Biden signs sweeping climate orders rejoining Paris accord, canceling Keystone XL

Even climate guru Al Gore was impressed with how President Biden wasted no time Wednesday in delivering sweeping executive orders on global warming.

pOn his first day in office, Mr. Biden signed orders to rejoin the Paris climate agreement; revoke the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline permit; direct agencies to consider tightening greenhouse gas emissions standards on vehicles and appliances; and reestablish the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, which former President Trump disbanded in 2017.

There was more. Mr. Biden also placed a “temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” blocking a 2017 law signed by Mr. Trump that allows development on about 8% of the 19.3-million-acre wilderness in Alaska.

Mr. Gore offered his kudos. “Thanks to American voters, we are back in the #ParisAgreement,” he tweeted. “America is once again poised to lead the world on climate action, working with our allies to build a better future for us all. Time to get back to work!”

The moves sparked elation and relief on the left after four years of fighting Mr. Trump’s pro-business, climate-skeptical agenda. The influential Center for American Progress hailed Mr. Biden’s “ambitious day-one climate actions” as the start of a “new day.”

“On his first day in office, President Biden has joined state and local leaders acting to build a clean and healthy future,” said CAP founder John Podesta and senior vice president Christy Goldfuss in a statement. “He’s heard the voices of Americans who feel the impact of our climate crisis, and he recognizes that the United States must work as a partner on this global challenge. He’s listening to the scientists who say that, without immediate action, the scope of our challenges will only grow.”

Critics, meanwhile, argued that the orders threaten U.S. energy independence, economic prosperity and thousands of jobs while strengthening the hand of China.