Biden Administration Launching Long-Awaited Climate Corps is Welcome News, Says Science Group

Statement by Shana Udvardy, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Sep 20, 2023

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WASHINGTON—President Biden announced today that he will use his executive authority to launch the American Climate Corps—a new workforce initiative that will train more than 20,000 young adults to work in conservation, clean energy, energy efficiency, climate resilience, and environmental justice advancement, and deploy them in communities on the frontlines of climate change with historically disadvantaged communities being given priority. This project is a part of the administration’s commitment to ensure at least 40% of certain federal investments are directed to communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution, also called the Justice40 Initiative.

This announcement comes on the heels of what has already been a record-breaking year of climate and extreme weather disasters. According to the latest data from the U.S. National and Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States experienced 23 separate disasters between January and August of 2023 that collectively contributed to the deaths of 253 people and each reported damages exceeding $1 billion, with a total economic cost of $57.6 billion. These disasters impose a disproportionate burden on communities of color and low-income communities. The onslaught of disasters has also led the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to request that Congress urgently allocate additional money for the disaster relief fund as it is slated to run out of funds this month.

Below is a statement by Shana Udvardy, senior climate resilience policy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“With many members of Congress ignoring the climate crisis or worse—spreading disinformation—the announcement of the Biden administration’s American Climate Corps initiative is welcome news. This new endeavor affirms that creating good-paying jobs and training workers can go hand-in hand with reducing U.S. heat-trapping emissions, limiting climate harm and advancing equity.

“This year we’ve seen endless days of extreme heat, nightmarish wildfires, unyielding flooding, and rapidly intensifying storms, which have left communities across the country struggling to recover. The creation of the American Climate Corps is one more tool the federal government will be able to utilize to ensure that communities—especially those on the frontlines of the climate crisis that have often been left behind—can join the transition away from fossil fuels, safeguard their communities from climate change impacts, and better recover should a disaster strike.”

UCS has also long supported congressional action to create a Civilian Climate Corps and has endorsed the “Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act” recently reintroduced by U.S. Senator Markey and U.S. Representative Ocasio-Cortez.

If you have questions or would like to interview Udvardy, please contact UCS Climate and Energy Media Manager Ashley Siefert Nunes.