By MATTHEW DALY and ELLEN KNICKMEYER
WASHINGTON (AP) — In the most ambitious U.S. effort to stave off the worst effects of climate change, President Joe Biden is aiming to cut oil, gas and coal emissions and double energy production from offshore wind turbines through executive orders Wednesday.
The orders awaiting his signature target federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels and halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters.
They also intend to conserve 30 percent of the country’s lands and ocean waters in the next 10 years and move to an all-electric federal vehicle fleet.
Biden has set a goal of eliminating pollution from fossil fuel in the power sector by 2035 and from the U.S. economy overall by 2050, speeding what is already a market-driven growth of solar and wind energy and lessening the country’s dependence on oil and gas.
The ambitious plan is aimed at slowing human-caused global warming that is magnifying extreme weather events such as deadly wildfires in the West and drenching rains and hurricanes in the East.
But the rapid pace of change needed to stave off global warming also carries political risk for the president and Democrats overall.
“The stakes on climate change just simply couldn’t be any higher than they are right now. It is existential,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry, who is Biden’s envoy on climate change.