President Biden Gets Serious About Declaring a Climate Emergency!

by Anusha Narayanan

July 22, 2022

Here are just a few of the immediate actions that could occur under a climate emergency

There’s a delectable rumor floating around D.C. Usually, we try to refrain from engaging in gossip. But, this time it’s just too juicy not to share! Last Monday the Washington Post announced a well-substantiated rumor that President Biden is seriously considering declaring a national climate emergency. The rumor was confirmed on Wednesday as President Biden said “in the coming weeks my Administration will begin to announce executive actions to combat this emergency.” This comes during life-threatening heatwaves and in the wake of Joe Manchin signaling his commitment to blocking climate action. 

This is huge news. Why? Because millions of people worried about having a liveable future free of climate chaos have been pushing President Biden to declare a climate emergency since he took office. A climate emergency declaration would mobilize the sorely-needed funds to fight climate change and catalyze a renewable energy revolution.

Here’s the deal. Senator Joe Manchin is a coal baron with a steep financial interest in blocking the Democrat’s efforts to pass meaningful climate legislation. Last week, Manchin indicated that he refuses to support policies aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions or providing incentives for clean energy technologies and electric vehicles. The Biden administration has been attempting to play the long game, refraining from exercising the full force of executive power in hopes that Congressional Democrats could pass strong climate legislation first. 

But, Senator Manchin single-handedly torched those hopes with his statements last week. So now, in the wake of Congressional gridlock, the Biden administration is potentially ready to move forward. This rumored news couldn’t have come at a better time — earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a dismal ruling limiting our options for climate action, and now, a punishing heatwave is heating up much of the U.S. and Europe. Climate impacts — like this heatwave and droughts — will continue to threaten everyone’s health and safety, with particularly harmful impacts for our most vulnerable populations. 

Between Congressional inaction, a climate-solutions wary Supreme Court, and devastating climate impacts and extreme weather the time to pull out all the stops in the fight against climate change is now. 

There’s so much at stake. The possibilities for equitable and progressive climate solutions abound under a climate emergency. Here’s just a few of the immediate actions that could occur under a climate emergency: 

  • The Department of the Interior could end fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters, halting drilling for oil and gas and protecting our communities from contamination and pollution
  • The June 6th order under the Defense Production Act could be expanded to spur domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologies, creating millions of good-paying, union jobs in the process
  • The crude oil export ban that was previously in place for 40 years could be reinstated, significantly dropping associated greenhouse gas emissions in the process 

While on the campaign trail, President Biden made lofty promises to be a climate leader. Now is his chance to honor those commitments and define his legacy as a climate president. 

Declaring a climate emergency would be the most significant step taken to combat climate change at the federal level in decades. President Biden has the executive power to make it a reality. Join the millions of other climate activists urging President Biden to declare a climate emergency. Add your name today!

Anusha Narayanan

By Anusha Narayanan

Anusha Narayanan is the Climate Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.