President-elect Joe Biden introduced six nominees who will make the backbone of his climate and energy policy teams at a Saturday event in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden nominated Democratic New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as secretary of the Interior Department; Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as secretary of the Energy Department; North Carolina environmental chief Michael Regan as head of the Environmental Protection Agency; and three other nominees to environmental council and adviser posts in the White House.
“Today, I’m pleased to announce a team that will lead my administration’s ambitious plan to address the existential threat of our time: climate change,” Biden said Saturday. “Folks, we’re in a crisis. We need a unified national response to climate change. We need to meet the moment with the urgency it demands, as we would with any national emergency.”
Each nominee gave a brief address at the event, highlighting their careers and laying out the incoming administration’s priorities for environmental policy. Regan stated the administration would move with “urgency” toward instituting “environmental justice.”
“I’m here today because climate change is not only a threat to the planet — it is a threat to our health and our wellbeing. It is a threat to the people everywhere,” said Gina McCarthy, Biden’s choice for National Climate Adviser. “Defeating this threat is the fight of our lifetimes.”
Biden has long said that combatting climate change would be a top priority for his presidency, a message President Donald Trump and Republicans argued could ruin thousands of American energy jobs.
Biden also announced in late November that he plans to appoint former presidential candidate John Kerry to be climate czar and add him to the National Security Council. Kerry will pursue climate policy internationally in negotiations with China and other countries.
Biden faced harsh criticism following the second presidential debate with Trump after saying he wants the U.S. to transition away from the oil industry.
“I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said when questioned. ““It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time. I’d stop giving them federal subsidies.”
Nearly 10 million Americans work in the oil industry, according to the American Petroleum Institute.