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As anticipated, U.S. President Joe Biden refrained from declaring a climate emergency, which would grant him additional powers to deal with a national climate crisis, during his speech Wednesday at the site of a former coal plant in Massachusetts.
Citing a staggering $145 billion in damages caused by extreme weather events just last year, and calling the climate crisis a “clear and present danger”, in a live stream, Biden told those gathered in Massachusetts that his administration would use its executive powers to tackle the impact of climate change.
“My message today is this: Since Congress is not acting as it should [...] this is an emergency, and I will look at it that way. [...] As president I will use my executive powers to combat climate crisis in the absence of Congressional action,” Biden said.
The U.S. president said that the administration would announce executive actions in the coming days, but this is unlikely to appease those who were holding out for a declaration of emergency.
Noting that our national security is at stake, with extreme weather damaging military installations in the U.S., and with 100 million Americans currently under heat alert, Biden discussed his $2.3-billion pledge to help communities across the country to build infrastructure designed to withstand natural disasters we are seeing today.
The administration's efforts are part of stated plans to move the U.S. power sector towards cleaner energy and less volatile price swings, as well as towards energy security that creates jobs, lowers costs and provides energy security.
Congress and the Supreme Court have set up roadblocks to the administration’s agenda. The Biden administration’s $550-billion budget for climate initiatives faces strong opposition, and not only from Republicans. That budget is part of the “Build Back Better” legislation.
Stiff opposition is coming in particular from Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative West Virginia Democrat who is reported to have received more money from the oil and gas industry in 2021 than any other member of Congress, according to NPR, citing the OpenSecrets tracking group.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com