Biden preparing executive action on climate after Manchin sinks legislative approach

President Joe Biden said last week that he would take “strong executive action” on climate, but did not provide details on what kinds of action he would take. Officials have repeatedly declined to put a timeline on when to expect any announcements but have suggested there is urgency to get something done soon.

Asked by CNN whether the President is considering declaring a national emergency on climate, as reported by The Washington Posta White House official tells CNN that as of Tuesday morning, all options remain on the table and no decision has been made on the matter.

“The President made clear that if the Senate doesn’t act to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, he will. We are considering all options and no decision has been made,” the official said.

A national emergency declaration would give the Biden administration broader latitude to take action and use government resources to tackle climate-related issues, including funding mitigation efforts and strengthening regulations.

Biden is likely to announce new executive actions to address climate change during a speech in Massachusetts on Wednesday but is expected to stop short of issuing a climate emergency declaration, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

“I would not plan an announcement this week on a national climate emergency. Again, everything is on the table. It’s just not going to be this week on that decision,” she told reporters.

The precise scope of the actions remained unclear, though the White House has been discussing a number of options with environmental leaders. Biden and his team have accelerated their review of potential executive actions after Manchin halted negotiations over climate change legislation last week, citing concerns about inflation.

An executive action would answer urgent calls from many progressives for Biden to act in the wake of last week’s legislative setback, though Biden is limited in his ability to effect meaningful change, especially after the Supreme Court last month curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. But there remain some legal concerns over taking that step and any executive actions by Biden could be swiftly reversed by a future Republican president.

Biden plans to “deliver remarks on tackling the climate crisis and seizing the opportunity of a clean energy future to create jobs and lower costs for families,” the White House said.

An official said Biden would deliver the remarks at the Brayton Point Power Station, once the largest coal-powered electricity plant in New England.

The plant, which closed in 2017, is now being transformed into a manufacturing facility for power cables connecting offshore wind farms to the power grid.

White House officials have pointed to the upcoming executive action to demonstrate Biden’s commitment to the climate crisis.

Biden will take executive actions on climate aimed at “accelerating” US efforts to combat climate change while also working to lower prices at the gas pump for Americans, special presidential coordinator for international energy affairs Amos Hochstein said Tuesday.

“We need to take whatever measures we can to accelerate all the work that we’re doing to make sure that we can address the climate emergency crisis that the world is facing,” Hochstein said during an interview with John Berman on CNN’s “New Day .”

Hochstein did not elaborate on specific measures Biden is looking to take, but hinted at some of the administration’s objectives.

“We have to do two things at the same time, and that’s what the President wants to do. And that is to accelerate the energy transition, to get us moving a lot faster on deployment of renewable energy on manufacturing of and deployment of electric vehicles , but at the same time, we recognize that we need to do that in a way that still allows for lower prices at the pump, lower prices of energy, overall electricity, gasoline, diesel,” Hochstein said.

Hochstein declined to say whether Biden would declare a national climate emergency. But he said that the administration does “want to see the US industry increase oil production,” cautioning of the balance between getting prices down and climate effects.

“We have to make that differentiation to make sure that the American consumer has what it needs to grow our economy and the global economy, but not take steps and endanger the climate work that we’re trying to do to make sure that we’re in a better footing to accelerate the transition,” he said.

Economic adviser Jared Bernstein told CNN’s Dana Bash Sunday, “If (the President) can’t find a legislative path to clean energy, the urgency of the problem is so significant that, as he said on Friday, he will find an executive order and rule change path to get there.”

Bernstein previewed options that Biden has already taken on climate change that could be reinforced with forthcoming actions.

“He’s already found that path. He’ll continue down it. He has invoked the Defense Production Act to ramp up clean energy production in this country. He has helped to kickstart the offshore wind industry. He has set the toughest-ever emission standards He will continue to pursue that with or without Congress,” he said.


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