Climate 21 Project: Transition Recommendations For Climate Governance and Action

CO2 Coalition note: This proposal by advisers to president-elect Biden’s transition team calls for “decarbonizing surface transportation,” immediate cuts in fossil fuel extraction on federal lands, and the eventual “net-zero” elimination of fossil fuels by 2050. Remarkably, it is all based on an inaccurate premise: there is a “punishing toll of climate change” that requires dramatic cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases.

As readers of the CO2 Coalition’s White Papers and congressional testimony in recent years know, both parts of this premise hinge on model speculation about the future rather than scientific analysis of actual data to date. 

According to the data and analyses of the UN IPCC, emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible for no more than a quarter of the global warming of one degree since 1900, and there has been no statistically significant increase in rates of hurricanes, floods, droughts, sea-level rise and other damaging weather events. Methane emissions are only one-tenth as potent as carbon dioxide emissions, and even a doubling of methane levels over hundreds of years would not cause a measurable increase in global temperature.

Far from taking a “punishing toll,” fossil fuels have driven global income and living standards, and as a result, life expectancy and health, to all-time highs. And carbon dioxide emissions have had a net positive impact on the economy and environment, re-greening the earth by boosting crop productivity by a third.

On the positive side, the transition proposal does adopt the very steps to reduce damage from wildfires outline by CO2 Coalition biologists earlier this year: forest management and controlled burns on public lands, which have been prohibited by a complex of laws and regulations.

Introduction from the Co-Chairs

In January 2021, the President will begin his four-year term facing four simultaneous crises: tens of millions of Americans without a paycheck, racial injustice, the punishing toll of climate change, and the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic. It is essential to address all four immediately; none can be put aside.
The key to unlocking this puzzle is for the President to hit the ground running in 2021 with actionable steps to build the capacity of his administration to tackle the climate crisis quickly with the existing tools at hand. The transition period and first 100 days will be critical for laying the foundation for an effective administration-wide approach on climate change.

From using executive powers to working with Congress, states and nations around the world, the White House must act decisively to create an administration-wide infrastructure needed to achieve results.

The Climate 21 Project has assembled recommendations in anticipation of this critical moment to jumpstart ambitious U.S. leadership to confront the climate crisis. We have tapped the expertise of more than 150 experts with
high-level government experience who volunteered their time to imagine what it would take for the White House and federal agencies to mobilize effectively as part of a whole-of-government climate response at the dawn of the next administration.

We are pleased to present the results in a series of papers covering the White House and essential federal agencies.


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