Now Is the Time

We have a window of opportunity and we need to seize it.

Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden, and Jill Biden stand on a stage and wave
Credit:

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

We Have a Window of Opportunity and We Need to Seize It


After four years of playing effective defense, the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States provides NRDC the opportunity to complement our robust international, state, and local climate strategies with the return of meaningful action at the federal level. But we only have a small window—just one year—during which we anticipate opportunity in the form of both recovery and infrastructure bills, before attention will turn to the midterm elections and the chance for bold action will be diminished. To meet our goals, it is essential that we get as much as possible accomplished in this first year.

We have identified the opportunities for climate action under a Biden administration and have strategies to support the administration’s ambitious plan to move us toward the clean energy future we need. And NRDC has the expertise, partnerships, and leadership to shape federal actions and build back a strong national and international climate agenda.

Our efforts will be focused on delivering climate and health solutions that benefit people’s lives, most directly ensuring their health and safety, good jobs in a fair economy, and a thriving natural world for generations to enjoy.

Starting on day one, we will work with the Biden team to reverse Trump's most egregious attacks on the vital safeguards that protect public health and the environment, as well as restore and advance our standing on the world stage—in particular, re-entering the Paris Agreement. At the same time, we will help turn the promise of the groundbreaking Biden/Harris Climate Plan into reality, to restore and expand investments in clean energy technologies that will power our future, put people back to work, and create greater equity as we rebuild an economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. And we’ll prioritize efforts to ensure that the most impacted communities—low-income communities and communities of color—are at the center of all solutions.

We Need to Build Demand for Climate Solutions to Drive Bold Federal Action

It is essential that we build the strong support that the Biden administration will need politically to take bold climate action, especially if we have a split Congress. To accomplish this, we must complement our efforts at the federal level by doubling down on building demand at the city and state levels, tipping the scales toward a meaningful, lasting, and sweeping transition away from fossil fuels. This involves accelerating local and regional solutions that center environmental justice as we collectively reduce carbon emissions and advance clean energy, fighting alongside communities for the better future they deserve. We must then amplify those local voices, along with business voices, and demonstrate proof of concept to help drive federal ambition, ultimately building overwhelming public support for climate solutions so large and loud that they cannot be ignored by federal or corporate leaders.

We will further reinforce this demand for climate solutions by continuing to advance our international work, leveraging progress in four of the world’s leading economies, including the United States, China, and India—along with global action, especially the Paris Agreement—to accelerate the uptake of clean energy and phase out fossil fuels.

By working simultaneously at all of these levels—international, federal, state, and local—we will tip the scales toward a meaningful, lasting, and sweeping transition away from fossil fuels and toward a more prosperous and healthy future.

We Have a Winning Plan

Our efforts will be focused on delivering climate and health solutions that benefit people’s lives, most directly ensuring their health and safety, good jobs in a fair economy, and a thriving natural world for generations to enjoy. Below are six areas of focus over the coming year to supercharge our efforts:

NRDC will support the administration to make climate change a top foreign policy priority and reinstate the United States’ leadership role, first by immediately re-entering the Paris Agreement. In addition, we will advocate for rebuilding the foreign policy team and structures that support this action, and push for climate foreign policy that is much broader than it has historically been. We will also use our global reputation and relationships to push for aggressive international accords, including fighting for efforts such as 30x30—the push to conserve 30 percent of the planet’s lands, waters, and oceans by 2030, thus increasing natural climate solutions—at the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Through both litigation and policy expertise, NRDC will work with the Biden administration to reverse the many Trump rollbacks and restore and protect our bedrock environmental laws, including the National Environmental Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, and Clean Water Act.

NRDC advocates will support the Biden administration to rebuild key agencies that are vital to our mission, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Department of State, Department of Energy, and Department of Transportation.

The Biden/Harris Climate Plan is the most aggressive one ever put forth by a presidential candidate. Starting on day one, NRDC will work with the administration to provide policy guidance while helping to build the public and business support that will be politically necessary to advance the boldest elements of their plan, especially if the Senate is controlled by climate deniers.

NRDC will double down at the state and local levels to advance locally, regionally, and nationally transformative climate solutions that will deliver good jobs and health benefits while building strong public demand for these solutions through partnerships and powerful communications.

We will push for—and mobilize our diverse coalition in bipartisan support of—funding that promotes green jobs in a fair economy, ensures community health needs are addressed, and centers on equity and environmental justice. We will also fight fossil fuel bias in these packages as we help point the country toward a more vibrant future economy.

 

Now Is the Time

This election has given us a much-needed but brief window of opportunity—just one year—to advance meaningful federal action on climate change and other priority issues and to reassert U.S. leadership on the global stage, so we must not delay in acting. But we cannot expect that this will solve all of our problems, nor can we expect that climate deniers in the Senate won’t fight us. So we must apply equal energy to state and local actions so that we can build durable change that will lay the groundwork for bold, sustained federal action.

Please join us in seizing this opportunity and building the future we have longed dreamed of. Thank you.

Download NRDC’s Now Is the Time action plan.