President Joe Biden on Wednesday declared climate change to be “an existential threat” and announced executive actions aimed at combating the issue.
Biden, speaking at a former coal-fired power plant in Brayton Point, Massachusetts, chastised Congress for “not acting on this emergency” but didn’t go so far as to officially declare a climate emergency declaration – though he did say he is viewing the subject as such. His upcoming executive actions, which he detailed in Massachusetts, come after Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin sunk his party’s push to pass legislation on climate change.
“We all have a duty right now to our economy, to our competitiveness in the world, to the young people in this nation and to future generations,” Biden said. “That sounds like hyperbole, but it’s not – it’s real – to act boldly on climate. And so … Congress – notwithstanding the leadership of the men and women who are here today – has failed in its duty. Not a single Republican in Congress stepped up to support my climate plan. Not one.”
“So let me be clear: climate change is an emergency, and in the coming weeks I’m going to use the power I have as president to turn these words into formal, official government actions through the appropriate proclamations, executive orders and regulatory power that a president possesses. When it comes to fighting climate change … I will not take no for an answer,” the president continued. (RELATED: Supreme Court Hands Biden Admin Major Win For Climate Agenda)
Biden’s executive actions specifically target extreme heat conditions, which the White House said are “impacting more than 100 million Americans this week.” The actions include effort from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will announce $2.3 billion in funding to its “Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities” (BRIC) program, according to the administration.
“This funding will help communities increase resilience to heat waves, drought, wildfires, flood, hurricanes, and other hazards by preparing before disaster strikes,” the White House said in a fact sheet. (RELATED: Biden Revoked Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ Agenda. Now It’s Coming Back To Haunt Him)
Biden’s executive actions also include initiatives aimed at lowering the cost for cooling homes in areas subject to extreme heat and a push to expand “offshore wind opportunities.”
“The Department of the Interior is proposing the first Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico, a historic step toward expanding offshore wind opportunities to another region of the United States,” the White House noted. “These areas cover 700,000 acres and have the potential to power over three million homes. President Biden is also directing the Secretary of the Interior to advance wind energy development in the waters off the mid- and southern Atlantic Coast and Florida’s Gulf Coast —alleviating uncertainty cast by the prior Administration.”
In relation to offshore wind opportunities, Biden announced an effort from the Department of the Interior (DOI) “to consider potential offshore wind power in the Gulf of Mexico.” He also directed the DOI to push “clean energy development” off the southern coasts.
Biden has been vocal about climate change, saying during an interview in 2020 that he views it as the “number one issue facing humanity” and reiterating that it’s “the existential threat to humanity.”