Trump weakened 125 environmental safeguards. Biden will reverse that.

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

The win for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, confirmed on Saturday, marks the end of a historic election that elevated the first woman and first woman of color to national elected office.

Their victory represents a dramatic shift from the anti-environment agenda of the Trump administration and capped a presidential election in which climate change played a more prominent and politically-salient role than ever before. The Biden-Harris campaign made climate and science core to their closing message, while Trump and Pence focused on fracking in the final weeks. Both presidential debates devoted more time to climate change than the debates of previous cycles combined, including the first question in a presidential debate about environmental (in)justice.

In addition to rejoining the Paris agreement, Biden pledged to eliminate carbon pollution from electricity generation within 15 years and ran on a $2 trillion plan to fight climate change. Biden named fighting climate change as one of his top priorities as president in his victory address Saturday night, calling on the country to marshal the “forces of science” in the “battle to save our planet by getting climate under control.” The Biden Harris transition website named climate change among the top four crises facing America.

The nascent Biden administration is preparing to undo many of the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks. The Trump administration rolled back or weakened at least 125 environmental safeguards, and with sweeping climate legislation likely to be difficult, at best, executive action on climate change is expected to be a critical tool for the Biden administration to take action.

In addition to rejoining the Paris agreement, which Biden has pledged to do on his first day in office, the president-elect is expected to move quickly on other executive actions to reduce American greenhouse gas pollution. During the campaign, Biden pledged to end oil and gas leasing on public lands, reinstate Obama-era requirements for methane leak detection and prevention, reinstate or even strengthen fuel efficiency and emissions requirements for passenger cars and light trucks, establish an environmental justice division within the Department of Justice, and prioritize climate action across his administration.

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