US President-elect Joe Biden has introduced his climate and energy team, saying they will lead an “ambitious plan” to combat climate change.
Biden has vowed to make the issue a top priority in an agenda that reverses many Trump administration policies. He said there was “no time to waste”.
If confirmed by the Senate, the team will include the first black man to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the first Native American cabinet member. Biden, who is set to be inaugurated on 20 January, has pledged to build a diverse administration that reflects the US.
“We’re in a crisis,” he said. “Just like we need to be a unified nation to respond to Covid-19, we need a unified national response to climate change.”
Biden has pledged to break away from climate policy under the Trump administration. He says he will re-join the Paris climate agreement immediately upon taking office and “put America back in the business of leading the world on climate change”.
Under President Donald Trump, the US this year became the first country to formally withdraw from the Paris agreement, which commits countries to working to limit the global temperature rise.
Biden described his picks for his new climate and energy team as “brilliant, qualified and tested, and barrier-busting”.
Nominees include North Carolina’s top environmental regulator Michael Regan, who would be the first African-American man to head the EPA, and New Mexico representative Deb Haaland who would be the first Native American to lead the Department of the Interior.
Haaland hailed her nomination as a “profound” moment in the history of the country.
Environmental lawyer and Obama administration official Brenda Mallory was nominated to run the Council on Environmental Quality. If confirmed, she would be the first African American to hold the position.
Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm was nominated for the position of energy secretary.
Last month Biden named John Kerry, a former secretary of state and one of the leading architects of the Paris agreement, as his climate envoy.
The Biden transition team said the position would see him “fight climate change full-time”. He is also set to be the first official dedicated to climate change to sit on the National Security Council.