What Will 2023 Bring in Climate Crisis Action by the Public Sector?

G&A's Sustainability Highlights (01.15.2023)
Jan 24, 2023 10:00 AM ET

As we begin the year 2023, an intriguing question is what more is in store for public sector action to address critical climate change challenges? After all, we are entering year three of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Whole of Government” strategies (they took office January 2021). Upon settling into the Oval Office, President Biden quickly returned to the historic Paris Agreement that was abandoned by his predecessor.

Within days, the administration created a sweeping approach to aligning Federal government strategies, action, finances and more -- formalized in an Executive Order (issued January 27, 2021(titled, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad”. Main sections, with voluminous detailed actions, included:

  • “Putting the Climate Crisis at the Center of US Foreign Policy and National Security”
  • “Taking a Government-Wide Approach to the Climate Crisis”
  • “Use of the Federal Government Buying Power and Real Property and Asset Management”
  • “Empowering Workers Through Rebuilding Our Infrastructure for a Sustainable Economy”
  • “Empowering Workers by Advancing Conservation, Agriculture, and Reforestation”
  • “Empowering Workers Through Vitalizing Energy Communities”
  • “Securing Environmental Justice and Spurring Economic Opportunity”

The introduction to this sweeping Executive Order stated: “The U.S. and the world face a profound climate crisis. We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents.”

President Biden enlisted all of the cabinet agencies and many organs of the Federal government in the effort, and instructed that “the buying power of Federal procurement and real property, public lands and waters, and financial programs” be aligned to support robust climate action.

His call to action stated that an “immediate, clear, and stable source of product demand, increased transparency and data, and robust standards for the market…will help to catalyze private sector investment into, and accelerate the advancement of America’s industrial capacity to supply, domestic energy, buildings, vehicles, and other [necessary] products and materials.”

The power and prestige of the United States would be a priority in relations with other nations and such multilateral organizations as the G7, the G20, and other forums on climate change actions. In focus: clean energy, aviation, shipping, the oceans, the Arctic, sustainable development, and migration (a 2023 critical issue for sure).

In this issue, the G&A team has selected for you timely updates on “how we’re doing” with the Biden plan. The recent storms battering California, the Heartland states, and coastal areas are constant reminders of how serious the climate crisis has become.

We are seeing public sector action increasing along the same lines on the European continent as well, and we have included updates on that for you as well. As you explore the European Union actions that will affect many U.S. multinational companies, we should not lose sight of the sweep of the January 2021 Executive Order issued at the start of the Biden-Harris Administration.

Here’s the document for you: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/27/executive-order-on-tackling-the-climate-crisis-at-home-and-abroad/

And here is an example of follow up from July 2022: 

We look forward to keeping you updated throughout 2023 on further actions by the public sector in the U.S. and the EU to address the climate crisis.

This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.