Inaugurating hope for ambitious climate solutions

As we approach the inauguration of President- and Vice President-elect Biden and Harris, climate action has never been more imperative. Last year matched 2016 as the hottest on record and brought horrific wildfires and unprecedented Atlantic storms. We also saw how climate change serves as a “threat multiplier” in our own lives. As millions suffered the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related disasters heightened the threat of exposure and inflicted even greater economic harm.

But as we begin the new year, we face a tremendous and vital opportunity to enact ambitious climate policy. With the Biden/Harris election, and their nomination of the strongest team ever to lead the federal response to climate change, we can count on quick re-entry into the Paris Agreement and a wide range of other executive steps to strengthen climate action.

And with the outcome of the Georgia runoffs shifting Senate control to the Democrats, there’s now a stronger chance of meaningful legislation, which could be the most enduring climate achievement of the Biden/Harris Administration.

Forty-seven leading U.S. companies recently joined C2ES in urging the president-elect and the new Congress to work together to enact ambitious, durable, and bipartisan climate policy. Ambitious, because we have little time to reduce our emissions before the impacts are irreversible; durable, to ensure that solutions will be effective long after this political cycle; and bipartisan, because that is key to durability. The companies offered their help and recognized that policies should meet the needs of marginalized communities and those impacted by the energy transition.

On January 26, we’ll present detailed policy recommendations for the new administration and Congress, and I’ll host a virtual panel with top company leaders outlining the business case for ambitious climate action.

The companies signing our recent statement highlighted the historic opportunity to enact policies that work to both decarbonize and grow the U.S. economy as we recover from the pandemic, and declared climate action a “business imperative.”

Over the past four years, as federal leadership on climate evaporated, many states, cities and business leaders helped pick up the slack. But the scale of the challenge of climate change requires stronger action at every level. We’re excited by the new opportunities to enact meaningful national climate policies and look forward to working with the incoming Administration and Congress to produce ambitious, durable, and bipartisan solutions in 2021.