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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

What's next: Biden will issue a memo Wednesday saying the U.S. is rejoining the Paris climate deal (which is technically a 30-day process).

  • Another inauguration day move, per multiple news reports, will scrap the permit for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a project he pledged to block during the campaign.
  • Look for a bunch of other executive orders and directives on climate and energy this week and through Feb. 1, incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain said in a weekend memo about the first 10 days.
  • Reuters reports that early moves will include seeking to prevent oil-and-gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  

Yes, but: It's true executive orders and memos can achieve some things fast. But often they're akin to firing a starting gun that directs agencies to begin what's a time-consuming bureaucratic process to make real and lasting policy changes.

How it works: Crafting formal regulations on areas like tougher CO2 mandates for the auto sector — just one of the many areas where Biden is planning new rules — is often a yearslong process.

  • Other goals, like lots of new spending on low-carbon energy projects and climate-friendly infrastructure, will take careful negotiations with the narrowly divided Congress.
  • And even returning to the pre-Trump status quo by rejoining Paris is simply a precursor to months and years of diplomacy aimed at a more aggressive global response to climate change.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

General Motors puts Trump in its rearview mirror

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

General Motors (GM) is racing to prepare itself for a president and a world that takes climate change more seriously — and putting the Trump era behind them in the process.

Driving the news: GM yesterday announced an ambitious plan to end global sales of internal combustion vehicles by 2035. It's part of their wider new pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040.

25 mins ago - Health

Meta removes over 600 accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China

Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China.

Why it matters: Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.

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