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President Joe Biden speaks at a press conference

President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference on June 14, 2021. (Photo: Francisco Seco/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

'Biden Climate Timeline' Details Broken Promises on Planetary Emergency

"The administration is not living up to its promises from the campaign," says the group behind the project.

Andrea Germanos

President Joe Biden promised a "whole-of-government approach" featuring "bold" measures to tackle the climate emergency and vowed to undo environmental damage done by his predecessor, Donald Trump, whom he dubbed a "climate arsonist."

But a new tool launched Thursday from advocacy group Food & Water Watch shows how Biden and other officials in his administration have made statements and taken actions that run counter to those promises.

The resource is the interactive Biden Climate Timeline, which begins with the president's first month in office and will be regularly updated. The organization is hoping it can be a resource for a number of stakeholders including those wanting to see the Biden administration live up to its stated climate-related pledges.

One data point on the timeline is Biden's January statement, "We're not going to ban fracking.” Another example comes from March, when Biden told a group of labor leaders, "‘I'm all for natural gas."

"[The White House is] going out of its way to cower before the fossil fuel industry, pledging its fealty to prolonging their ability to frack and drill while the planet burns."

A number of comments listed are from Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, including her March statement that "we're going to be bullish about" carbon capture, technology that has been deemed a false climate in light of its technological shortcomings and the misguided mindset it represents.

Also on the timeline are Granholm's May remarks to an oil industry conference. “We want to be a partner," she told the group. "And first, let me be clear, in our position as a global supplier of crude oi and natural gas and other forms of energy, that traditional fossil energy is going to remain important, even as we work to reduce carbon emissions."

Another notable instance recorded for May was reporting showing that Biden's Interior Department "issued dozens of oil leases sold in the final weeks of the Trump administration—and could issue over 200 more," despite the administration's moratorium on new oil and gas leasing shortly after taking office.

According to Mitch Jones, policy director with Food & Water Watch, "the Biden administration is taking a 'whole-of-government' approach to the climate crisis, unfortunately it’s not the correct approach."

"What these statements and actions show is that the administration is not living up to its promises from the campaign," he said in a statement to Common Dreams. "No ban on fossil fuel extraction on public lands. No treating the climate crisis as the existential threat that it is."

Jones accused the administration of "going out of its way to cower before the fossil fuel industry, pledging its fealty to prolonging their ability to frack and drill while the planet burns.

The climate timeline's release came as Democrats work to get the bipartisan infrastructure compromise  Biden reached with a group Republican and Democratic senators to the Senate floor as soon as the week of July 19.

Progressive House Democrats told party leadership Thursday that the bipartisan deal, as well as the president's original American Jobs Plan, "will not reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the climate crisis to the extent that science and justice require."

Their demand was led by Rep. Cori Bush, who dubbed the bipartisan deal the "Exxon infrastructure deal," an apparent reference to newly released secret footage of ExxonMobil lobbyists exposing how the oil company targeted targeted centrist lawmakers like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) as it sought to weaken climate initiatives in infrastructure legislation.

Jones echoed Bush in his assessment.

"Given the overlap of the senators who created this [bipartisan] plan and the senators who were identified in the Exxon video leak, we should really call it the Exxon Plan," he said.

The collection of statements and actions detailed on the new timeline, Jones added, show "that the administration isn’t committed to taking on the fossil fuel industry, which they see as their 'partner.' And the Exxon plan reflects that."

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