In view of the worsening climate crisis, US President Joe Biden has spoken of an “emergency” and announced further measures for his country. “Climate change is an existential threat to our nation and the world,” Biden said on Wednesday (local time) while visiting a former coal-fired power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts, whose infrastructure will be used to generate renewable energy in the future. “This is an emergency and this is how I will deal with it,” he said.
Biden announced that he would strengthen the domestic offshore wind industry and help the people of the United States deal with the rise in temperature. 2.3 billion US dollars (2.25 billion euros) are earmarked for a program of the national civil protection authority (FEMA) to help communities to arm themselves against heat waves, droughts, forest fires, floods and hurricanes. Just a few days ago, the President’s multi-billion dollar climate and economic package failed in the US Senate.
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Biden did not declare the so-called national climate emergency on Wednesday, but indicated that he might do so soon. “Climate change is an emergency – and in the coming weeks I will use the power I have as President to translate those words into formal, official government action.” A White House spokeswoman said Tuesday all options are open Table.
Declaring a state of emergency would give the US President more room for maneuver in the fight against climate change. As a result, he could rededicate federal funds, for example – and invest them in the expansion of renewable energies. Such a declaration could also serve as a legal basis for blocking oil and gas drilling, for example. That, in turn, could be challenged in court by energy companies or Republican-governed states. The USA is the second largest emitter of climate-damaging gases after China.
Movement on the subject of climate protection is very important for the Democratic US President a few months before the US congressional elections. If the Democrats have little to offer when it comes to climate – one of their core issues – it will likely cost voters. So far, Biden’s climate projects have failed in the US Senate, where the Democrats are dependent on all votes from their party due to a wafer-thin majority. The more conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin recently blocked the comprehensive legislative package.
Manchin expressed concerns that the additional spending could fuel already high inflation. In the USA, the inflation rate has recently risen to 9.1 percent and thus to the highest value since December 1981.