President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced new steps to tackle climate change and promised more robust action to come, saying “this is an emergency and I will see it that way.”
However, the president held off on declaring a formal climate emergency, which Democrats and environmental groups were seeking after a Democratic senator rejected hopes of a broader legislation to address global warming. Biden hinted that such a move could be coming.
“Let me be clear,” Biden said, “climate change is an emergency, and in the coming weeks I, as president, will exercise the power to transform these words into formal, official government actions through appropriate declarations, executive I am going to use the command and regulatory power that a President has.”
Biden gave his pledge at a former coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts. The former Bretton Point power plant in Somerset is shifting to offshore wind power manufacturing, and Biden has chosen this as the embodiment of the transition to the clean energy he is seeking.
The executive actions announced Wednesday will boost the domestic offshore wind industry in the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern United States, and help communities cope with rising temperatures through programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies. efforts will be expanded. ,
This travels across Europe and the United States in the form of historical temperatures. Temperatures reached 115 degrees in Portugal as wildfires raged in Spain and France, and Britain broke its record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Tuesday. At least 60 million Americans could experience triple-digit temperatures over the next several days as cities around the US sweat through more intense and longer-lasting heat waves that scientists blame on global warming. Huh.
There are growing calls for a national emergency declaration to address the climate crisis among activists and Democratic lawmakers after West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin negotiated a long-delayed legislative package last week.
White House officials have said the option is being considered. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to outline a timetable for a decision on Tuesday, other than saying no such order would be issued this week.
Biden’s climate adviser Gina McCarthy said Biden is “shy” to consider the climate an emergency.
“The president wants to make sure we’re doing it right, that we’re working it out, and that we have the time that we need to make it work,” she told reporters on Air Force One.
Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said Tuesday that he is “confident that the president is finally ready to do whatever it takes to tackle this crisis.”
An emergency declaration on the climate would allow the president to redirect federal resources to promote renewable energy programs that would help transition away from fossil fuels. The declaration could also be used as a legal basis to block oil and gas drilling or other projects, although such actions would be challenged in court by energy companies or Republican-led states.
Such a declaration would be similar to the one issued by Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, who declared a national emergency to build a wall on the southern border after lawmakers refused to allocate funds for that effort. was.
In conversation with Munchkin Stahl
Biden last week promised significant executive action on climate after months of discussions between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat. The West Virginia senator cited extremely high inflation as a reason for his hesitation, although he has long-protected energy interests in the coal and gas-producing state.
For now, Manchin has said he will only agree to a legislative package that subsidizes people under a 2010 health care law to help people buy insurance and allows Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs. which will ultimately reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals to consumers.
The White House has indicated it wants Congress to make that deal, and Biden will address the climate issue on his own.
The former Bretton Point Power Plant closed in 2017 after burning coal for more than five decades. The plant will now become an offshore wind power site.
A new report says the US and other major carbon-polluting countries are not fulfilling their promises to fight climate change. Of the 10 biggest carbon emitters, only the European Union has made policies close to or in line with international goals of limiting warming to a few and tenths of a degree, according to scientists and experts who track climate action across countries.