President Biden will speak today on his new efforts to combat climate change, but will not declare climate change a national emergency — for now. An invocation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act would unlock presidential authorities to regulate financial transactions and impose sanctions on individuals and countries — it would not automatically set any specific policies into motion. Democratic lawmakers and climate advocates are loudly calling for Biden to make such a declaration, especially after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) joined every Senate Republican in opposing action on climate change.
“Biden needs to deploy every executive power, starting with banning crude oil exports,” Jean Su, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Energy Justice Program explained in a tweet. They also warned, as LCV’s Tiernan Sittenfeld, told E&E News, “it’s not a panacea.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) agreed, telling reporters, “Declaring a climate emergency doesn’t lower any emissions … You have to move on to acting like it’s a climate emergency, and I’m looking forward to those steps.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday a climate emergency declaration is “not on the table for this week,” adding, “We are still considering it.” (AP, E&E News, Salon, Washington Post $, New York Times $, Reuters, Wall Street Journal $, The Hill, MSNBC, Politico Pro $, Washington Post $, NBC, Politico Pro $, Grist; Calls for action: (Reuters, The Guardian, The Hill)