President Joe Biden plans to create a New Deal-style “Civilian Climate Corps” to mobilize “a new, diverse generation of patriotic Americans” for the battle against climate change.
On Wednesday, Biden unveiled a flurry of executive actions his administration planned to undertake to “tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad.” The president, who campaigned for the White House last year on a platform “environmental justice,” argued the actions were necessary if the United States had any hopes of leading a “global response” to the climate crisis.
“Just like we need a unified national response to Covid-19 [coronavirus], we desperately need a unified national response to the climate crisis because there is a climate crisis,” Biden told reporters at the White House when signing the executive orders into effect.
To help implement the unified national response, Biden is proposing the creation of a civilian climate corps. The program, based on the poverty-relief programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, will focus on employing individuals to work on energy-efficient infrastructure and conservation programs.
The “Civilian Climate Corps Initiative [will] put a new generation of Americans to work conserving and restoring public lands and waters, increasing reforestation, increasing carbon sequestration … and addressing the changing climate,” a policy brief prepared by the White House reads.
Last year, while running for the White House, Biden embraced the idea of a civilian climate corps. The proposal was one of several that came from a unity task force Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) set up after the conclusion of the Democratic presidential primaries. At the time, Biden also proposed spending upwards of $2 trillion dollars over his term in office to address climate change.
Since taking office, the president has only signaled that he hopes to live up to his campaign platform. Biden, most notably, has declared that combating climate change would be an “all-of-government agenda.” The president has also nominated two champions of “environmental justice” to lead the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), respectively.