The Decade of the Green New Deal Has Begun...

Hi There Green New Dealmakers!

Wow—what a way to wrap up a truly wild January. This week has been full of lots of hopeful and exciting climate action and policy—but, remember, it’s only the beginning of the fight…And we’re going to need to be ready for the long run. This is just the first week of the decade of the Green New Deal!

Let’s get into it…

Wednesday was ‘Climate Day’ at the Whitehouse, and President Biden formally announced a flurry of new climate policies, including:

  • The formation of the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, led by National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy

  • The establishment of the National Climate Task Force, which will bring together leaders from across 21 federal agencies & departments to take a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to solving the climate crisis

  • A directive that all federal agencies buy carbon-free electricity, and zero-emission electric vehicles for their fleets—which must be made-in-America

  • A pause on new oil & gas leases on federal lands or offshore waters, with a review of existing leases, and a directive to study how to double offshore wind by 2030

  • The establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps Initiative

  • The establishment of an Interagency Environmental Justice Council and an Environmental Justice Advisory Council to prioritize environmental justice and ensure a whole-of-government approach to addressing environmental injustices, including offices at the EPA, Department of Justice, and Department of Health and Human Services

  • As well as a government-wide Justice40 Initiative with the goal of delivering 40% of the overall benefits of climate investments to disadvantaged communities

  • The establishment of an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, which directs federal agencies to coordinate investments and other efforts to assist coal, oil and natural gas, and power plant communities….AKA, a ‘just transition’

  • A memorandum on Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking directing agencies to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data

  • Some other great stuff about climate leadership on the world stage, as well as climate-smart infrastructure, manufacturing farming, and reforestation projects

    Read the executive orders in full, here.

    Or, just read the fact sheet about the executive orders, here.

Plus, watch the full press conference and announcements from President Biden, Climate Envoy John Kerry, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy here:


You might recall that last month we had Evan Weber, Political Director of the Sunrise Movement, and renowned climate journalist Kate Aronoff on the pod talking about what a then President-Elect Biden could do with just his executive powers to address the climate crisis. Kate and Evan basically told us that Biden could do, well, a lot of what he just did…And actually, he did quite a bit more!

Sunrise, and the climate movement, have been celebrating the victories today across the internet…


In all seriousness, Biden genuinely is listening to, and doing, much of what the climate movement urged him to do through executive actions, and this is just Week One. There is more that Biden could and should do unilaterally, including declaring a Climate Emergency and shutting down the Dakota Access and Line3 Pipelines. But the Biden administration is absolutely hitting the ground running, and a year ago it was hard to imagine this kind of boldness from Joe Biden (especially when a year ago it looked like Bernie Sanders had a much better shot at becoming President than Biden, remember that??)

The big challenge now looks to be the Senate, where Democrats have the slimmest of majorities, and will rely on pro-fossil fuel Senators like Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema to do much of anything — both of whom have vowed to vote against ending the filibuster. While Democrats are determined to address climate change in must-pass stimulus legislation, Republicans seem dead set against allowing the Democrats to do, basically, anything…So, stay tuned.


Speaking of the Senate…In a slightly different set of circumstances the Senate could have been a much friendlier place for the Green New Deal, and we’ve got a brand new podcast episode about it!

Last year, Charles Booker ran in the Kentucky Democratic Senate Primary for the chance to take on Mitch McConnell. Booker is a remarkably talented candidate and despite an enormous fundraising advantage by his rival in the primary, “pro-Trump Democrat” Amy McGrath, he came within a few points of being the Democratic nominee in Kentucky. In fact, he may well have won had it not been for serious voter suppression. If you haven’t seen Charles Booker’s final campaign ad, produced by our friends at Sunrise Movement, do yourself a favor and watch it.

We’ve got the inside story of the Booker campaign on the latest episode of the GenGND podcast, featuring Charles Booker himself alongside Shante Wolfe, Evan Weber and Alex O’Keefe of the Sunrise Movement!

Booker’s story holds important lessons for Democrats: organize everywhere, even in “red states”. Don’t just support candidates, support deep organizing, local activism and movements. And don’t be afraid to take bold stances.

Sunrise was one of the only national organizations to support Booker from the beginning, few national progressives were willing to spend their time and resources in Kentucky until the last month of the campaign, when the Black Lives Matter protest movement brought attention to Booker. Evan Weber told us that behind the scenes it was very hard to convince political operatives that a Black man, let alone a Green New Deal champion, could win in Kentucky. If Booker had gotten more support earlier on, he may well have beat McGrath and had a real shot at taking down Mitch.

And now, to some extent at least, things are changing in the Democratic Party. The new DNC chair, Jaime Harrison, has publicly encouraged Booker to run again in 2022, this time against Senator Rand Paul…And, well, as Charles told us—he doesn’t think he’s run his last race…

LISTEN TO CHARLES BOOKER’S STORY ON THE GENGND PODCAST, NOW!


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And finally, here’s our Green New Reading List for this week…

HOW JOE BIDEN WINS THE CLIMATE MESSAGING WAR & FIXES THE CRISIS, by Brian Kahn for EARTHER

BIDEN, EMPHASIZING JOB CREATION, SIGNS SWEEPING CLIMATE ACTIONS, by Lisa Friedman, Coral Davenport & Christopher Flavelle for The New York Times

BIDEN TO PLACE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AT CENTER OF SWEEPING CLIMATE PLAN, by Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis & Darryl Fears for The Washington Post

HOW BIDEN’S CLIMATE AMBITIONS COULD SHIFT AMERICA’S GLOBAL FOOTPRINT, by Somini Sengupta for The New York Times

‘NO MORE BROKEN TREATIES’: INDIGENOUS LEADERS URGE BIDEN TO SHUT DOWN DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE, by Nina Lakhani for GRIST

RIGHT TO WORK ON A HOT PLANET, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic

And, check out the next installment of the BEGIN THE DECADE OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL video series from our friends at Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats…


This week’s newsletter was written by Sam Eilertsen & Nate Birnbaum