The Biden Administration: Climate and the Environment at a Critical Juncture

The Biden Administration: Climate and the Environment at a Critical Juncture

Speaking Engagement

The results of the 2020 presidential election are in, and Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States. Biden's transition team has introduced sweeping environmental proposals that include rejoining the Paris Agreement, setting a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, prioritizing environmental justice as a key consideration in rulemaking and new legislation, regulating methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry, implementing higher greenhouse gas standards for vehicles, halting permits for extracting fossil fuels on federal lands, and investing $2 trillion in clean energy and infrastructure.

Yet, in pursuing these goals, the new administration is likely to face numerous obstacles. The incoming administration is proposing new regulatory action to address climate and environmental issues, but they are also inheriting the challenge of undoing the previous administration’s deregulatory agenda. Additionally, regardless of which major party controls the Senate, bringing ideas requiring significant legislation to fruition will require obtaining bipartisan support in Congress, an increasingly challenging feat in a hyper-partisan era. Finally, the administration will need to find a balance between opponents and proponents of hydraulic fracturing as natural gas is viewed by some as a prized bridge fuel while society transitions to renewables, but by others as a potential threat to securing a low carbon economy and harmful to local environments.

What are the most immediate environmental priorities of the incoming Biden administration? What opportunities and obstacles could the Biden administration likely encounter in pursuing these policy goals? How will a divided Congress affect the new administration’s plans on climate, the environment, and environmental justice? How will the Biden administration transition from the current deregulatory environment? Join the Environmental Law Institute and knowledgeable panelists to explore this new chapter of environmental governance in the United States.


Rachel Jacobson, Special Counsel, WilmerHale

James M. McElfish, Director of Sustainable Use of Land Program and Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator

Ann E. Carlson, Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law Faculty, and Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA School of Law

John Cruden, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond PC, formerly Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Department of Justice

Matthew Z. Leopold, Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, formerly General Counsel, Environmental Protection Agency

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