President Biden is considering declaring a climate emergency that would allow him to marshal sweeping powers against global warming and to take steps to promote cleaner energy, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
The Washington Post cited climate activists as saying that invoking a climate emergency would allow Biden “to restrict oil and gas drilling in federally controlled waters, stop oil exports and instruct federal agencies to increase the use of renewable energy.”
However, such action is not expected this week, noted Jean-Pierre, despite earlier speculations.
Biden is to give a climate speech in Somerset, Massachusetts on Wednesday to announce plans to steer federal dollars to heat-ravaged communities.
“Everything’s on the table. It’s just not going to be this week on that decision,” Jean-Pierre said. She added that if the administration does declare a climate emergency, it would unlock a certain “pot of funding,” but she didn’t give many specifics.
Declining to directly comment on whether Biden will pursue a climate emergency declaration, Jean-Pierre reiterated Biden’s remarks that if the Senate doesn’t act to strengthen the domestic clean energy industry in the US to tackle the climate crisis, he will.
However, after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) backed away from climate talks and from supporting Biden’s economic package – which includes billions of dollars to tackle the climate crisis – last week, as The Washington Post reported, hopes for climate action on Capitol Hill have stalled.
The potential climate legislation was expected to include major investments in clean energy as part of Biden’s broader economic agenda. However, Sen. Manchin’s move, as CNN emphasized, froze “the political momentum for aggressive, world-leading action by the United States.”
So, while the US and Europe are battered by another heat wave during what has already been a sweltering summer, top presidential aides are pushing the Biden administration “to pivot to a very aggressive climate strategy,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) told Reuters.
Biotech can address climate change issues
As the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has said, “the pressure on food security from climate change… necessitates the use of biotech solutions.”
Biotech can help increase crop yields, improve carbon sequestration, reduce water use and food waste, and bolster animal welfare. But for that to happen, “it is crucial to incentivize the adoption of biotech and expedite the regulatory pathways for improved technology solutions and tools.”
Given the threat of disastrous climate consequences, alternative fuels are urgently needed.
BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath underscored in a recent article that “to meet the challenge of climate change, and foster resiliency and sustainability throughout the agricultural value chain, it is crucial to lead with science and U.S. innovation.”