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What can Biden do on climate change by Executive Order?

Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman joins Kristin Myers to discuss what a Biden presidency means for climate change.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: All right. Well, Georgia has officially certified the race for president-elect Joe Biden as we just heard from Marquis. So let's bring on Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman in his Pittsburgh Steelers jersey-- a little bit of a celebration on this Friday.

RICK NEWMAN: 9-0, baby.

KRISTIN MYERS: So give us all the details. We have Georgia. We've got Michigan. We've got climate change. We've got a lot to hit with you. So let's start with Georgia.

RICK NEWMAN: Well, Georgia's basically over at the presidential level. I think we can just stop talking about it. They did a hand recount, and it very slightly improved the margin of defeat for President Trump. So he gained 2/100 of a percentage point in the gap, but Joe Biden still won. The margin there was very small. It was a quarter of a percentage point.

But, look, Biden flipped Georgia for Democrats-- the first time Georgia has voted for a Democrat for president since Bill Clinton in 1992. So we can now switch channels and go to the drama regarding Michigan where a few legislatures, who have a role in certifying the election outcome, are on their way to the White House to talk with President Trump. And it seems pretty clear that Trump is just trying to find a desperation move to overturn what the voters said they want in Michigan.

Joe Biden won Michigan by a couple of percentage points. It's not-- it wasn't really that close-- not as close as in Georgia. But there's this theory that a legislature can refuse to accept the official results from a state and put forward its own slate of electors. This has never been done, to my knowledge, before. It seems like it's technically possible but an extreme shot. So President Trump still grasping for some way to win an election he has clearly lost.

KRISTIN MYERS: So, Rick, I'm wondering if what happened in Georgia might be a nice indicator of what we're going to be seeing in some of these other states that he has continued to challenge. Michigan would be one. He actually invited the Senate Majority leader, Mike Shirky there, to the White House today. A lot of folks have said that this is actually undermining the election and the election results, at least in that state. Of course, Michigan did go for President-elect Joe Biden. Wondering what you make of what's going to happen in Michigan.

RICK NEWMAN: Let me repeat-- Joe Biden won the state of Michigan. This is extreme desperation by Trump. And it seems-- I mean, I'm not an election lawyer, but people who are election lawyers say there's essentially no chance he can get this off. And by the way, let's say Trump even were able to steal Michigan and their electoral votes, it would still not be enough for him to win.

He'd still have to steal another two or three states. And the reason this is all kind of coming to a head right now is these states are now certifying their votes, which makes the final outcomes official. And then the final date for all of this is December 14, when all of the electors from the states get together. And they simply make official the vote tallies that we already know. So Trump is just trying desperately to undermine the outcome of this election in the very last seconds of the game here.

KRISTIN MYERS: I should mention for everyone that those state legislators also asked Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to essentially have an independent audit of the election results there. But as we are seeing, these audits do not seem to be moving the needle at all, really, for President Trump-- perhaps by a couple 100,000 votes, but not enough to turn--

RICK NEWMAN: Michigan is not close. We should just make sure people understand. Michigan is not close. There is zero case to say the outcome there in which the voters chose Joe Biden. There's no case to say that's illegitimate.

KRISTIN MYERS: I want to ask you now about climate change. This is a nice big political wrap-up here-- roundup here with you, Rick. What's going on there? I know that Biden's got some new senior advisors that folks are saying probably are not going to be friendly to the issue of climate change moving forward.

RICK NEWMAN: Yeah. I'm looking into what will the Biden plan be on climate change-- and not just what is his plan, because we know what he has said he wants to do. But what will he actually be able to do? So it looks like one of the first moves is likely the announcement of Mary Nichols as his appointee at the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA. She is the chair of the California Air Resources Board known as CARB.

And CARB, in many cases, California and CARB, they have passed pollution rules and other kinds of environmental rules that are stricter than national standards on auto emissions, for example. She has tangled with the auto industry for years. She does not shy from any fights. And the reporting-- but Biden has not yet nominated her, but the reporting is that she's likely to be the nominee there.

And then Biden's probably going to start doing some things right off the bat through executive actions. He may establish something called a National Climate Council at the White House, which would be a powerful agency similar to the National Security Council or the NSC that has a lot of power to coordinate with agencies and get things done. I think we could look for changes to the Trump rules on auto emissions, perhaps more permits for windmills at sea and a lot of other stuff by executive action.

Of course, Obama needs to get some people in place. We don't know how long that's going to take. But I think climate action is going to be one of the very first things Biden wants to do once he takes office on January 20.