SOMERSET, Mass. (Fwrd Axis) — After Congress failed to pass legislation on climate change, President Joe Biden announced executive actions to tackle the issue on Wednesday. Still, they notably fall short of his plans at the start of his presidency.
Speaking from Brayton Point in Somerset, Massachusetts, the President said the issue of climate change is an emergency and he would be looking to do as much as he can while in office to correct the problem, slamming Congress for not acting on it.
“Congress is not acting as it should,” Biden said. “This is an emergency, an emergency, and I will look at it that way. I said last week, and I’ll say it again, loud and clear, as President, I’ll use my executive powers to combat climate, the climate crisis, in the absence of congressional action.”
Biden said he will direct $2.3 billion in funding for FEMA’s resilient infrastructure program in fiscal 2022 to go along with directing the Interior Department to propose the first wind energy areas in the Gulf of Mexico.
The White House said the moves are just the beginning series of decisions to combat climate change after Congress failed to pass climate legislation when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he will not support the climate and tax provisions in the Biden agenda bill.
“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%,” Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon said in a statement. “Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.”
Biden said Wednesday he plans to take action beyond what he announced in Massachusetts.
“I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger and that’s what climate change is about,” he said. “It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger. The health of our citizens in our communities is literally at stake.”
The White House has reportedly been mulling declaring a climate emergency declaration but no final decision has been made.
The news comes amid a record heat wave in the United States and Europe. In the U.K., temperatures have hit 105 degrees which would make it hotter than 98% of the planet’s surface. Climate experts have advised those who are older to stay cool and indoors, predicting that thousands could die as a result of the heat wave.
“We need to be thoughtful about this and we want to take actions not just declare things,” said White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy. “I think it was just important for the president to get his arms around the various threads of work that we can put together and lay them out in a way that he is comfortable with.”