More reactions trail Biden’s climate team

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. introduced his “brilliant, qualified and tested, and barrier-busting” climate team, saying it will lead his administration’s ambitious plan “to address an existential threat of our time — climate change.”

Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor 
Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor

“Like their fellow-Cabinet nominees and appointments, members of our environment and energy team are brilliant, qualified and tested, and barrier-busting,” Biden said in remarks at the event in Wilmington, Delaware, adding that “today’s nominees are ready on Day One, which is essential because we literally have no time to lose.”

Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality 
Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality

Biden introduced Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior; Governor Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy; Michael Regan, EPA Administrator; Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality; Administrator Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor; and Ali Zaidi, Deputy National Climate Advisor. 

Ali Zaidi, Deputy National Climate Advisor 
Ali Zaidi, Deputy National Climate Advisor

The President-elect said climate change is affecting virtually all aspects of life in the United States, triggering billions of dollars in damage.

“Homes and memories washed away. Small businesses closed up for good. Crops and farmlands destroyed for the next generation family farmer.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior 
Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior

“Just last year, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a direct threat to more than two-thirds of the military’s operationally critical installations. And this could well be a conservative estimate.

Michael Regan, EPA Administrator 
Michael Regan, EPA Administrator

“And so many climate and health calamities are colliding at once.
It’s not just a pandemic that keeps people inside — it’s poor air quality.
Multiple studies have shown air pollution is associated with an increased risk of death from Covid-19. Folks, we’re in a crisis,” Biden said.

Below is what is being said about his climate team

President-elect Joe Biden 
President-elect Joe Biden
Biden Unveils His Climate Team, Promising To Fight ‘With The Urgency It Demands’ President-elect Joe Biden formally introduced his climate team on Saturday, saying that the people he has selected will lead his administration’s “ambitious plan to address the existential threat of our time, climate change.”…All told, the members of the team that Biden announced on Saturday illustrate an agenda markedly different from that of the Trump presidency. [12/19/20]
Washington Post: His climate and energy teams would be ready on day one, he said, with a focus on creating new jobs in “climate-resilient infrastructure” and clean energy. [12/19/20]
Heidi Przybyla, NBC: With these nominations the most diverse cabinet in history, if they are approved, in American history. But there was also a real focus on the commonalities between them with all of these nominees. If you noticed with the bios in the beginning, each one of these speakers in great detail and often very personally about their own backgrounds, their own working-class backgrounds…[Biden]’s choosing so many people who have this kind of  working class life experience. [12/19/20]
New York Times: The president-elect said he has chosen a team that prioritizes making clean energy jobs and environmental protection the cornerstone of his economic plans. [12/19/20]
CNN: Biden introduces key members of climate team “Today I’m pleased to announce a team that will lead my administration’s ambitious plan to address the existential threat of our time, climate change,” Biden said at an event in Wilmington, Delaware.Biden continued, “Like their fellow Cabinet nominees and appointees, members of our environmental and energy team are brilliant, they’re qualified, tested and they are barrier-busting.” [12/19/20]
AP: Biden environmental team heavy on experience, diversity President-elect Joe Biden hopes the environmental team he is set to introduce on Saturday will steer America toward greater action to curb climate change and protect the nation’s air and water…There also will be an emphasis on looking out for the low-income, working class and minority communities hit hardest by fossil fuel pollution and climate change.The selections also help Biden fulfill his promise to assemble a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of America. [12/19/20]
Roll Call: Haaland nomination to Interior Department ‘an unprecedented nod to Indian country’ [12/19/20]
The Detroit News: Biden introduces ‘forward thinking’ Granholm as his energy secretary nominee Granholm is Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Energy. She and the other new members of his administration are meant to help him tackle the climate crisis in a way that creates millions of union jobs, he said…Biden credited Granholm with helping to rescue the U.S. auto industry and save jobs back in 2009 by betting on auto workers and the “promise of a clean energy future.” [12/19/20]
The News & Observer: NC’s Regan, top EPA pick, promises environmental policy that serves ‘every person’  [12/19/20]
Molly Nagle, ABC: President-elect ⁦@JoeBiden ⁩ starts his remarks by noting the historic nature of his cabinet, and singled out the “long overdue” nomination of the first Native American to serve in a cabinet if confirmed, ⁦@DebHaalandNM [12/19/20]
Ali Velshi, MSNBC: Native Americans have had little representation and few allies in the federal government, leaving them voiceless when it comes to their own land, until now. In a historic move, Joe Biden has selected Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico to be the next secretary of the Interior Department. [12/19/20]
Geoff Bennett, NBC: @RepDebHaaland begins her remarks by honoring the ancestral homelands of the Lenape tribal nation. She says the “moment is profound” considering a former Interior Sec. once vowed to “civilize or exterminate us. I am a living testament of the failure of that horrific ideology.” [12/19/20]
⁩Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg: Haaland chokes up as she begins to speak, sketching out her path as a single mother who once relied on food stamps to this moment and the precipice of becoming the first Native American Secretary of the Interior. [Granholm] She focused heavily on creating clean energy jobs. “We can stand on the sidelines and let other countries to beat us to these opportunities or we can get in the game.” “It is essential that we deploy smart and humane policy to help communities pull themselves back from the edge and improve the health, security and prosperity of all people,” [Brenda] Mallory said. [12/19/20]
CBS News: EPA admin. nominee Michael Regan: “We will be driven by our conviction that every person in our great country has the right to clean air, clean water & a healthier life no matter how much money they have in their pockets, the color of their skin or the community they live in.” [12/19/20]
Jeff Zeleny, CNN: Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris closes out the climate team introduction,  saying: “Our climate crisis is not a partisan issue and it is not a hoax. It is an existential threat to all of us.” [12/19/20]
Al Gore: President-elect Biden has assembled not only an “A” team to lead his climate agenda forward, but an “A+” team! Each appointee is ready on Day 1 to take on the urgent, existential threat of the climate crisis, while creating millions of new jobs & protecting frontline communities. [Tweet, 12/19/20]
Senator Mark Kelly: “Strong leadership at the Department of Interior is critical to protecting our state’s public lands and parks, including the Grand Canyon, and to working alongside Arizona’s twenty-two tribal nations to overcome and rebuild from a pandemic that has hit native communities especially hard. Representative Haaland’s nomination to this position is historic, I’ve known her for a number of years and am looking forward to talking with her about her vision for the department.” [via Arizona Republic, 12/19/20]

