Climate promises will crash into regulatory bureaucracy

The pledges would take years of process to repeal existing rules before introducing new ones with stricter emissions controls. Given that this is the most likely way to drive deep carbon emissions reductions and the constant uncertainty about whether Congress will pass laws in this area, climate activists have to play the long game as nothing in regulation overnight happens.

“The Biden administration will understand that a large part of their agenda needs to be achieved through the regulatory process. So it is important for the Biden administration that their agencies begin on day one to roll back the deregulatory legacy and kick-start Trump’s regulatory agenda, ”said Amit Narang, a regulatory policy attorney for Public Citizen. “Time is of the essence.”

There is disagreement among some on the left over how aggressively the Congressional Review Act should be used if Democrats win back the Senate. The obscure law allows Congress to overturn regulations that were finalized in the final days of the previous administration, but some fear its implications have not been properly assessed in court.

Another issue that the new government must grapple with is how to deal with litigation over key regulations like the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. The repeal of this rule, which replaced the stricter CO2 emission limits of the Obama Power Plan for power plants, would leave an uncertain path ahead, some feared, as the courts gave uncertain signals as to whether the Clean Power Plan would survive the legal challenges.

Biden’s commitments also mean that preparing for and combating climate change will be a higher priority for the armed forces.

The Official 2020 platform of the Democratic Party stressed a greater role for the Pentagon in climate policy. “We believe that the effects of climate change on national security and the Department of Defense can no longer be an afterthought, but must be at the center of all political and operational plans to safeguard our vital interests,” it says.

One approach will likely be to make military bases more energy self-sufficient and to better prepare facilities and military formations for the consequences of climate change.

“I am relatively certain that the impact of climate change on national security will be central to defense planning, pandemic preparation and biological defense,” said Robert Work, who has served on both the Obama and Trump boards. Government acted as deputy defense minister.

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