With a pen and a phone, a president can do just about anything he wants. The last two presidents haven’t bothered much with Congress — too much work and a president never seems to get everything he wants. So for both Obama and Trump, it was pretty much just a pen and forget the phone.
It’s so much more fun to make grandiose announcements about changing the world through executive orders. And no messy democracy stuff.
Joe Biden doesn’t just want to change the world, he wants to change the climate. But the climate is a stubborn beast and probably won’t want to be changed — no matter what Biden says or does. At any rate, he’s not going to change the climate with a stroke of a pen.
But he can pretend that he’s changing it. And for liberals who all live in a world of make-believe anyway, it will probably be enough.
Here are the ten executive orders that Joe Biden says he will sign the first day he’s in office, via CNN.
- Require limits on methane pollution for oil and gas operations.
- Use the federal government procurement system to work towards 100% clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles.
- Ensure US government buildings and facilities are more efficient and climate-ready.
“Climate ready”? Ready for what? The climate disaster won’t happen for another 100 years or so, but I guess it’s better to prepare now than be caught flat-footed 100 years from now.
- Implement the already-existing Clean Air Act, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by developing new fuel economy standards to ensure all new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified, and annual improvements for heavy-duty vehicles.
- Double down on liquid fuels like advanced biofuels and make agriculture a key part of the solution to the climate crisis.
- Reduce emissions and cut consumer costs through new standards for appliance and building efficiency.
Electric vehicles are not able to compete with gas-powered autos. Forcing the conversion of the nation to electric vehicles will only mean a lot of us will be walking a lot more.
- Require federal permit decisions to consider effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and ensure every federal infrastructure investment reduces climate pollution.
- Require public companies to disclose climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.
- Protect biodiversity, slow extinction rates and conserve 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030.
- Permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, establish national parks and monuments, ban new oil and gas permits on public lands and waters, modify royalties to account for climate costs and creating programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewable energy on federal lands and waters to double offshore wind by 2030.
Most of this I’m sure you recognize as typical green promises by liberal lawmakers. We’re gonna save the planet, purify the water, save the beasts, and stick it to business. It isn’t that these proposals are mostly innocuous. It’s that they will be handed over to climate and energy bureaucrats to turn into regulations, each with the force of law. The paperwork alone will bury small businesses.
There have been few kings with as much power as Biden will have. But the modern presidency has become anti-Democratic in a way the founders never intended.
You can’t blame the president entirely. Congress has the power to slap a president down. But that would take cooperation between the parties and that’s not likely to happen in the near future.