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It’s been an enormous month and a half for climate-change news in the United States.
First, and most obvious, Joe Biden won the presidential election on a vow to put climate policy at the center of his domestic and foreign policy. That was a big deal.
Then he actually started to do it. He’s named climate experts to senior White House positions and laid the foundation for an ambitious and diverse so-called climate Cabinet. Just last week, Biden said he would nominate Representative Deb Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior, which oversees federal lands. If confirmed, she would be the first Indigenous American in that role.
Then, yesterday, Congress passed a bipartisan superbill (note: this is not a technical term) combining economic stimulus, federal spending, and several years of industrial policy. Glooped onto the text were several energy and environment bills that will steer the federal ship of state toward decarbonization. The bill extends tax credits for renewable energy and carbon capture, it funds energy-efficiency projects, and it recommends—in a legally nonbinding way—that the Department of Energy prioritize projects that will help generate 100 percent of U.S. electricity through “clean, renewable, or zero emissions energy sources.”