Greenpeace USA Report Shows Biden Falling Far Short on Climate Promises After First Year in Office

by Tyler Kruse

January 27, 2022

President Biden earned 36 out of a possible 100 points in our updated progress report, which analyzed his climate and environmental justice policies during his first year in office.

Jan. 27, 2021 — Greenpeace USA has awarded President Biden 36 out of a possible 100 points in its updated progress report, which analyzed his climate and environmental justice policies during his first year in office. This is an increase of just 6 points from the progress report issued after his first 100 days.

The Biden administration has not done enough to meet the global climate goal of limiting warming to under 1.5 degrees C (34 degrees F) in order to limit the worst effects of climate change nor has he adequately addressed the harms being done to our communities by the fossil fuel industry. President Biden showed early promise when he issued the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad a week after being sworn into office. Since then his actions on climate have slowed to a crawl and we have even seen some regression.

Ebony Twilley Martin, co-Executive Director of Greenpeace USA said:

“We are simply asking President Biden for a livable future and he is failing to deliver. He knows the biggest threat to that future and our families is the fossil fuel driven climate crisis. He said it himself. Yet our progress report shows that he continues to sell our public lands to fossil fuel companies that pollute our communities and send billions of tax dollars to Big Oil CEOs in the form of subsidies. Words are not climate leadership, actions are.

“There is still time for President Biden to become the climate leader that our country — and the world — desperately needs. Declaring a climate emergency would be the beginning of the end to the era of polluting fossil fuel billionaires and climate destruction. By using his executive powers President Biden can repair the harm caused by policies that place profits over people and the planet while delivering good-paying union jobs, justice, and clean energy for all.”

President Biden receives 14 out of a possible 50 points for policies to phase out fossil fuels. This is a net gain of 2 points since our progress report on President Biden’s first 100 days in office.

  • The formation of the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization coupled with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will create “good-paying, union jobs” to clean up communities and lands harmed by fossil fuel companies. (+2 points)
  • There were minor steps towards ending fossil fuel subsidies although the majority of these were aimed at international subsidies. For example, the U.S. joined a group of 20 nations at COP26 pledging to end “new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector.” (+0.5 points)
  • 17 federal agencies signed a memorandum of understanding committing to increased consultation and collaboration with Tribal Nations and pledging to incorporate traditional knowledge into government assessments. This does not institute Free, Prior, and Informed Consent nor has President Biden spoken publicly about supporting the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As a result, we have only slightly increased his score in this area. (+1 point)
  • President Biden lost points for failing to end new fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters. In November 2021, the Biden administration allowed the largest sale of public waters for offshore oil drilling in U.S. history. (-1.5 points)

President Biden receives 22 out of a possible 50 points for advancing Green New Deal-style policies. This is a net gain of 4 points since our 100-day progress report. Much of these improvements came from the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (aka the bipartisan infrastructure bill).

Here is a full comparison of Joe Biden’s scores as a candidate, first 100 days in office, and first year in office is available.

Seth Laxman, climate campaigner at Greenpeace USA said:

“When it comes to climate and environmental justice, measuring the success of the Biden administration needs to be rooted in what science and justice demand, not on the records of previous administrations. It’s easy to call President Biden’s climate plan the most ambitious in history when our government has done so little. At its core, the progress report asks two simple questions: Is President Biden doing enough to prevent the worst impacts of climate change? Is he addressing the injustices born out of a fossil fuel industry based on exploitation and extraction?

“After analyzing everything that happened in 2021, President Biden simply did not do enough during his first year in office. There are many examples of the administration saying the right things, but they have taken very few tangible actions and we are not on track to meet the global climate goal of limiting warming to under 1.5 degrees C.

“A recent national survey found that voters across party lines recognize climate change as a risk to our economy and overwhelmingly agree that the federal government should take action to reduce those risks. President Biden needs to start listening to the will of the people and deliver on real climate action.”


Media Contact:
Tyler Kruse, Senior Communication Specialist, Greenpeace USA
[email protected]

Tyler Kruse

By Tyler Kruse

Tyler Kruse is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy.

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