusing to support him, although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the author of the Green New Deal and a Sunrise Movement ally, stated this week that she would be “voting for Joe Biden.”
Throughout the primary, Biden repeatedly touted his plan to immediately ban fracking on public lands and end all fossil fuel use by 2050. An analysis by Western Wire also found that all of the leading potential vice presidential picks for Biden have expressed support to move the economy away from oil and gas.
Biden has also secured a number of big endorsements in recent days, including former fellow Vice President Al Gore, whose post-political career has focused on climate change, although the New York Times notes he represents an older Democratic Party than “many Democrats, especially younger ones, now explicitly reject.” Biden also got the support of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a another presidential contender whose campaign was almost solely-focused on climate change.