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Biden rolls out diverse climate and energy team to enact 'ambitious' plan

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden 'disappointed' in Senate parliamentarian ruling but 'respects' decision Taylor Swift celebrates House passage of Equality Act Donald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' MORE on Saturday rolled out his nominees for key climate and energy posts, touting his team as the right group to lead the government’s "ambitious" plan to address climate change.

Biden touted his team’s experience and diversity, describing it as "barrier-busting," and said his nominations signified the seriousness with which his administration would tackle “the existential threat of our time: climate change.”

"Folks, we’re in a crisis. Just like we need to be a unified nation in response to COVID-19, we need a unified national response to climate change," he said in remarks from Wilmington, Del. "We need to meet the moment with the urgency it demands as we would during any national emergency."

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The president-elect laid out his goals, including creating 1 million clean energy jobs in the auto industry and implementing a carbon-free electric sector by 2035.

“To the American people, yes, the goals I’ve laid out are bold. The challenges ahead are daunting. But I want you to know that we can do this. We must do this and we will do this,” he said.

Climate change has emerged as one of the thorniest issues within the Democratic Party, with Biden, a centrist, favoring a net-zero emission economy by 2050 and resisting a ban on fracking, while progressives press him to take more serious action, including passing the Green New Deal, which looks to eliminate fossil fuels by 2030. 

Still, the president-elect has said his energy team will adopt an aggressive posture toward the global threat. Biden specifically touted the nominees’ deep experience working in climate science and climate issues.

But more than their experience, Biden was quick to praise their diversity, including Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandThe Memo: Biden faces first major setback as Tanden teeters OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms former Michigan governor Granholm as Energy secretary | GOP bill would codify Trump rule on financing for fossil fuels, guns | Kennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a 'whack job' Kennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a 'whack job' MORE (D-N.M.), the first Native American tapped to hold a secretary post and his pick to lead the Interior Department.

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“This moment is profound when we consider the fact that a former secretary of the Interior once proclaimed was his goal was to ‘civilize or exterminate’ us. I’m a living testament to the failure of that horrific ideology,” she said, referencing former Interior Secretary Donald Grinde, who served in the 1850s.

“We know that climate change can only be solved by participation of every department and every community," she added. "Coming together in a common purpose, this country can and will tackle this challenge.” 

The nominees also vowed to keep social justice at the heart of their efforts, noting that communities of color often bear the brunt of climate change’s impacts. 

"We will be driven by our convictions that every person in our great country has the right to clean air, clean water and a healthier life, no matter how much money they have in their pockets, the color of their skin or the community that they live in," said Michael Regan, Biden’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). "We will move with a sense of urgency on climate change, protecting our drinking water and enact an environmental justice framework that empowers people in all communities."

If confirmed, Regan will be the first Black EPA chief. 

The energy and climate nominees were just the latest batch of officials to be rolled out as Biden cobbles together an administration that “looks like America.”