In an ambitious effort to stave off the worst of climate change, US President Joe Biden has signed executive orders to transform the nation’s heavily fossil-fuel powered economy into a clean-burning one.
The orders include pausing oil and gas leasing on federal land and targeting subsidies for those industries.
The directives aim to conserve 30 per cent of the country’s lands and waters in the next 10 years, double the nation’s offshore wind energy, and move to an all-electric federal vehicle fleet, among other changes.
Biden’s sweeping plan is aimed at staving off the worst of global warming caused by burning fossil fuels.
But his effort also carries political risk as oil- and coal-producing states face job losses from moves to sharply increase US reliance on clean energy such as wind and solar power.
“We can’t wait any longer” to address the climate crisis, Biden said.
“We see with our own eyes. We know it in our bones. It is time to act.”
Biden has set a goal of eliminating pollution from fossil fuel in the power sector by 2035 and from the US economy overall by 2050, speeding what is already a market-driven growth of solar and wind energy and lessening the country’s dependence on oil and gas.
Biden acknowledged the political risk, repeatedly stating his approach would create jobs in the renewable energy and automotive sectors to offset losses in oil, coal or natural gas.
“When I think of climate change and the answers to it, I think of jobs,” Biden said.
“These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams. These are concrete actionable solutions. And we know how to do this.”
Republicans immediately criticised the plan as a job killer.
“Pie-in-the-sky government mandates and directives that restrict our mining, oil, and gas industries adversely impact our energy security and independence,” said Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Biden also is elevating the warming climate to a national security priority, directing intelligence agencies, the military and others to do more to prepare for the heightened risks.
The conservation plan would set aside millions of acres for recreation, wildlife and climate efforts by 2030 as part of Biden’s campaign pledge for a $US2 trillion ($A2.6 trillion) program to slow global warming.
President Donald Trump, who ridiculed the science of climate change, withdrew the US from the Paris global climate accord, opened more public lands to coal, gas and oil production and weakened regulation on fossil fuel emissions.
The oil industry said curtailing domestic production will lead to an increase in imported oil.
“I don’t think any American wants to go back to the days of being held hostage to foreign entities that don’t have America’s best interest at heart as we lose American energy leadership,” Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said.