U.S. Department of Commerce Establishes Climate Council

April 23, 2022

Yesterday the Department of Commerce announced plans to integrate climate considerations into its policies, strategic planning, and programs consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

Commerce’s policy is to incorporate climate considerations, including mitigation measures, adaptation and resilience measures, and environmental justice measures into its policies, strategic planning, and programs. To oversee the implementation of these policy goals, Commerce has established the Department of Commerce Climate Council (Climate Council). The Climate Council will consist of the Deputy Secretary, who will chair the council, and representatives from the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, among others.

Pursuant to the Directive, the Climate Council’s key responsibilities will be:

  • Advancing and overseeing the policies prescribed in this Order, including, but not limited to, the identification of specific climate considerations for Departmental offices and operating units, and the development of specific climate-related policies, action plans, or program activities;
  • Identifying specific deliverables for the Department’s operating units;
  • Coordinating the Department’ s broader climate work, including on White House-directed initiatives;
  • Disseminating any updated direction on addressing the climate crisis from the White House or Department leadership; and
  • Further developing the Department’s strategic direction as it relates to climate, as appropriate over time.

As part of integrating equitable climate considerations into its strategic planning and programming, Commerce notes that the Climate Council will oversee the following measures specific to international trade:

  • The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will identify areas in its core practices and programs where it can incorporate climate considerations, including developing outreach strategies for awareness of and compliance with export controls for companies focused on climate related solution and technologies, and
  • The International Trade Administration (ITA) will align its industry engagements with the Administration’s vision for a low carbon future and will prioritize clean technology as part of its work to coordinate the export promotion and export financing activities of the U.S. government.

The Commerce Department is expected to further define the scope of the Climate Council and the policies and programs it will oversee and implement.

In recent years, governments around the world have taken steps to address climate change by providing incentives to domestic industries to offset rising costs. Other governments have developed targeted policies to keep their dominance of key sectors of the global climate economy in industries such as biofuels, solar, and wind.

Cassidy Levy Kent represents industries affected by unfair trade practices and has represented the biofuels and solar energy industries, among others, and has successfully counteracted subsidy programs intended to offset increased costs of producing “green” core goods such as steel.