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Kerry, McCarthy join White House press briefing ahead of Biden's remarks on climate change

John Kerry, Gina McCarthy
Posted at 10:49 AM, Jan 27, 2021

Two of President Joe Biden's top advisers in tackling climate change joined the daily White House press briefing on Wednesday to preview an executive order that Biden will sign later in the afternoon.

Gina McCarthy, the former head of the EPA and Biden's national climate adviser, and John Kerry, the former Secretary of State and Biden's international climate envoy, stressed the importance of the order Biden will sign that places a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on U.S. lands.

Both McCarthy and Kerry noted that Biden's plan to tackle climate change would not only lower pollution and carbon emissions but would also boost the economy. McCarthy noted that the cost of renewable energy sources like wind and solar have plummeted in recent years and in most cases are now cheaper than oil and natural gas.

Kerry added that the Biden administration was not trying to put oil and gas workers or executives "on notice," but added that the economic outlook favors renewable energy sources.

Kerry was also asked about bringing other countries to the table to fight climate change, considering 90% of carbon emissions come from outside of the U.S. Kerry said that in the case of China, one of the world's heaviest polluters, he would not offer trades when it comes to protecting U.S. intellectual property or recognizing China's seizing of islands in the South China Sea.

Psaki's press briefing came moments after Biden's new COVID-19 response team briefs the media for the first time.

On Tuesday, Biden announced that his administration planned to purchase an additional 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the hopes of restocking dwindling reserves.

At that same event, Biden said his administration promised to soon begin vaccinating up to 10 million Americans a week — an increase on his pre-inauguration goal of vaccinating 100 million people in his first 100 days, a goal that had been criticized for being not ambitious enough.

In her short time as press secretary, Psaki has restored the routine daily press briefing for the White House press corps — something that had been widely done away with during the final years of the Trump administration. Psaki has also kept animosity between the current administration and the news media to a minimum thus far.

Monday's press briefing marked the first time during Psaki's short term as press secretary that a briefing was translated live into American Sign Language.