Senator Tom Carper: In addition to protecting public lands and preserving our natural resources, I have no doubt that Congresswoman Haaland will put environmental justice front and center in Interior’s important work. I congratulate her on this historic nomination and look forward to working with her on safeguarding the natural world around us. [Statement, 12/19/20]
Senator Dick Durbin: Gina McCarthy is a wonderful pick to lead the fight against climate change. I look forward to working with the entire Biden-Harris climate team and will do everything I can to aid their efforts from my position in the Senate. [Tweet, 12/19/20]
Senator Ben Cardin: I’m pleased that Biden has selected Michael Regan to head the @EPA. He’s a respected leader who can face growing environmental threats with science and put concern for the health of our citizens above political agendas. [Tweet, 12/19/20]
Representative Steven Horsford: I’m thrilled with this historic nomination. NV is home to more than 48 million acres of #publiclands, 2 National Parks, and many treasured outdoor spaces. @RepDebHaaland will be an excellent steward of the country’s #greatoutdoors and leader of @Interior. [Tweet, 12/17/20]
Representative Marc Veasey: I applaud @JoeBiden for picking former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as the next Secretary of Energy. Her record speaks for itself. I know she will ensure our nation will still lead the world in the energy sector, protect the jobs of hard-working Americans, and bring overdue action on climate change to the forefront in her future role. [Thread, 12/15/20]
Representative Jeff Fortenberry: I am very proud that my colleague Deb Haaland (D-NM) has been nominated to lead the Department of the Interior. In important news for all Americans, she will be the first Native American Cabinet Secretary in U.S. History. Congratulations, Congresswoman. @RepDebHaaland @Interior [Tweet, 12/17/20]
Representative Barbara Lee: Congratulations, @DebHaalandNM, on making history! There is no better person to lead the Interior Department to ensure we uphold our nation’s promises. I look forward to working with you on climate justice, preserving public land, and more! [Tweet, 12/18/20]
Representative Darren Soto: NC Enviro Chief Michael Regan gets tapped for ⁦@EPA⁩ Admin. Regan has a strong record on environmental justice and industrial cleanups. He will be a strong advocate to #ActOnClimate, protect clean air and water, & clean up pollution! Thank you Pres-Elect @JoeBiden & congrats to Administrator @Michael_S_Regan! [Thread, 12/19/20]
Environmental Defense Fund: “Michael Regan has dedicated his life to protecting clean air and water. He is exactly the kind of person we need leading the Environmental Protection Agency.” [Tweet, 12/19/20]
League of Conservation Voters: We are confident Michael Regan will rebuild the EPA, restore the central role of science, and advance health protections for people and the air, water and land upon which we depend to thrive. [Tweet, 12/19/20]
Climate Power: “The President-elect has put together the strongest climate plan ever raised to this level of leadership … It will be my incredible honor to help turn this plan into promises kept” —@Gina_McCarthy on the historic nature of President-elect @JoeBiden’s climate plans [Tweet, 12/19/20]
Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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