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Today’s Headlines: Biden’s ‘time to act’ on climate change

President Biden
President Biden signs an executive order on climate change Wednesday in the White House.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Biden has ordered sweeping actions to pause energy drilling and fight climate change.

TOP STORIES

Biden’s ‘Time to Act’ on Climate Change

President Biden has announced a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on public lands, one of a slate of executive actions to demonstrate his commitment to fighting climate change, despite opposition from the fossil fuel industry and many Republicans.

The move in effect hit pause on the federal government’s leasing program while the administration considers an overhaul, weighing the climate and public health risks of continued oil and gas development against the government’s legal obligations to energy companies. This review is the first step toward an outright ban on new drilling, one of Biden’s campaign promises.

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The president aims to harness federal authority as never before to reduce planet-warming emissions. “We’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis,” Biden said at a White House signing ceremony. “We can’t wait any longer. We see it with our own eyes, we feel it, we know it in our bones. And it’s time to act.”

Though opponents say the initiatives would cost jobs, Biden says a comprehensive climate effort would create clean-energy jobs nationwide.

The Extremist Path

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a national terrorism bulletin warning of the potential for lingering violence from people motivated by anti-government sentiment after Biden’s election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.

Online, far-right leaders across the nation — disillusioned by Trump’s defeat and banished from mainstream social media — have launched recruitment drives in new radicalization efforts that have turned into a “meme war” among groups.

Meanwhile, one of six men charged in an alleged plot to abduct Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to plead guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy charge, according to a court document. And in California, the FBI said a suspected far-right extremist and radicalized Trump supporter facing federal explosives charges may have been targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Bay Area headquarters of social media giants Twitter and Facebook.

For more about the far right’s uncertain future, read Wednesday’s edition of our Essential Politics newsletter.

More From Washington

Republican senators are showing little interest in censuring or reprimanding Trump in any way for his role in inciting the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

— The Biden administration unveiled what it describes as a new era of American diplomacy that would reverse many of Trump’s actions and reach out to scorned allies.

Ronna McDaniel, head of the Republican National Committee, declined to encourage Trump to run for the White House in 2024, saying the GOP would stay neutral in its next presidential primary. She also described the pro-Trump conspiracy theory group known as QAnon as “dangerous.”

A New Vaccine Distribution Plan

After a shaky rollout of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, advisors to Newsom have struck a far-reaching agreement with Blue Shield of California for the health insurance company to oversee the distribution of vaccine doses to counties, pharmacies and private healthcare providers.

The decision marks a sharp turn away from a more decentralized process that has been criticized for inconsistency and sluggishness. It will also mean the outsourcing of tasks that until now have been overseen by state and local government officials.

Kaiser Permanente, a health maintenance organization that provides services for more than 9 million Californians, will run a separate vaccination program for its members and provide additional assistance to the state, a public health spokesman said.

The vaccine rollout so far has raised concerns about racial inequities as well as the difficulties those older than 65 face. The system set up by Los Angeles County seems, in many ways, to be a young person’s game: It can take social media skills, tech savvy, reliable transportation and even physical stamina to obtain a shot.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— The Biden administration launched its new level-with-America health briefings with a projection that as many as 90,000 more in the U.S. will die of COVID-19 in the next four weeks.

Elementary school campuses in L.A. County could be eligible to reopen in two to three weeks if countywide infection rates continue to drop, county Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer told the L.A. City Council.

— The number of L.A. firefighters testing positive for the coronavirus has dropped significantly since the city fire agency began offering its members vaccinations, the fire chief said.

How to prevent virus spread as L.A. reopens outdoor restaurant dining and allows more gatherings and how to get your first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses in L.A. County and in Orange County.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Drive long enough in Los Angeles and you’re bound to see something unusual.

On Jan. 28, 1972, Times photographer Boris Yaro was in his car on Hollywood Boulevard when he spotted a giant bust of comedian Bob Hope. He grabbed his camera — he remembered it being a Nikon F2 with a 80-200mm zoom lens — and snapped a photo.

“Then I got caught up in traffic and never got closer to the truck,” he later said.

The bust was on its way for a retouching ahead of Hope’s annual golf tournament.

Truck carrying bust of Bob Hope driving down Hollywood Boulevard
A truck carries a bust of Bob Hope down Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles on Jan. 28, 1972.
(Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— An enormous atmospheric river stalled over Monterey County, triggering mudslides there and threatening others farther north. The storm is expected to swing southward today, posing risks to parts of Southern California burned by last year’s wildfires.

— An executive order signed by Biden last week changed federal funding rules in a way that could lift thousands of homeless Angelenos off the streets as the coronavirus continues to rage.

— A UC Berkeley campus building will be stripped of its name because of the legacy of its namesake, an anthropologist whose work included the “immoral and unethical” collection of Native American remains.

— The Los Angeles LGBT Center, one of the world’s largest service agencies for LGBTQ people, has named a new chief executive to succeed its longtime leader.

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NATION-WORLD

Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group whose members have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack Jan. 6, once served as an undercover informant for law enforcement, according to a former prosecutor and court records.

— Between Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, the bitter domestic divisions in the United Kingdom are sharper than ever. Could a breakup be on the horizon?

— Russian democracy activist Alexei Navalny was on the verge of death after an intentional poisoning. Now he’s behind bars. But he remains at the head of an extraordinary opposition movement that could have far-reaching repercussions for Putin’s rule.

— “It isn’t just men who drive tractors”: Women are helping lead India’s historic farm protests that are demanding the government withdraw legislation aimed at boosting private investment in agriculture.

— A Jewish prayer for the souls of people murdered in the Holocaust echoed over the site where the Warsaw ghetto stood during World War II during observations of the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Cloris Leachman, who won an Oscar for her role in the bleak coming-of-age movie “The Last Picture Show” and Emmy awards during a prolific television career that stretched back to the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” has died at 94.

David Duchovny is best known for his role on “The X-Files,” but he wants to remind you that he’s much more than Fox Mulder as he releases his fourth novel.

Kemp Powers is having the sort of year that fledgling screenwriters dream about. With “Soul” and “One Night in Miami,” he’s finally hit his artistic stride.

— The Getty Foundation announced that 45 Southern California cultural and educational institutions will collectively receive more than $5 million in grants for dozens of exhibitions exploring the intersection of art and science.

BUSINESS

On-location filming in the L.A. region has dropped to the lowest level in over 25 years because of the pandemic, according to a new report from film permitting group FilmLA.

Walgreens has tapped Starbucks executive Roz Brewer as its new CEO, which will make her the only Black woman leading a Fortune 500 company.

SPORTS

— The Angels aren’t in on free agent Trevor Bauer, but they still expect to beef up their starting rotation.

— L.A. poet Amanda Gorman, who read one of her poems at the presidential inauguration, will recite an original piece at Super Bowl LV.

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OPINION

— “One Night in Miami” doesn’t acknowledge Jim Brown’s history of violence. But we must, columnist LZ Granderson writes.

Chris Stirewalt called Arizona for Biden on Fox News. He was fired last week. Here’s what he’s learned about the news business.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— The Trump administration’s successes in cutting taxes, rolling back regulations and reshaping the judiciary will cast a long shadow. (ProPublica)

— For the NFL’s Black assistant coaches, this hiring cycle was over before it began. (The Undefeated)

ONLY IN L.A.

What is the best date you’ve ever been on in L.A.? It doesn’t matter whether it was at Walt Disney Concert Hall or the beach, on a day last week or in 1974. We’re compiling a list of our readers’ favorite dates in Los Angeles. We’re all about nostalgia and love a good story — send yours to us right here.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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