Sustainability Climate Change

A look at Biden’s past executive orders on climate change

Prior to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the president has used his office to attack the global crisis on numerous occasions.
President Biden signs an executive order on Earth Day, 2022.
In this April 22, 2022 photo, President Biden signs an executive order intended to help restore national forests. The Associated Press/ Andrew Harnik

Story at a glance

  • Although today marks the largest allotment of federal funds to combat climate change in U.S. history, Biden has issued numerous executive orders throughout his tenure to address the climate crisis.

  • Upon inauguration, President Biden signed executive order 13990 in January 2021 to conduct an immediate review of all agency actions taken throughout former President Trump’s administration as they relate to public health and the environment.

  • Other orders targeted the financial industry, manufacturing, transportation and other sectors.

After weeks of negotiations, President Biden today achieved a milestone of his domestic agenda — infusing billions of federal dollars into the country’s fight against climate change. 

Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act marks a sea change for some advocates who feel the country has finally given the situation the gravity it warrants. 

The United States is among the top emitters of greenhouse gasses and thus contributes significantly to the environmental, health and economic ramifications of the climate crisis. 

Here is a list of executive orders on climate change issued so far, according to the Federal Register:

  • Upon inauguration, President Biden signed executive order 13990 in January 2021 to conduct an immediate review of all agency actions taken throughout former President Trump’s administration as they relate to public health and the environment. The order also placed a temporary moratorium on activities related to the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
  • Executive order 14007, signed in January 2021, created a council of advisers on science and technology to enable decisions based on evidence. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology would consist of a maximum of 26 members to guide the administration’s decisions. 
  • Also in January 2021, the President signed executive order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which in part was aimed at prioritizing the crisis in foreign policy and national security decisions. Biden also called for a government-wide approach for meeting climate related challenges in the United States and prompted agencies to empower workers to advance reforestation and conservation.
  • February of 2021 saw the signing of executive order 14013, Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs To Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration. The order directs agencies to report on climate change’s impacts on migration patterns, as well as the security implications of climate migration.
  • Also in February of 2021, President Biden signed executive order 14017 to bolster the country’s supply chains in the face of global disruptions such as climate shock and extreme weather events. Rebuilding the countries’ domestic manufacturing capacity will also result in less distance traveled for goods, cutting down on the use of fossil fuels for shipping and transportation.

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  • May of 2021 saw the creation of the Climate Change Support Office via executive order executive order 14027. The temporary office will be part of the Department of State and serve to advance the country’s efforts to meet the global climate crisis. It will also support the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, the first of whom is John Kerry, the former secretary of state under former President Obama.
  • Executive order 14030 was also signed in May of 2021. Climate-Related Financial Risk aimed to advance disclosure of climate-related financial risk information, including that of transitional and physical risks. It would also account for the disparate impact of climate change on underserved communities and communities of color. 
  • In August of 2021, President Biden signed executive order 14037 — Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks. As part of this order, by 2030 half of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 will be zero-emission. The order also called on the EPA administrator to consider rule-making under the Clean Air Act to establish new emissions standards for certain vehicles manufactured between 2027 and 2030.
  • November 2021 saw the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act via executive order 14052. The Act aims to improve access to safe drinking water, advance environmental justice and invest in underserved communities. These actions will be achieved through numerous initiatives such as building resilient infrastructure and coordinating with state and tribal governments to better target interventions.
  • In December 2021, Biden signed executive order 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability. The move bolsters the country’s efforts to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and aims to achieve 100 percent carbon-pollution free electricity by 2030. The order also involves provisions aimed at training and educating the federal workforce to incorporate sustainability and climate adaptation into their work. 
  • As part of executive order 14067, Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets, signed in March 2022, the president directed appropriate agencies to research how certain technologies impede or advance efforts to combat climate change and investigate the potential use of blockchain technology to monitor or mitigate climate impacts. 
  • Signed on Earth Day, 2022, executive order 14072 looks to strengthen the nation’s forests by pursuing sustainable and science-based land management. The government will collaborate with local and Tribal governments, along with the scientific community to do so. It will also work to promote forest resilience on federal lands and promote sustainable local economic development.