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Press Release | June 1, 2022

New Papers Explore Biden’s Climate Options At Justice Department, Economics Agencies

ClimateCorporate CrackdownExecutive Branch
New Papers Explore Biden’s Climate Options At Justice Department, Economics Agencies


Contact: Max Moran, moran@therevolvingdoorproject.org

The Revolving Door Project published two new sections of its “Climate Corporate Crackdown” series today, which explore how the Biden Administration can mobilize existing powers in the Department of Justice, Office of Management and Budget, and financial regulatory agencies to tackle the climate crisis. Read the Justice section here and the economics section here.

The Climate Corporate Crackdown series explores how the federal government can use existing law to bring corporate polluters and greenhouse gas emitters to heel and shift the American economy off of fossil fuels and toward a more equitable and sustainable future. It is part of RDP’s broader “Corporate Crackdown Project,” which highlights opportunities for the President to take popular, populist action against corporate abuses.

Revolving Door Project Personnel Team Director Max Moran, who co-wrote the economics section, said “It’s pretty fitting that we’re releasing the economics section and the justice section together, since if you want to be taken seriously as a quote-unquote ‘policy person’ in D.C., you pretty much need to be either an economist or a lawyer. Some of the least productive intra-Democratic screaming matches about policy boil often down to the economists and the lawyers yelling past each other. But if we’re going to solve the climate crisis, or any of our other crises for that matter, we need to draw on knowledge from not just economics and law, but also every other discipline out there. And each discipline has to be humble about what it can and cannot tell us. If we want readers to take anything away from these chapters, it’s that every part of the federal government and every type of human knowledge has a key part to play in saving our species from itself.”

Revolving Door Project researcher Fatou Ndiaye, who co-wrote both sections, said “The climate crisis necessitates far-reaching shifts across all parts of modern life. The judicial and economic systems are obviously two of the most important institutions of American life, so it’s important to look at them in any examination of what a green future might include. A real policy program that could completely meet the challenges of our changing planet, such as the Green New Deal, of course necessitates Congressional action in addition to the executive actions we describe in these chapters. We don’t in any way think that the policies in these reports replace the urgent task of passing new federal climate legislation. What we’re trying to show is that there’s a great deal of good which our existing bureaucracies are obligated to do under longstanding law to protect the climate and crack down on the people destroying it.”

Revolving Door Project researcher Hannah Story Brown, co-author of the Justice Department section, said, “The enforcement of existing laws would be critical to preserving a livable environment no matter what, but is doubly so because Congress has failed to pass climate legislation for decades. This report encompasses months of research into the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and shows how the division’s lawyers are integral to that effort, but could be much more powerful advocates. Increasing Division resources could go a long way—but the ENRD also needs lawyers who are willing to be staunch environmental defenders, fending off the corporations who would poison our air, land and water in the name of profit. If we want a federal government that protects public health and our irreplaceable biodiversity, we need a federal government with the resources and the uncompromising vision to actually accomplish its goals.”

The Project also released a supplemental report on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is not part of the federal executive branch but does play a key role in estimating the economic impacts of policy measures, which is a major theme of the economics section. Read that supplemental report here.

The Project previously released a chapter on the Department of Energy, and will release chapters on the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, and more in the coming weeks.


PHOTO CREDIT: “Earth” by Kevin M. Gill is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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