The Civilian Climate Corps Unveiled to Combat Climate Change

Environmental Policy Brief #161 | By: Carlos Avalos | September 27, 2023

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On 9/20/23 The Civilian Climate Corps was unveiled by President Joe Biden but had been in the works since January 27, 2021. When President Biden handed down Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. In SEC 215 of the Executive Order the Civilian Climate Corps Initiative was created. The Civilian Climate Corps is an interagency partnership between AmeriCorps, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Departments of Labor, Interior, Agriculture, and Energy.

The aim of the Civilian Climate Corps, as stated in the Executive Order, is to mobilize the next generation of conservationists and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs. “The initiative shall aim to conserve and restore public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, increase reforestation, increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protect biodiversity, improve access to recreation, and address the changing climate.”


It is estimated that this new climate jobs training program could put up to 20,000 people to work in the first year. This initiative is modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was a New Deal program created by Franklin D. Roosevelt that put millions of young men to work during the Great Depression.restoring public lands and building out national parks. President Biden’s Climate Policy advisor Ali Zaidi stated, “this initiative not only is addressing climate change, one of the most pressing issues that the world faces today, but it’s paving the way for good paying careers, lifetimes of being involved in the work of making our communities more fair, more sustainable, and more resilient.” The Civilian Climate Corps will pay participants and most of the positions will not require previous experience.  President  Biden is advocating for new regulations aimed at making it easier for participants to enter the federal public service.

In comparison to the Civilian Conservation Corps which ran for a decade and employed millions of people.  The Civilian Climate Corps is on a much smaller scale, at least for now.In the first several years it seeks to mobilize 20,000 young people in climate related efforts. Another glaring key difference is that the Civilian Conservation Corps employed young White men, the Civilian Climate Corps is designed to attract participants from disadvantaged communities disproportionately impacted by the changing climate.

AmeriCorps is the government’s domestic program for national service and volunteerism.,annually supporting thousands of young people in doing community service wortk. One of the first major partnerships under President Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps are between AmeriCorps and the US Forest Service to establish the new AmeriCorps NCCC Forest Corps. This is a five-year, $15 million interagency agreement, with the first cohort of 80 members to begin service in the summer of 2024. The AmeriCorps NCCC Forest Corps will deploy across America to conserve national forests and grasslands, mitigate risks of wildfires in high-risk regions, and support reforestation efforts and wildfire crisis response. AmeriCorps /NCCC Forest Corps members will receive a compensation package equivalent to $15 an hour that includes lodging, transportation, clothing, a living allowance, health benefits, and more.

The program should still be viewed as experimental. It is being met with skepticism by both sides of the aisle. . Senior House Democrats have challenged that the plan, arguing billions of dollars should not be rushed out the door to an agency that would be saddled overnight with recruiting and training thousands of workers in clean energy and climate projects.Republicans have denounced the program as a boondoggle that would create eco-vigilantes who, as one lawmaker recently warned, will “report who is watering their lawn, whose fireplace is smoking.”

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