In observance of President's Day, we are closed on Monday, February 19, 2024.

President Biden establishes the American Climate Corps, aiming to employ over 20,000 young adults in green conservation projects.

In a decisive move to combat climate change and foster green employment, President Joe Biden has leveraged his executive power to establish the American Climate Corps, a program reminiscent of the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps. The initiative, which aims to employ over 20,000 young adults in conservation and renewable energy projects, comes after considerable urging from Democrats and environmental groups, despite previous setbacks in Congress due to Republican opposition and budgetary concerns.

The newly minted corps will undertake a variety of tasks including trail construction, tree planting, and solar panel installation, all aimed at enhancing conservation efforts and mitigating the risk of disastrous wildfires. The initiative is seen as a vital step towards realizing the broader goals of the Green New Deal, a comprehensive strategy championed by many activists and some Democrats, albeit criticized by Republicans as a pathway to socialism and economic downturn.

Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the Sunrise Movement, praised the development as a transformative moment, turning a "generational rallying cry" into a tangible jobs program. The move is also perceived as a strategy by Biden to bolster his standing among young voters ahead of the 2024 presidential elections, a demographic critical to his success.

Despite recent criticisms directed at Biden for endorsing substantial oil drilling projects, which many argue contradict his climate commitments, the announcement has been met with widespread approval from environmental activists. The program draws inspiration from the Civilian Conservation Corps instituted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, aiming to offer young individuals a pathway to careers in clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience.

Prominent Democratic figures, including Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been vocal supporters of the initiative, emphasizing the urgent need for a comprehensive governmental response to the escalating climate crisis, evidenced by recent heatwaves, floods, and wildfires. The creation of the climate corps is hailed as "historic" and a pivotal move towards fulfilling the vision of the Green New Deal.

“Young people nationwide are excited to see the launch of the American Climate Corps, enhancing career pathways in clean energy, conservation and climate resilience,’' said Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, president of NextGen America, an organization that promotes education, registration and mobilization for voters age 18 to 35.

While the financial blueprint for the program remains undisclosed, Democrats anticipate utilizing funds from the existing climate and infrastructure laws to facilitate the creation of thousands of jobs. The initiative has, however, met with skepticism from Republican quarters, who view it as a potentially wasteful endeavor that could detract from other employment opportunities, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to AP News, the program promises to be more inclusive compared to its 1930s predecessor, reflecting the diverse demographic landscape of contemporary America. The White House has outlined a collaborative approach to the initiative, partnering with multiple federal agencies and at least ten states to bring the vision to fruition. The projects will encompass a wide array of endeavors, from restoring coastal wetlands to advancing clean energy projects and fostering energy efficiency.

Simultaneously, the Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a $4.6 billion grant competition to encourage states, municipalities, and tribes to develop community-driven strategies to reduce climate pollution and promote environmental justice. The grants, funded through the 2022 climate law, represent a concerted effort to empower communities to navigate towards a cleaner energy future.

As the Biden administration steers the nation towards a greener pathway, the American Climate Corps stands as a testament to the government's commitment to not only address the pressing climate issues but also to foster job creation and economic growth in the renewable energy sector. The initiative marks a significant stride in turning the "green dream into a green reality," as noted by Ocasio-Cortez, signaling a hopeful beginning in the nation's journey towards environmental sustainability and climate resilience.

Eunice is a sustainability writer whose passion is sharing accessible eco-friendly practices with GreenCitizen's global readership. She enjoys birdwatching during her downtime, often deriving inspiration from nature's resilience. An enthusiastic cyclist, she is also an ardent advocate of eco-friendly transport.

Subscribe to
our newsletter