Biden touted the new jobs that combating climate change could bring, including building electric cars, installing charging stations, upgrading schools and commercial buildings, constructing energy-efficient homes and producing solar panels and wind turbines.

When we invest in climate resilience and infrastructure, we create opportunities for everyone. That’s at the heart of our jobs plan that I proposed here in the United States,” Biden said. “It’s how our nation intends to build an economy that gives everybody a fair shot.”

Thursday’s marathon virtual summit was primarily intended to highlight a new U.S. pledge to make deep cuts to its carbon emissions this decade, mend the nation’s diplomatic reputation and rally other nations to embrace more ambitious climate goals of their own in coming months.

Friday’s session — which once again featured heads of state, business executives and labor representatives — was meant to underscore the administration’s assurances that combating climate change should not inflict economic pain, but rather help lift up communities across the country and the world.

Republicans for years have forced Democrats on the defensive by portraying climate action as a concession to fuzzy environmentalism at the cost of jobs for ordinary Americans. Biden is pushing hard to redefine the debate, arguing that renewable energy is at least as much an economic opportunity as an environmental imperative.

It’s a message that Biden has repeated over and over again on the campaign trail, in interviews, in speeches and in articulating the motivation behind his proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which would include massive new investments in clean energy, electric vehicles and weatherization.

Biden’s pledge this week to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 50 to 52 percent by 2030, relative to 2005 levels, would require far-reaching changes that impact how Americans power their homes, how they travel and even how they grow food.

To meet that goal, the administration ultimately must rely on assumptions about the future that are hard to guarantee. Will a sharply divided Congress, home to some Republicans who say such policies risk leaving behind communities that rely on fossil fuels, fund Biden’s proposals? Will future administrations keep in place any new regulations aimed at curbing emissions? And will such policies survive inevitable court challenges?

On Friday, those questions would have to wait.

Biden lined up a cast of Cabinet members and enthusiastic business and labor figures to praise his jobs plan, highlighting the president’s message that building a carbon-free economy can create “good union jobs,” as administration officials said repeatedly this week.

Flanked by White House adviser Gina McCarthy, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Biden listened as an electric school bus maker, a commercial building energy controls manufacturer, an electric grid expert and two union representatives reaffirmed their support for the president’s domestic strategy and legislation.

“There are no jobs on a dead planet,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union. “We

Lake Minneola High School baseball coach Kerry Whetro calls out to his players during a game against East Ridge on April 1 in Clermont. [PAUL RYAN / CORRESPONDENT]

This week could be one of the more memorable weeks in Kerry Whetro’s long career as a high school baseball coach.

Whetro, in his third season at Lake Minneola, has quietly had the Hawks on a roll of late with six wins in their last seven games heading into Monday’s matchup against Orlando Evans and sporting a 12-6 record. 

The longtime coach — after more than 37 years in the dugout — is also closing in on his 500th career victory.

And with three games on the schedule for this week, Whetro could pick up his landmark win as early as Thursday when Lake Minneola hosts Real Life Christian Academy. In addition to Monday’s road game against Evans, the Hawks host Leesburg at 7 p.m. Tuesday in what could be win #499.

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Based strictly on won-loss records, the odds favor Whetro getting his first shot at his 500th win in Thursday’s game against the Raptors. Evans sported a 1-12 record heading into Monday’s game, while Leesburg is 3-12, but coming off a 3-2 upset win Friday against Belleview.

Whetro has played a significant role in south Lake County’s baseball history over the years. 

After beginning his coaching career in Ohio, Whetro moved to Florida and took over at South Lake in 1999. After a stint with the Eagles, Whetro moved to East Ridge where he founded the school’s baseball program.

Eventually, Whetro returned to South Lake, where he coached for nine seasons before announcing what turned out to be a short-lived retirement.

Whetro returned to his second home — the dugout — with Lake Minneola in 2019. Since then, Whetro has fashioned at 36-19 record heading into Monday’s game.

Even though the Hawks likely will be favored on paper against Evans and Leesburg, its game against Real Life Christian is not as cut and dried. The Raptors have a 10-4 record ahead of Tuesday’s game against Brooksville Hernando Christian and are just two years’ removed from advancing to the Class 2A Final Four. 

Lake Minneola, however, has won two of its last three games against Real Life during Whetro’s time in the Hawks’ dugout, but this will be the first time the teams’ have faced off this season. 

If Lake Minneola stumbles in any of its games this week, Whetro will have two opportunities next week. The Hawks are set to travel to play Orlando First Academy April 22 and will hit the road April 23 to face Ocoee to close out the regular season. 

Whetro could also achieve win #500 in the playoffs, since district, regional and state tournament games also count in overall records. 

MDCA track standout establishes new school record

Mitchell Curtis, younger brother of former Mount Dora Christian Academy runner Gabe Curtis, established a new school record Friday in the 800-meter run at the MDCA Invitational meet.

The record he broke?

His older brother’s.

Curtis established the new mark — 1 minute, 56.43 seconds — in