4 ways America can address the climate crisis

January 25, 2021
Ahead of the Biden administration’s first full week, we sent a letter pledging to work with them on climate change—today we explain how. And today, we're recognizing the one-year anniversary of the world’s first COVID-19 lockdown and Moderna’s vaccine announcement. …
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Ahead of the Biden administration’s first full week, we sent a letter pledging to work with them on climate change—today we explain how. And today, we're recognizing the one-year anniversary of the world’s first COVID-19 lockdown and Moderna’s vaccine announcement. (943 words, 4 minutes, 42 seconds)

 

4 ways America can address the climate crisis

 
 

On Friday, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath sent a letter to President Joe Biden applauding him for rejoining the Paris Agreement and pledging to work with the administration to address the climate crisis. Here’s where we should start.

BIO pledges to work with the Biden administration “to advance the cause of truth and scientific innovation to address the four overlapping and compounding crises of the COVID-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and the racial equality crisis.” 

We recommended four specific actions:

  1. Leverage the regulatory system to quickly deploy climate-positive biotechnologies, such as synthetic biology, gene editing, and renewable chemicals.
  2. Buy green and direct federal agencies to buy and promote biobased products.
  3. Deploy sustainable fuels. This requires ceasing issuance of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) exemptions to unqualified refineries, implementing a low-carbon fuel standard, advancing stalled pathways and facility registrations for biofuel technologies, and instructing federal agencies and contractors to purchase sustainable fuels for both ground and air transportation.
  4. Regain America’s global leadership against climate change.

Dr. Michelle’s Diagnosis: By proactively advancing biotechnology, we can take bold and drastic action to address the climate crisis. – BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath

Watch this space. The Biden administration is rolling out executive actions by theme, with Wednesday, January 27, focused on climate. We’re watching for an executive order elevating climate change to a national security priority, among others. 

Learn more about how we can fight climate change through biotech innovation.

 

More Agriculture and Environment News: 

Atlantic Council: COP26: The key trends to watch ahead of the world’s next climate conference
“We can replace, in a competitive way, fossil-fuel plants with renewables,” said Agustín Delgado, chief innovation and sustainability officer at Spain’s Iberdrola. 

World Economic Forum: How to solve the investment puzzle of clean energy transitions in the developing world
Clean energy strategies “are most effective when backed by clear and stable policies for accelerating the uptake of renewables and low carbon fuels,” writes Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), and the World Economic Forum’s Roberto Bocca. 

World Economic Forum: What you need to know about the future of global health
“Preventing the next pandemic and ensuring healthy futures requires addressing the environment, too.”

 
 
 
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One year later

 
 

On Jan. 23, 2020—before the novel coronavirus even had a name—Wuhan, China, locked down and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced it would partner with BIO member Moderna to develop an mRNA vaccine against the rapidly spreading disease. Here’s where things stand, one year later.

One year after the world’s first lockdown, COVID-19 has infected nearly 100 million people worldwide and claimed more than 2.1 million lives.

And one year after that press conference, we’ve seen an unprecedented response to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. The biopharma industry has launched more than 800 R&D programs targeting COVID-19, and two vaccines—Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s—have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested the FDA could authorize emergency use of a third vaccine by as early as Feb. 5—Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine candidate, which provided an immune response lasting at least 71 days.

“I would be surprised if it was any more than two weeks from now that the data will be analyzed and decisions would be made” about the J&J vaccine candidate, Dr. Fauci said on MSNBC

Meanwhile, on his second day in office, President Joe Biden issued five executive orders related to vaccines, including one authorizing use of the Defense Production Act to boost production and supply. 

“We said 100 million doses in the first 100 days, and we’re going to stick to that plan,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new chief of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). 

Learn more about the industry’s incredible work on COVID-19. Check out BIO’s COVID-19 Therapeutic Development Tracker for the latest developments. 

Listen: Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tal Zaks joined the I AM BIO Podcast last year to talk about their technology and how they were able to move so quickly. Listen now at www.bio.org/podcast or wherever you get your podcasts, including AppleGoogle, and Spotify.


More Health Care News:

Biopharma Dive: Long-acting HIV drug secures FDA approval, giving GSK a competitive boost
“Cabenuva is given once a month, and is a combination of a GSK drug called cabotegravir and the active ingredient in Johnson & Johnson's Edurant.” 

Nature: Biden appoints sociologist Alondra Nelson to top science post
“Alondra Nelson, who has studied the societal impacts of emerging technology, as well as racism in science and medicine, will help lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as deputy director for science and society.” 

World Economic Forum: Optimism despite COVID-19 impact on antimicrobial resistance
"The COVID-19 pandemic will eventually be over, but the lesser-known antimicrobial resistance (AMR) epidemic has only been accelerated by COVID-19. We should use the current momentum from the coordinated worldwide response to defeat the AMR pandemic," writes Lars Rebien Sorensen, Chairman of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

NPR: Merck Stops Developing Both Of Its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates
"Merck has halted development of its two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, reports NPR. The company plans to "keep working on two therapeutic drugs, including one that aims to protect the body's respiratory system from the coronavirus' ravaging effects," per the report.

 
 
 
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President Biden’s Monday: Meeting with Vice President Harris, newly confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, then giving remarks and signing a “Buy American” executive order at 3:45 PM ET.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House will deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate today, with former President Trump’s trial set to begin the week of February 8, reports The New York Times. The Senate is expected to vote on Janet Yellen’s confirmation as Treasury secretary. “Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday said Senate Democrats would pass a COVID-19 relief bill as soon as possible through budget reconciliation, which would allow the package to pass with a simple majority vote rather than with the support of 60 senators,” reports POLITICO.

 
 
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