The package of climate initiatives signed by President Biden on Wednesday includes an executive order to write the nation's first national intelligence estimate on climate change.
The order underscores the new administration's belief that climate change poses the most serious national security threat.
At the White House, Biden announced the formation of a new Office of Domestic Climate Policy led by Gina McCarthy, a "civilian climate corps to heal our land," the deployment of former secretary of state John Kerry as a "climate envoy" and a halting of oil and gas leases on public land.
Biden, who plans to convene a summit of world leaders on Earth Day, April 22, said the aim is "to deliver a whole-government approach to the climate crisis."
"This is not the time for small measures. We need to be bold," he told reporters.
Former Capitol Hill climate-policy specialist Marc Morano contended Wednesday that the real national security threat is Biden's restrictive climate policies.
He said on his popular Climate Depot site that the proposed Green New Deal and the Biden administration's climate and energy executive orders "would only serve to shrink U.S. energy production and increase our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and force us to rely on energy from other potentially hostile nations, which could increase the odds of future wars."
"By restricting fossil fuels and mandating solar, wind and electric vehicles will result in more environmental degradation due to increasing the U.S. dependence on rare earth mining operated by China and Russia," he said.
In contrast, Morano argued, Trump's policies led to U.S. energy exports exceeding imports for the first time since 1952.
Significantly, the U.S. Energy Information Administration noted that Trump "accomplished all of this while the U.S. continued to lead the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions."
Just prior to the inauguration, Biden's personnel selections indicated, Axios reported, that his administration would be the first in history "to construct economic policy around issues like race, gender equality and climate change, rather than around traditional indicators like gross domestic product or deficit ratios."
Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said that as part of the new thrust, he wants the Biden administration to have the Justice Department investigate organizations funded by fossil-fuel companies that propagate "climate denialism and climate obstruction and political ownership of the Republican Party."
Biden admin’s National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy says “climate change is “the most significant public health challenge of our time.”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 27, 2021
At the White House on Wednesday, Biden called Kerry "one of America's most distinguished statesmen," recalling his part in negotiating the Paris climate agreement, which the U.S. rejoined on Inauguration Day.
Prior to the president's remarks, Kerry was asked what his message would be to oil and gas workers who "see an end to their livelihoods."
He insisted they have been fed a "false narrative" that action on climate change will hurt their livelihoods.
"What President Biden wants to do is make sure that those folks have better choices," he said, "that they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels."
Biden said after Kerry's remarks, "When I think of climate change, I think of jobs."
The question about oil and gas workers arose from moves Biden already has made that have eliminated thousands of jobs, angering unions and America's neighbors to the north.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Texas, said Wednesday in a Fox News interview that the suspension of the oil and gas leases on public land alone would result in the loss of 120,000 jobs in his state and 1 million nationwide.
Kerry said climate change is "an issue where failure, literally, is not an option."
John Kerry is asked what his message would be to oil and gas workers who "see an end to their livelihoods":
"What President Biden wants to do is make sure that those folks have better choices... That they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels." pic.twitter.com/i9TYXlD9Jg
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 27, 2021
'Most significant public health challenge'
McCarthy noted that the executive order establishing her office "starts by saying it is the policy of this administration that climate considerations shall be an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security."
She called climate change "the most significant public health challenge of our time."
However, Morano points out that a 2020 peer-reviewed study found the global climate-related death risk has dropped by more than 99% since 1920.
McCarthy served as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama from 2013 to 2017. She was behind the controversial rule under the Clean Water Act that expanded the definition of "waters of the United States." And she spearheaded the Clean Power Plan under the Clean Air Act, which sought to reduce coal use in compliance with the Paris climate agreement. Both regulations were blocked by courts, and the latter was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
McCarthy insisted her agency bore no responsibility for the Flint, Michigan, water crisis in March 2016, but the EPA's inspector general concluded that the agency had wrongfully delayed issuing an emergency order.