Joe Biden has ordered a freeze on public oil and gas drilling and boost to offshore wind power as he embarks on the most wide-ranging effort to tackle climate change of any US president.
Mr Biden signed a series of executive orders on what has been dubbed ‘climate day’ as he warned climate change was an issue of national security.
The orders include a halt on oil and gas drilling on federal lands, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and doubling offshore wind energy production by 2030.
He will also instruct the US government to transforms its fleet of federal cars with electric vehicles.
The moves are designed to enable the US to meet its target of zero net emissions by 2050, with about one-quarter of its output currently coming from fossil fuel production on public lands.
“Today is climate day at the White House,” said Mr Biden on Wednesday (local time).
“We have already waited too long,” he said. “And we can’t wait any longer.”
Mr Biden’s presidential orders include establishing a White House office of domestic climate policy and a summit of leaders to be held in April on Earth Day.
It comes after Mr Biden last week re-entered the US in the Paris Climate Accord as he makes climate change a central focus of his administration.
At an earlier press briefing, Mr Biden’s national climate adviser Gina McCarthy said the push towards more clean energy would create more jobs.
“It’s going to benefit jobs, it’s going to benefit our health and it’s going to lead to the future we want to hand down to our children,” Ms McCarthy said.
Climate envoy John Kerry said Americans had “been fed a falsehood” that addressing climate change would affect employment when in fact clean energy was growing faster as an industry.
Mr Kerry, the first international presidential envoy on climate change, said the security risk of climate change would be assessed and a global climate finance plan developed.
“The stakes on climate change just couldn’t be any higher,” Mr Kerry said.
“We have a big agenda in front of us on a global basis,” he said.
“Failure, literally, is not an option. 2021 is going to be the year to make up for the last four years.”