Jennifer Ludden

Former EPA chief Gina McCarthy is President-elect Joe Biden's pick for domestic climate adviser. She'll have a big role pushing for aggressive climate action across the government.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Updated 6:39 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to be the next secretary of energy, two sources familiar with transition discussions told NPR.

Granholm will bring experience in promoting clean-energy manufacturing as Biden tries to implement a sweeping $2 trillion climate plan.

The selection was first reported by Politico.

President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to name a second high-level climate position in the White House, a counterpart to his diplomatic climate envoy John Kerry, to ramp up action dramatically at home.

After decades advocating for action on climate change as a U.S. senator and then secretary of state, John Kerry has been tapped for a newly created post — special presidential envoy for climate, based on the National Security Council.

In his campaign for president, Joe Biden proposed the most aggressive plan to tackle climate change of any major party nominee and made climate justice part of his closing argument. But his goal of making the U.S.

Despite the cascade of other crises this year, climate change has emerged as a key election issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic is delivering the biggest shock to the global energy system in seven decades, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.

The Trump administration says a deal between California and four carmakers to improve fuel efficiency may be illegal. The Justice Department has also launched a probe to see whether it violates antitrust laws. Together, the moves raise the stakes in a months-long standoff over efforts to weaken a key Obama-era climate rule.

President Trump used the pomp and circumstance of the East Room, complete with an entrance to "Hail to the Chief" and a bevy of supportive Cabinet members, to tout "America's Environmental Leadership" on Monday. There was no new policy announcement. In fact, the event felt mostly like a campaign rally. But it may amount to recognition that the environment and climate change are a growing concern for U.S. voters and an issue on which Democrats hold an edge.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now let's dig a bit deeper into the discussion of climate change that we're likely to hear tonight. NPR's energy and environment editor Jennifer Ludden is here in the studio. Hey, Jennifer.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Hey, Ari.

In another proposed reversal of an Obama-era standard, the Environmental Protection Agency Friday said limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants is not cost-effective and should not be considered "appropriate and necessary."

The EPA says it is keeping the 2012 restrictions in place for now, in large part because utilities have already spent billions to comply with them. But environmental groups worry the move is a step toward repealing the limits and could make it harder to impose other regulations in the future.

The Trump administration released a major climate assessment on Black Friday, the culmination of years of research by the country's top climate scientists. It's well over 1,000 pages and touches on a daunting range of topics.

Bob Fitzgerald lives on the edge of a flat field that's just a few feet above sea level. It's the same spot on Maryland's Eastern Shore where his ancestors settled before the U.S. became a country.

"The land grant came into the family in 1666," he says.

When he was a child his parents grew tomatoes, cucumbers and string beans. Now nearing 80, Fitzgerald plants corn and soybeans to supply local chicken farms.

Updated at 2:54 p.m. ET

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced withering criticism from congressional Democrats on Thursday, with one lawmaker calling him "unfit to hold public office." But Republican members of Congress — especially those representing states with large fossil fuel industries — rallied to Pruitt's defense.

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