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Biden signs ‘existential’ executive orders on climate and environment

US President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders designed to address climate change, including a new ban on some energy drilling.

The orders aim to freeze new oil and gas leases on public lands and double offshore wind-produced energy by 2030.

They are expected to meet stiff resistance from the energy industry and come as a sea change from Donald Trump, who cut environmental protections.

Mr Biden said the US “must lead” a global response to the climate change crisis.

“Just like we need a unified national response to Covid-19, we desperately need a unified national response to the climate crisis because there is a climate crisis,” he said.

He added that neither challenge could be met by the US alone.

The series of executive orders that Mr Biden signed on Wednesday establishes a White House office of domestic climate policy and announces a summit of leaders to be held in April on Earth Day.

Climate change, under Mr Biden’s plan, will become both a “national security” and “foreign policy” priority, officials say.

According to a White House statement, Mr Biden is directing the Department of the Interior to pause oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands and water “to the extent possible” and to launch a review of existing energy leases.

Mr Biden aims to conserve at least 30% of federal lands and oceans by 2030․

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