Biden’s Climate Adviser Leading Talks with Auto, Utility Sectors

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy and other top officials are in talks with automakers and utilities as the Biden administration determines its next steps for paring greenhouse gas emissions, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Biden administration is set to tighten limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, automobiles and oil wells. Biden has given the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department a July 2021 deadline to decide whether to suspend, revise or rescind a Trump administration rule that eased fuel-economy and tailpipe-emission standards for cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Leaders of the Edison Electric Institute, the nation’s top utility industry trade group, met with McCarthy as part of the organization’s “ongoing outreach to the new administration,” spokesman Brian Reil said. The conversation included “our support for recent energy-related executive orders,” Reil said.

They also met with Biden’s special climate envoy, John Kerry to highlight the sector’s clean energy efforts and its support for rejoining the Paris agreement, Reil said.

Auto industry representatives have also met with McCarthy, according to a person familiar with the matter.

McCarthy, who previously ran the EPA under former President Barack Obama, is now leading a climate task force of cabinet members as the Biden administration seeks to marshal the entire government to combat climate change.

Her talks with the utility and automotive sectors come as the U.S. plans to announce a new international carbon-cutting commitment as part of its renewed membership in the Paris agreement. The new pledge, set to be delivered before a planned U.S. climate summit on April 22, will be “aggressive,” McCarthy said last week, signaling it will be stronger than the prior U.S. commitment to pare greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025.

Biden has vowed to set the nation on a path to carbon neutrality by 2050 and to rid the electric sector of emissions by 2035. Last week, he announced series of executive actions toward the goal including a temporary halt to new oil drilling leases on federal land and ordering federal agencies to purchase zero-emission vehicles and clean energy.

The White House declined to comment. McCarthy’s talks with the auto and utility sectors were earlier reported by Reuters.

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