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What the Biden Administration can do about Greenhouse Gas Policy
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What the Biden Administration can do about Greenhouse Gas Policy

Clean Air Council, Clean Air Task Force, Earthjustice, and Earthworks discussed the new federal administration’s possible paths to reducing greenhouse gas pollution in 2021.

Clean Air Council, Clean Air Task Force, Earthjustice, and Earthworks all work to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by supporting federal emissions limits for fossil fuel infrastructure. Policy experts from each organization discussed their priorities for addressing climate change in the upcoming 117th Congress in a webinar last month.

Earthworks recently published a study that determined while eight major oil and gas companies have made public climate commitments, in the last three years, no voluntary corporate commitments have resulted in reductions of methane pollution from oil and gas extraction sites. The Dornslife School of Public Health at Drexel University just published a study concluding that “exposure to fracking activity may increase heart failure hospitalizations across large regions.”

The National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) has concluded that this year the U.S. has already witnessed 16 weather and climate related disasters that each cost at least a billion dollars in damages. NCEI expects to break previous 2011 and 2017 records for billion dollar weather events. The U.S. annual average is 6.6 events. This year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also observed the second lowest arctic sea ice coverage ever on September 15th. 

President-Elect Joe Biden has already announced that within his first 100 days in office the U.S. will hold a global climate summit as the nation rejoins the Paris agreement and considers a path to avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

Watch Lauren Pagel, Policy Director, Earthworks; Caitlin Miller, Associate Attorney, Earthjustice; Lesley Fleischman, Policy Analyst, Clean Air Task Force; and Robert Routh, Public Policy and Regulatory Attorney, Clean Air Council discuss these priorities on the webinar:

What’s next & what you can do:

This is an incredibly complex time for air pollution regulations. 

The Trump administration has declined to update the current particulate matter 2.5 standard, last updated in 2012, even though U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff estimated that an updated standard could save the lives of 12,500 U.S. residents a year

The Trump administration also finalized a dangerous new rule that allows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ignore the indirect health benefits, called co-benefits, of individual air pollution regulations. Correctly accounting for the total benefits of reducing air pollution is vital to finalizing comprehensive regulations.

The Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states are also considering a regional cap on transportation pollution in the form of the Transportation Climate Initiative as Pennsylvania considers becoming the largest electricity producing state to enter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The Clean Air Council has an online petition to urge the Biden administration to take action on greenhouse gas. Click here to tell the President-elect and your federal elected officials to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. 


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Russell Zerbo
Russell Zerbo is the federal advocacy coordinator at the Clean Air Council. He likes to participate in comment periods and write letters to the editor. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2011 with a degree in government. View all posts by Russell Zerbo

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