Assistant Secretary Estenoz Highlights Commitment to Boosting the Clean Energy Economy, Honoring Indigenous Communities at COP28

Last edited 12/05/2023

Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2023

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz kicked off a week-long series of events, meetings and activities at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Dubai today. The Department of the Interior delegation’s participation at COP28 will highlight the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious renewable energy goals and commitments to honoring Indigenous communities.

Assistant Secretary Estenoz joined officials from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, the Philippines, Romania and Spain, along with leaders from the private sector, to discuss collaborative efforts to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind across the globe. The leaders spoke about strategies to strengthen supply chains, streamline processes, and create good-paying jobs in support of offshore wind goals. Assistant Secretary Estenoz highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government approach toward its ambitious renewable energy goals that will create good paying jobs, boost local economies, and help address environmental injustice, and progress towards the goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.

Last month, the Interior Department approved the sixth commercial-scale offshore wind energy project under President Biden’s leadership. Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has held four offshore wind lease auctions, which have brought in almost $5.5 billion in high bids, including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and New Jersey and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. BOEM has also advanced the process to explore additional opportunities for offshore wind energy development in the U.S., including in the Gulf of Maine and offshore Oregon and the U.S. Central Atlantic coast. The Interior Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic-based supply chain.

Assistant Secretary Estenoz and Interior Department leaders today also convened a meeting with intergovernmental partners, including representatives from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Group on Earth Observations, and Inter-American Institute to discuss the Initiative for Enhancing Capacity for Climate Risk Assessment and Catalyzing Partnerships to Inform Decisions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LACI). LACI provides opportunities for partnerships between Caribbean, Latin American, and North American countries to enhance capacity for climate risk and vulnerability assessments that support local and regional decision-making in response to climate change and its impacts. Assistant Secretary Estenoz reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to international partners to tackle the climate crisis through collaborative science-based partnerships and working with Indigenous communities to protect lands and waters through efforts that advance cultural and environmental restoration.  

Interior Department leaders also attended a dialogue between Indigenous and community leaders from across the world that centered on how Indigenous Knowledge can help strengthen our efforts to protect nature and biodiversity, including through efforts like Tribal co-stewardship of public lands and waters.  

In 2021, the Department issued a Secretary’s Order to advance a policy of co-stewardship of federal lands and waters with Tribes and the Native Hawaiian Community. The Biden-Harris administration is also committed to including Indigenous Knowledge in federal research, policy, and decision making. Earlier this year, the Department announced policies re-affirming its commitment to using Indigenous Knowledge, science and landscape-scale management as the foundation for the Department’s decisions.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland will make several announcements regarding progress in executing co-stewardship agreements and the implementation of Indigenous Knowledge policies during remarks tomorrow at the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit. The Summit will provide an opportunity for the Biden-Harris administration and Tribal leaders from the 574 federally recognized Tribes to discuss ways the federal government can invest in and strengthen nation-to-nation relationships as well as ensure that progress in Indian Country endures for years to come.


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