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January 28, 2021

US to end fossil fuel use by 2050

National

 
January 28, 2021

By News Report

WASHINGTON: In the most ambitious US effort to stave off the worst effects of climate change, President Joe Biden is aiming to cut oil, gas and coal emissions and double energy production from offshore wind turbines through executive orders Wednesday.

The orders awaiting his signature target federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels and halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. They also intend to conserve 30 percent of the country’s lands and ocean waters in the next 10 years and move to an all-electric federal vehicle fleet, foreign media report.

Biden has set a goal of eliminating pollution from fossil fuel in the power sector by 2035 and from the US economy overall by 2050, speeding what is already a market-driven growth of solar and wind energy and lessening the country’s dependence on oil and gas. The ambitious plan is aimed at slowing human-caused global warming that is magnifying extreme weather events such as deadly wildfires in the West and drenching rains and hurricanes in the East. But the rapid pace of change needed to stave off global warming also carries political risk for the president and Democrats overall.

“The stakes on climate change just simply couldn’t be any higher than they are right now. It is existential,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry, who is Biden’s envoy on climate change.

“Paris alone is not enough,” Kerry said at a White House briefing, referring to the global agreement on climate change that calls for voluntary emissions cutbacks by the United States and nearly 190 other countries.

In a change from previous administrations of both parties, Biden also is directing agencies to focus help and investment on the low-income and minority communities that live closest to polluting refineries and other hazards, and the oil- and coal-patch towns that face job losses as the U.S. moves to sharply increase its reliance on wind, solar and other other energy sources that do not emit climate-warming greenhouse gases.

The orders are aimed at “revitalising the US energy sector, conserving our natural resources and leveraging them to help drive our nation toward a clean energy future, the White House said in a statement before Biden signed the orders.

Still, Kerry and other other officials emphasized that the orders are also aimed at “creating well-paying jobs ... and delivering justice for communities who have been subjected to

environmental harm. Republicans immediately criticised the plan as a job killer.

“Pie-in-the-sky government mandates and directives that restrict our mining, oil, and gas industries adversely impact our energy security and independence, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“At a time when millions are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing Americans need is big government destroying jobs, while costing the economy billions of dollars, she said.

Biden also is elevating climate change to a national security priority. The conservation plan would set aside millions of acres for recreation, wildlife and climate efforts by 2030 as part of Biden’s campaign pledge for a $2 trillion program to slow global warming.