President Biden and his team are rounding out their first 100 days in office. From the first-day priority of revoking a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, the President has been building his team and laying the groundwork for a science-centered, climate-focused environmental agenda. Within a week of his inauguration, President Biden signed Executive Order No. 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. This order places an economic imperative on developing climate solutions and places climate change at the “center of United States foreign policy and national security.” The Executive Order was an ideological win for environmentalists and indicates that over the next 4 years, Federal land management decisions will revolve around climate conscious goals for conservation, forest restoration, and carbon sequestration.
President Biden has assembled an outstanding leadership team for the land management agencies and scientific offices to begin work on some big environmental goals. They seem to have solidified support from the larger scientific community. Still, over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an uneasiness among the researchers and land managers that I work with. There is a sense that something is coming down the pike, but we don’t know what. Maybe it’s a bit of paranoia remaining from the previous administration that abruptly pulled support from climate scientists, conservation projects, and natural resource operations. My gut feeling is that these concerns are not without base though. Placing priorities on conservation could do a lot over the next four years, but conservation goals gain complexity as they are handed from leadership to practitioners on the ground.