“There is little time left to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory.”
– Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, January 2021
As the first month of the Biden presidency comes to a close, climate change and the environment have emerged as one of the President’s top priorities.
The Administration’s climate action began before President Biden took office, with the nominations of notable figures to existing – and new – positions related to the environment and climate change. These include Representative Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, former Secretary of State John Kerry as the nation’s first Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lead Gina McCarthy as the first White House National Climate Advisor.
This momentum immediately carried over into President Biden’s first day in office, when he signed Executive Orders signaling the country’s re-entry to the Paris Agreement and the withdrawal of the Keystone XL pipeline permit. Just one week later, the Biden Administration released an Executive Order detailing its plans for the climate crisis, at home and abroad. According to President Biden, climate policy will be “an essential element of United States foreign policy and national security.”
What to Expect Next
The Biden Administration’s climate actions will seek to reverse existing damage and mitigate future risks. The plan is broad in reach and addresses numerous sectors and issues. Some highlights of the climate policy agenda include:
- Increasing focus on clean energy industries, renewable energy production, sustainable infrastructure, climate risk and more
- Enhancing participation in global efforts to challenge climate change
- Establishing multiple government-level climate entities, such as the:
- White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy
- National Climate Task Force
- Civilian Climate Corps
- Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization
- Hosting a Leaders’ Climate Summit in April 2021, with the purpose of advancing climate action and contributing to existing global efforts
- Implementing sustainable food and agriculture strategies, such as water and land conservation, reforestation, biodiversity protections, carbon sequestration and application of climate-smart agriculture
The Bottom Line: The Biden Administration’s strategy for the climate crisis is expected to reach across federal agencies and impact national priorities and programs on a wide range of policy areas. From sustainable agriculture to environmental justice, these developments will set the stage for how the country responds to the global crisis and present unique opportunities for multi-sector stakeholders to advance sustainability commitments and action. While the way in which these efforts will affect the agriculture and food and beverage sectors remains to be seen, this early momentum signals changes are on the horizon.
Continue to follow FoodMinds for more food and nutrition policy updates as they develop. And, if you’re interested in learning more about President Biden’s plans to address environmental justice, a growing movement within global climate advocacy, stay tuned for a deeper dive in Part Two of this year’s Food and Nutrition Affairs series!
Maura Killian, RDN is an Account Executive at FoodMinds and is based in Chicago. She is a member of FoodMinds’ food and nutrition affairs team, which uses our global expertise to help clients navigate the evolving food landscape and prepare for the future. Reach out to [email protected] to start the conversation.