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Biden releases new plan to fight climate change from space

Florida From Space (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr)
December 01, 2021

President Joe Biden’s administration released a new space policy framework on Wednesday that included an emphasis on fighting climate change.  

The Biden administration wrote that space capabilities will help the United States manage resources, “protect people, property, and the environment from extreme weather events,” and “address the climate crisis.”

“Satellites collect information to monitor our changing planet and to protect our lands, oceans, and atmosphere. Data collected from space helps us improve national preparedness and reduce the impacts of extreme weather, natural disasters, and climate change in a manner that better addresses the needs of vulnerable communities,” the framework stated.

The Biden administration also said it will “advance the development and use of space-based Earth observation capabilities that support action on climate change.”

“The United States, through collaboration between the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, will accelerate the development and use of Earth observation to support climate change mitigation and adaptation,” the outline explained. “Open dissemination of Earth observation data will support both domestic and international efforts to address the climate crisis.”

The administration said space activities are “essential to our way of life,” impacting national security, jobs and economic opportunity, and health and well-being, in addition to inspiring “us to pursue our dreams.”

“We are in a historic moment: space activities are rapidly accelerating, resulting in new opportunities in multiple sectors of society, as well as new challenges to U.S. space leadership, global space governance, the sustainability of the space environment, and safe and secure space operations,” the White House document stated.

“Burgeoning U.S. space activities are a source of American strength at home and abroad – from providing tangible economic and societal benefits to Americans to expanding our network of alliances and partnerships,” it continued. “The United States will bolster the health and vitality of our space sectors – civil, commercial, and national security – for the benefit of the American people and leverage that strength to lead the international community in preserving the benefits of space for future generations.”

Also on Wednesday, President Biden signed an Executive Order on the National Space Council that expands its membership to include a number of personnel, including the National Climate Advisor, as part of the administration’s broader effort to advance space activities and prioritize climate change.

Vice President Kamala Harris called it the “largest and most expansive space council in our nation’s history” that “reflects our broad priorities as an administration,” as reported by Politico.