Biden pledges ‘strong’ climate action despite double setbacks

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is promising “strong executive” battle climate changedespite two setbacks in recent weeks that have limited its ability to regulate carbon emissions and promote clean energies like wind and solar.

The Supreme Court Last month it restricted how the country’s key air pollution law can be used to reduce it Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Then late Thursday Senator Joe ManchinDW.Va. said he wanted to delay far-reaching environmental legislation which Democrats have pushed as central to achieving Biden’s ambitious climate goals.


Biden, who has agreed to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, said Friday that “action on climate change and clean energy remain more urgent than ever.”

If the Senate doesn’t act to address climate change and promote clean energy, “I will take strong executive action to meet that moment,” Biden said in a statement from Saudi Arabia, where he met with the Saudi crown prince on Friday met Mohammed bin Salman.

Biden did not specify what actions he will take on climate, but said they will create jobs, improve energy security, strengthen domestic manufacturing and protect consumers from oil and gas price hikes. “I won’t back down,” he promised.

Some proponents urged Biden to seize the moment to, among other things, declare a national climate emergency and reintroduce a ban on crude oil exports.


Declaring a climate emergency would allow Biden to redirect spending to accelerate renewable energy like wind and solar and accelerate the nation’s transition away from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

Climate advocates, including some of Manchin’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate, said Manchin’s announcement His inability to support climate provisions in Senate legislation — at least for now — relieves Biden of the obligation to cater to a powerful coal-state senator eager to protect his energy-producing home state. Manchin’s vote is crucial in the evenly divided Senate, where Republicans are unanimously opposed to climate change.

“Free at last. Here we go. Do everything and start now,” tweeted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., who has long advocated stronger climate action on Beast Mode,” Whitehouse wrote.


Whitehouse proposed a number of actions Biden could take, including “a robust social cost of carbon rule” that would force energy producers to account for greenhouse gas emissions as a cost of doing business. The senator also called on Biden to require big polluters to use carbon capture technologies and enforce stricter pollution controls for cars, light trucks and heavy-duty vehicles.

Advocates also called on Biden to oppose all onshore and offshore drilling on federal land and in federal waters — a move he promised but didn’t execute during the 2020 campaign — and the approval of natural gas pipelines and other fossil-fuel projects to restrict.

“For too long we have waited for a single piece of legislation to save us and for a single legislature to determine our fate,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. “Now that clear legislation to address our climate crisis is dead, President Biden must place us on an emergency basis to address this disaster.”


Citing Biden’s campaign promise to end new drilling on federal lands and waters, Merkley said, “Now is the time to show the American people they mean business by saying ‘no’ to expanding our reliance on fossil fuels.” fuels says.”

Even before Manchin’s apparent opposition to climate action, Democrats had trimmed their plan from about $555 billion in climate spending to just over $300 billion to secure his support. Proposed tax credits for wind, solar and nuclear power, along with untested carbon capture technology, could cut emissions by up to 40% by 2030, proponents said.

Manchin had already forced Democrats to drop two tax provisions he opposes: direct payments of clean energy credits and tax credits for drivers who buy electric vehicles. Manchin forced other concessions last year, including rejecting a proposal that would have paid utilities that increase clean energy while penalizing those who don’t.


Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said he still hopes to salvage clean energy tax rules, saying failure is “really not an option here.”

Manchin’s request to delay measures on climate action follows a June 30 Supreme Court ruling that said by a 6-3 vote that the Clean Air Act does not give the Environmental Protection Agency broad powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The ruling by the court’s conservative majority likely complicates the Biden administration’s plan to control power-plant pollution, but does not remove its power to regulate greenhouse gases. EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the agency will push the proposed rules for power plants in the coming months.

Ann Clancy, associate director of climate policy at Indivisible, a progressive advocacy group, said it’s time Biden “stop waiting for corporate-backed Democrats and their malicious negotiations and start bringing real climate gains to the American people.”


“We’ve run out of time,” Clancy said.

Manchin said in a radio interview on Friday that climate activists want an immediate end to US use of oil, coal and gas. “This is crazy,” he told West Virginia talk show host Hoppy Kercheval. “I’m not throwing caution to the wind. I think we need an energy policy that works for our country.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Biden pledges ‘strong’ climate action despite double setbacks

Sarah Y. Kim

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