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Monday April 15th

Biden-Harris Administration announce new executive action on climate change

<p><em>The Biden-Harris Administration announced the creation of the American Climate Corps on Sept. 20 (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/“</em><a href=",_Kamala_Harris_(collage).jpg" target=""><em>Joe Biden, Kamala Harris (collage)</em></a><em>” by The White House. November 7, 2020). </em></p>

The Biden-Harris Administration announced the creation of the American Climate Corps on Sept. 20 (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/“Joe Biden, Kamala Harris (collage)” by The White House. November 7, 2020). 

By Brenden Kelley

The Biden-Harris Administration announced the creation of the American Climate Corps on Sept. 20. The American Climate Corps is inspired by a New Deal Era program called the Civilian Conservation Corps that helped put millions of young American men to work during the Great Depression, according to AP News. 

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the most popular programs of the New Deal Era. The CCC existed from 1933 to 1942 and employed millions of young men aged 18 to 25. According to the National Park Service’s website, the CCC was responsible for much of the infrastructure within the National Parks along with important conservation projects and environmental management. 

Activist groups such as the Sunrise Movement have claimed the passing of the American Conservation Corps as a massive victory for combating climate change. Varshini Prakash, a co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, said “after years of demonstrating and fighting for a Climate Corps, we turned a generational rallying cry into a real jobs program that will put a new generation to work stopping the climate crisis.”

The White House has not stated exactly how much the program will cost except that it would be a joint effort between multiple government agencies. The White House projects that there will be 20,000 recruits within the first year of the program's launch. The American Climate Corps plans to train young Americans in skills related to clean and renewable energy. 

The promotion of the American Climate Corps comes at a time when Biden is pushing for more youth turnout in the 2024 presidential election. According to NBC News, a poll conducted in July found that 57% disapprove of the administration's handling of climate change while only 40% approve.

The idea of a civilian climate corps has received significant pushback in the past. In 2022, a last-minute attempt to attach the program to the Inflation Reduction Act was voted down overwhelmingly by Senate Democrats. Despite this, the New York Times reported that House and Senate Democrats sent Biden a letter on Sept. 18 urging him to establish the American Climate Corps.

According to NPR, the current iteration of the program is much smaller than the original proposal in 2022. According to a press release by the White House, the planned size of the American Climate Corps is 20,000, significantly smaller than the originally proposed 300,000 in 2021.

Republicans in the House and Senate have overwhelmingly come out against the new program, claiming that it is a waste of money and will take jobs away from an already needy job market. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the program “pure Socialist wish fulfillment.”

“Why would we think people are going to suddenly jump at doing really, really hard, dirty, dangerous work because we offer them $15 an hour?” Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-O.R., stated. “That’s not going to happen.”

Democrats, such as Sen. Ed Markey, D-M.A., have argued that this program will help reinforce communities negatively affected by climate change and provide needed skills to young people. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-C.O., also commented on the new program. 

“Today, I join Coloradans and communities across the country in applauding the Biden-Harris Administration's decision to mobilize Americans in response to the climate crisis, creating a twenty-first century climate-focused workforce that will prepare a new era of workers for good paying jobs in a clean economy,” Neguse said in a press release. 

Moving forward, it is unclear how successful the American Climate Corps will be in combating the climate crisis, but it sends a clear message that the Biden-Harris administration wants to do more to curb climate change. 


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