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Here’s how Biden plans to reverse climate change

Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman breaks down Biden's unprecedented push to reverse climate change.

Video Transcript

- In the background of today's market rally is the beginning of a smooth transition process between the Trump administration and the incoming Biden administration. And along with that has been a filling out of Joe Biden's cabinet. The big news for markets here reports that Janet Yellen will be named Treasury Secretary. Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman joins us now for some more detail on who else is filling out this Biden agenda. And of course, John Kerry's name coming up, as one, I guess, would expect-- I didn't know that in 2020, John Kerry would be joining the scene once again, but here we are. And this related to how the Biden administration, perhaps, sees climate change.

RICK NEWMAN: Right. This has gotten less attention than obviously, Janet Yellen and Treasury. But, you know, climate-- addressing climate change is one area where Biden has promised. He called it a revolution on dealing with climate change. So I'm watching to see what does he actually do here. And you can get a clue from some of the early appointments.

So he said John Kerry is going to basically be the climate policy czar, who's going to have a seat on the National Security Council. That means he'll have the status of a cabinet secretary. And I know this sounds like inside baseball to a lot of people, but this actually matters, because that means you will have the authority in the Biden administration to get a lot done. And I think we're going to see a lot more interesting appointments here.

One of the things that a lot of people are looking for is who is going to run the EPA, and the expectations are that Biden is going to tap a woman named Mary Nichols, who runs the California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB. California for years has had tougher fuel economy standards than the federal standards. And at least a dozen states now follow the California rules. So it would be quite interesting to put her at the EPA, especially since President Trump has rolled back the fuel economy rules that President Obama put in place back in his administration. So I think we're going to see some very interesting changes here. And this could be one area where the Biden presidents he really is quite different from Obama's.

- Well, and quite different from Joe Biden historically, as well, right, Rick? I mean, this is a guy who is a moderate, has historically been a moderate, and as we have talked about before, probably won because he's a moderate, because he did not necessarily go further towards the progressive arm of the Democratic party. So when it comes to climate, is it-- is it just the sort of thing that does not sort of fall into that political traditional political spectrum?

RICK NEWMAN: The way I think about this, Julie, is the definition of moderate when it comes to climate policy is changing quite a lot, because the climate is changing. So what is a moderate stance these days on climate policy? I mean, I think a moderate stance has to be, let's do something. I mean, we know the climate is warming. We know we're seeing rising sea levels. We're seeing a lot of weather phenomena that probably are related to climate change.

So, you know, Biden is going to be the first-- well, I mean, Obama tried to address some of these things with varying degrees of success. And then of course, Trump came in and reversed a lot of that. Biden's overarching goal is to get the United States on a path where it has net zero carbon emissions by 2050. That's actually very aggressive, even though that seems like a long way out. So I think we're going to-- you know, Americans understand this generally. And I think Biden reflects where the country is going and where the science is going on this. So again, I think this is just going to be something we're going to see a lot of change under the Biden administration.