The White House is scrambling to salvage President Biden’s aggressive climate agenda. Among the Senate’s swing votes is West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who told Democratic officials that he would not support major climate legislation in the Senate’s reconciliation bill. His position further dampens hopes for major climate legislation before the end of the summer. Meanwhile, President Obama has pledged to take executive action on climate. Senators such as Joe Manchin have wielded significant influence on Biden’s legislative agenda, blocking negotiations on environmental programs and raising taxes.
Biden’s actions should go beyond reviving offshore wind energy programs and establishing climate change funding programs. His climate executive orders should also help states and communities adapt to the effects of extreme heat. Even though Biden has been thwarted in Congress twice in eight months, he has vowed to use his executive powers to address climate change. However, it is unclear exactly how these executive actions will be implemented.
While it remains unclear what the next steps will be, it would be an impressive showing of commitment to combating climate change before the midterm elections. As the Senate majority leader, Schumer urged Biden to declare a climate emergency shortly after his inauguration. Biden’s announcement would allow the president to limit oil drilling in federal waters, halt crude oil exports, and direct agencies to promote renewable energy.
The president’s announcements will take place at a former coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts, which will soon be transformed into a manufacturing facility that supports offshore wind energy. The facility will be a symbol of the nation’s shift away from toxic coal and volatile price swings to a clean, secure, and affordable energy source. If these moves come to fruition, the President will have a clear plan to make the transition from coal to wind energy and reduce gas prices.
While the president’s plans are unlikely to pass the Congressional process, the president should consider declaring a climate emergency in the U.S. and the European Union. Declaring a climate emergency could spark headlines, but this decision may not be made for a long time. Even if it does, it will take years to see any positive impact. Nevertheless, this is one of the most important steps we can take in the United States.
By signing the orders, the President has already begun the process of opening up the Gulf of Mexico to wind farms. Additionally, he has directed his Interior Department Secretary, Deb Haaland, to advance the clean energy development in the Southeast, including Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The two executive orders are important steps towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions and making the world more sustainable.
In addition, the President pledged to double FEMA’s BRIC funding in fiscal year 2022 and make it available to local communities, Tribes, and states. These efforts are all part of the Justice40 Initiative, which prioritizes underserved communities. The bipartisan infrastructure law will support these efforts. The President also called for the auctioning of 700,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore wind farms.