The next-generation “forest army”: Biden launches civilian climate corps program

The Biden Administration today launched a civilian Climate Corps program intended to employ 20,000 Americans to build and restore public lands. The idea is to create jobs while also working toward the Biden Administration’s promise to reach net zero emissions by 2050, deploying corps members to work in wind and solar production as well as environmental conservation projects. Created in the image of a Great Depression-era civilian climate corps program incorporated by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Biden’s program aims to “mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs.” However, the program will employ far less than the more than 3 million men in Roosevelt’s era.

The program was initially outlined in an executive order Biden issued during his first month in office. Originally, $30 billion was set aside for the program as a part of the Inflation Reduction Act, but this was ultimately removed. Administrative officials declined to tell the Washington Post how much or from where funding will come from instead, the outlet reported.

On Monday, House Democrats called on Biden to move forward with the program, citing the urgency of the climate crisis as demonstrated by recent flooding, extreme heat and devastating wildfires like those that ravaged Maui in August. “By leveraging the historic climate funding secured during your Administration, using existing authorities and coordinating across AmeriCorps and other relevant federal agencies, your Administration can create a federal Civilian Climate Corps that unites its members in an effort to fight climate change, build community resilience, support environmental justice and develop career pathways to good-paying union jobs focused on climate resilience and a clean economy,” they wrote.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of protestors marched in New York City urging Biden to declare a climate emergency, which he still has not done in spite of experts warning of an ongoing “biological holocaust” while humanity dangerously pushes our planet to its extreme limits. Meanwhile, record-shattering heatwaves made summer 2023 the hottest in humanity’s history and the U.S. experienced a record-breaking 23 natural disasters exceeding $1 billion in damages.


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