WASHINGTON, July 20 – U.S. President Joe Biden plans to announce new federal measures to address the climate crisis on Wednesday during a trip to Massachusetts, but will stop short of declaring a climate emergency, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said. Tuesday.
Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups are calling on the White House to take aggressive action on climate change after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said last week he was not ready to support key climate provisions in Congress.
Biden has been under pressure to declare an emergency, which would allow the Defense Production Act to be used to increase the production of a wide range of renewable energy products and systems, but the president is unlikely to take that step at this time.
The president will use his travels to highlight the historic clean energy investments his administration has made and “announce the next steps he will take to address the climate crisis and secure a clean energy future,” Jean-Pierre said.
The comments confirmed a report that the visit included new climate announcements.
A White House official said Tuesday that Biden had made it clear that if the Senate did not act, he would. “We are considering all options and no decision has been taken,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Biden promoted tough action on climate change in his presidential campaign and pledged at international climate talks to reduce climate pollution by 50% by 2030 and achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035.
But his climate agenda has been derailed by several major setbacks, including getting enough congressional support to pass major climate and clean energy measures in the federal budget, record gasoline prices, and the disruption of global energy markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Supreme Court also signaled in a ruling earlier this month that federal agencies cannot take major policy action in climate and other areas without express approval from Congress.
Despite these restrictions, environmental policy group Evergreen Action said the Environmental Protection Agency can still use its powers to tighten restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions and other major pollutants from power plants and industrial facilities, and the Interior Department can phase out fossil fuel leases and block large projects.
Democrats are debating the way forward for major climate action on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Carper dodged a question about Biden declaring a climate emergency but said he thought there were other issues the Senate could move on, including methane reductions and tax provisions for nuclear power and carbon capture and sequestration.
During his trip to Somerset, Massachusetts, Biden will visit a former coal plant that has been converted into a manufacturing facility for submarine cables used to make offshore wind farms.