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Biden and Warren want new federal agencies to fight climate change

This image is a split screen of Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, who are both standing and speaking into microphones.
Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Photos: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images for MoveOn and Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Frontrunner Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren's respective plans to combat climate change, which were unveiled Tuesday, both call for creating new federal agencies.

Why it matters: The plans signal acknowledgment that the federal government's existing structures are imperfectly aligned to spur deep emissions cuts.

Where it stands: Warren's $2 trillion "green manufacturing" plan would form a National Institutes of Clean Energy. Biden wants to create a cross-agency Advanced Research Projects Agency for climate (ARPA-C).

There are other examples. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's platform, for instance, revives the idea of creating a federal Clean Energy Deployment Authority (or "green bank").

But, but, but: There are tradeoffs. Standing up new bureaucracies takes time and often congressional authorization.

  • There's also some controversy attached to Biden's plan, after his campaign "amended his climate policy plan hours after it was released Tuesday because a handful of passages did not credit some of the sources in the proposal," AP reports.

Go deeper: NYT's Brad Plumer tweeted helpful comparisons of the price tag of candidates' climate plans.