Biden dusts off the old Climate Corps fantasy

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By Peter Murphy 

Last week, President Biden dusted off his plan to create an American Climate Corps, this time through an executive order after Congress refused to approve it as part of last year’s climate law grotesquely mislabeled the Inflation Reduction Act.

The president’s action revealed much familiar about his administration, including, but not limited to: (1) the president’s obsession to be the 21st reincarnation of President Franklin Roosevelt who created the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression; (2) the anti-democratic nature of his administration with another end-around of Congress (even as the president incessantly describes his political opponents as “threat(s) to democracy;” and (3) perpetuating the ongoing fraud that “climate change” can be thwarted, in this example by 20,000 twenty-somethings reliving summer youth camp by doing make-work outdoor projects.

Six weeks into President Biden’s term, he met with several partisans who pose as “historians” so he could learn how to become a president in the mold of FDR. In some ways, Biden is mimicking his White House predecessor, including by massively increasing federal spending and debt, now approaching $33 trillion, proposing to “pack” the U.S. Supreme Court by adding more justices to rubber-stamp his actions, and ignoring growing global security threats to the U.S.

Unlike FDR, President Biden is not fighting a Great Depression with 25 percent unemployment. Rather, he inherited a growing economy, $2.40 per gallon gasoline, and the worst of the Covid pandemic in the rearview.

President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps was one of many New Deal policies to put unemployed Americans to work to mitigate the effects of the Depression. By contrast, the unemployment rate today remains below four percent, and millions of available jobs are going unfilled. As with past proposals for climate troops, the notion that we need another jobs program on top of the colossal federal bureaucracy is preposterous and wastrel.

President Biden’s executive order to create the Corps is another act of defiance of the democratic process and the U.S. Constitution, which often defines the administration’s climate agenda. The federal government already spends approximately $5 billion just for the National Park Service, with fewer than 20,000 employees. With a stroke of a pen, President Biden thinks he can double that number and cost billions more dollars with no congressional action.

As the Washington Times reported, “there are many details left to be answered by administration officials, including specifics about the types of jobs, how much the program will pay, its overall funding cost, and the source of funding.” One end-around is that much of the order directs existing federal programs and agencies to refocus apprenticeships and job training.

The Climate Corps proposal also is an example of the ongoing ruse about climate change itself, expressed perfectly by the head of the Sunrise Movement, Varshini Prakash, a huge supporter of the program. “After years of demonstrating and fighting for a Climate Corps, we turned a generational rally cry into a real jobs program that will put a new generation to work stopping the climate crisis,” she said (emphasis mine).

This is both laughable and delusional.

One-hundred-degree heat in Arizona in July and a hurricane in Florida in September are not climate crises. It’s the historical norm. If the global thermometer does somehow go off whack, there is nothing—zero—anyone can do about it, not by banning gasoline vehicles, not by illegally blocking oil leases, and certainly not with 20,000 idealists planting trees and solar panels. Instead, China will continue building coal plants, the developing world will demand more oil and gas to build their economies, and carbon emissions will go on naturally with no cause-and-effect on climate, as data shows.

Yet, socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, speaking for many politicians, is undaunted, still preaching the gospel of climate Armageddon: “there will not be a future for this planet unless we come together and make a radical transition from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, and that is what the Climate Corps project is all about.” If this man ever uttered a scientific fact or provided evidence, I missed it.

There is the possibility that the joke is on Sen. Sanders, Ms. Prakash, and so many other climate fanatics cheerleading the president’s Climate Corps proposal. To wit, the grandiose vision of a new climate-change army cannot exist without authorization by Congress because it needs money that only Congress can appropriate, regardless of how many soundbites and orders are issued as the presidential election heats up.

With President Biden’s terrible poll numbers, he must shore up his base of support of which the climate change industry is paramount to furnish campaign money and volunteers. So, he throws them a bone, a long-sought item in the climate agenda. Sure, the president wants to continue expanding the size and power of government, per FDR, but is this proposal worth the paper upon which it’s written? More accurately, this mostly unfunded, hollow proposal is more pretentious than real.


Peter Murphy

Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT.

He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki.

He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: