WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden has started to name his picks for Cabinet positions to form an administration that will help him tackle the pandemic, climate crisis, and racial and economic injustice. Biden has committed to choosing a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of the US. At 350.org, we will hold him to that promise and push Biden to choose a fossil-free administration by assessing prospective candidates with our Cabinet Climate Test.
So far, Biden’s picks have included former Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen for Secretary of Treasury and former Secretary of State John Kerry for Special Envoy for Climate. Potential contenders who pass our Climate Cabinet Test include New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland, Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali of the National Wildlife Federation, and Ohio Representative Marcia Fudge. Candidates we oppose include former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, and former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.
350 Action Associate Policy Director Natalie Mebane gave the following response:
“For too long and in a time of deep crisis, federal officials have disavowed our interests by slipping US$15.2 billion a year into the pockets of fossil fuel executives that exploit, pollute, and destroy our communities and planet. Biden cannot afford to appoint gross negligence to his administration, given his commitment to prioritize climate action, racial and economic justice, and pandemic response. Our stance is clear: we will accept no malarky. We oppose any nominees who have profited from fossil fuel money at every cabinet level. We support nominees who have supported renewable energy and climate justice by keeping fossil fuels in the ground, supporting corporate accountability, and advocating for intersectional climate action, centering racial, economic, and immigrant justice.
“Biden has the opportunity to make history with his Cabinet picks, from choosing Representative Deb Haaland as the first Indigenous woman for Interior secretary to surrounding himself with climate action advocates like Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, both of whom have a robust track record of prioritizing climate justice for BIPOC communities. Biden should appoint leaders like Representative Marcia Fudge for Secretary of Agriculture, a strong climate advocate who has fought for workers’ rights, rather than former Senator Heidi Heitkamp who has pocketed tens of thousands from agribusiness and fossil fuel companies — the most of any Senate Democrat during her elections. In like fashion, Ernest Moniz fails our climate litmus test, with his allegiance to fossil fuel cronies and support for fracked gas. Moniz is a clear example of the harmful and polluting energy policy our country does not need.
“Our lives are at stake. We demand an executive branch ready to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and face the climate crisis at scale.”