Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says Biden’s picks to handle climate change in his administration ‘actually represent progress

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaks during a news conference. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez praised President-elect Joe Biden’s picks for top climate change positions in his administration.

  • “I think Biden’s climate appointments actually represent progress — real progress,” the New York Democrat said Thursday.

  • In particularly, Ocasio-Cortez praised the nomination of New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary, calling her “unequivocally progressive.”

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden’s picks for top environmental positions, including “Green New Deal champion” Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary, represent “real progress” in the fight against climate change, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Biden selected Haaland, a Democratic member of Congress from New Mexico, to be the first indigenous member of a presidential cabinet in US history, The Washington Post reported. Her department oversees federal lands – and the fossil fuel extraction that takes place therein.

Biden also tapped Michael Regan, the top environmental official in North Carolina, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has also been chosen to advise the White House on climate change, with former Secretary of State John Kerry serving as the first-ever US climate envoy.

Other picks announced this week include former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who will lead the Department of Energy; Brenda Mallory, an environmental lawyer who will chair the Council on Environmental Quality; and Ali Zaidi, currently leading New York state’s response to climate change, who will serve as Biden’s deputy national climate advisor.

Related story: Joe Biden has promised to make the fight against climate change a focal point of his administration. These are his picks for climate and energy Cabinet jobs.

Progressives and environmentalists have generally welcomed the nominations, even if their optimism is of the cautious variety, Ocasio-Cortez among them.

“I think Biden’s climate appointments actually represent progress – real progress,” the New York Democrat said Thursday.

On social media, the left-wing congresswoman specifically praised the “historic” appointment of Haaland.

“A visionary Native woman in charge of federal lands. Unequivocally progressive. Green New Deal Champion. Exquisitely experienced,” she wrote.

Read more: Secret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won’t budge on Inauguration Day

More a statement of principle than a specific set of policies, the Green New Deal, introduced last year by Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive lawmakers, calls for the US to eliminate fossil fuels from the electricity grid within a decade.

The incoming Biden administration, by contrast, has committed to achieving “a 100% clean energy economy” by 2050.

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