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January 28, 2021
APS is encouraged by the early actions President Biden has taken related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), climate change, and nuclear threat reduction. Late last year, the Society sent then President-elect Biden and his transition team a letter covering various science policy areas, including several recommendations that were addressed by Biden’s new executive order.
Biden issued an executive order to reverse the previous administration’s ban on DEI training at federal agencies and for contractors and federal grant recipients. DEI is a part of APS’s core values, and the Society had opposed the ban, stating that a diverse and inclusive 21st century STEM workforce with broad participation is essential to enhancing our economic competitiveness and addressing societal needs.
Biden also took steps to address global warming by asking the EPA to review the previous administration’s rule concerning methane emissions. APS had opposed efforts by the previous administration to roll back regulations on methane emissions. Recent scientific studies have shown that negative environmental impact of methane is significantly higher than previously estimated, with its 100-year global warming potential increasing by 14 percent above the value provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 2013 Assessment.
APS is also delighted that Biden and Vladimir V. Putin, president of Russia, have both agreed to a five-year extension of the New START treaty-a move APS supported in a recent Board Statement. The world’s arsenal still contains approximately 10,000 nuclear warheads in military service, with an explosive power of about 200,000 Hiroshima bombs. The agreement by the presidents of the United States and Russia to extend New START will provide additional time and a stable foundation for further potential negotiations with Russia and potentially with China on new and more ambitious arms control arrangements.