US President-elect Joe Biden introduced his climate team on Saturday which will be tasked with moving the country toward more action to combat the climate crisis.
“We literally have no time to waste,” Biden told reporters as he introduced his choices, comparing the need for a climate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Folks, we’re in a crisis,” Biden said. “Just like we need a unified national response to COVID-19, we need a unified national response to climate change. We need to meet the moment with the urgency it demands as we would during any national emergency.”
Many experts hope the incoming Biden team will change the current administration’s policies which have boosted oil and gas production.
Biden also touted the diversity of his team which includes, if she is confirmed, the first Native American woman to hold a cabinet-level office, New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland.
“Already there are more people of colour in our Cabinet than any Cabinet ever,” said the former vice president, who has promised to assemble a group of department leaders who reflect the diversity of America.
Haaland is his pick to lead the Interior Department, which has wielded influence over the nation’s tribes for generations.
Former two-term Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is in line to be energy secretary.
North Carolina official Michael Regan would be the first African American man to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
Regan, the state environmental head since 2017, has made a name for himself by pursuing cleanups of industrial toxins and helping the low-income and minority communities significantly affected by pollution.
The new team will likely place an emphasis on those hardest-hit by climate change including low-income, working class, and minority communities.
Biden’s nominee to oversee the Council on Environmental Quality is Brenda Mallory.
The office oversees environmental reviews for virtually all major infrastructure projects and advises the president on major environmental issues.
If confirmed, she would be the first African American to hold the position since it was created more than half a century ago.
Two other members of the team introduced on Saturday do not need Senate confirmation. They are Gina McCarthy, to serve as national climate adviser, and Ali Zaidi, to serve as her deputy.
McCarthy was EPA administrator from 2013 to 2017 during President Barack Obama’s second term.