Energy & Environment

Biden weighing climate emergency declaration

The Biden administration is considering the declaration of a climate change emergency in response to congressional inaction on the issue. 

It’s unclear when and if such an announcement will come, though the White House had been considering a move as early as Wednesday. 

Two sources familiar with the discussion on Tuesday morning told The Hill that the announcement could come Wednesday — the same day that Biden is expected to discuss climate during a trip to Massachusetts. 

A third source also told The Hill that a climate emergency was under White House consideration. 

By Tuesday afternoon, one of The Hill’s sources said that while the White House had planned to declare the emergency as soon as Wednesday, it has since advised that it will not do so on that day.

The Associated Press separately reported Tuesday afternoon that the White House would hold off from a declaration on Wednesday.

The Washington Post first reported late Monday that the White House was considering declaring the emergency as soon as this week. 

The White House announced Tuesday that Biden will travel on Wednesday to Somerset, Mass., to deliver remarks on tackling climate change.

A White House official declined to directly comment on whether Biden will pursue a climate emergency declaration, saying only that many options are under consideration.

“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 in an email.

The move comes as hopes for climate action on Capitol Hill have stalled, as swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) backed away from talks last week following months of negotiations. The potential climate legislation, as part of Biden’s broader economic agenda, was expected to include major investments in clean energy. 

In the days since, some Democrats and activists have been putting pressure on the White House to declare a climate emergency in the days that followed, with Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) telling reporters on Monday evening that the Biden administration should explore it as an option. 

After Manchin said last week that he wanted to move forward with a deal focused only on health care, Biden said he would take “strong executive action” but didn’t specify what that would include.

President Trump declared emergencies both to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, enabling additional funding, and to divert funding from other purposes for a border wall. 

Updated at 2:18 p.m.

Tags Biden Climate change climate emergency executive action Joe Biden Joe Manchin Sheldon Whitehouse
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