Aug 31, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden is caught between political worlds on climate change

President Biden listens during a meeting in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

These two things both happened Monday: The Health and Human Services Department unveiled its climate office, and the White House promoted efforts to keep gasoline prices in check.

Why it matters: The two moves show how the White House is now operating simultaneously in the old and new world of energy and climate policy.

  • On the new front, the new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity shows how the Biden administration is seeking to stitch efforts to address the causes and effects of climate change into agencies government-wide.
  • But Monday the White House also made public that the Federal Trade Commission is probing (among other things) gas stations mergers to avert potentially anti-competitive behavior that could drive up pump prices.

Our thought bubble: President Biden's administration is looking to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels, but it's also not going to abandon what a long string of administrations have viewed as the political imperative to show they want to constrain fuel costs.

Catch up fast: The New York Times reports here on the "first federal program aimed specifically at understanding how planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels also affect human health."

  • "In particular, experts said, more needs to be done to understand how extreme weather affects older people as well as communities of color, where families are more likely to live in areas hardest hit by disasters," Lisa Friedman reports.
Go deeper