During an interview with NPR’s “Here and Now,” White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi responded to a question on where the White House is getting money for the American Climate Corps given that money for the idea was taken out of the Inflation Reduction Act by stating that the plan “was a good idea then and it’s a good idea now.” And that they’ve used executive action “to bring together the authorities and resources of six different federal agencies,” and also boasted that President Joe Biden has “made sure that we’re using all of the tools of the presidency, whether it’s executive actions to stand up the Climate Corps or his wartime powers with the Defense Production Act” on climate.
Co-host Scott Tong asked, [relevant exchange begins around 2:15] “There were billions of dollars proposed for this idea when it was part of the bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act. It eventually passed, but this provision got taken out. So, where’s the money to pay for this?”
Zaidi answered, “Look, that investment was a good idea then and it’s a good idea now. What we’ve been able to do, thanks to the President using his executive authority, is to bring together the authorities and resources of six different federal agencies, coordinate them under one hub, team up with states, and team up with the private sector and philanthropy to get going after this vision. Just last week, we had five additional states step up, now ten total, who are implementing climate corps of their own, all stood up since 2021, since the President took office.”
Later, Tong asked, “Now, as far as this President and environmental issues, many groups criticized the White House, this President over an oil drilling project in Alaska greenlit by this White House called Willow. It was approved by previous administrations, still carried through by the White House. Young voters are, of course, watching this and surely, their support in 2024 — is that part of this calculation?”
Zaidi responded, “This President has done more on climate than any President in American history. He’s passed the largest climate investment, not just in the history of the United States, but in the whole world. We’ve conserved more than 20 million acres, more than any other President at this time in office. He’s made sure that we’re using all of the tools of the presidency, whether it’s executive actions to stand up the Climate Corps or his wartime powers with the Defense Production Act. So, he’s following through on his campaign commitments.”
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