Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, Blumenauer aim to require Biden to declare climate emergency
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would require the president to declare a national emergency on climate change.
Declaring a national emergency would give President Biden more power to combat climate change, including the ability to direct extra funding to the issue.
The long-shot resolution follows a statement from Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggesting that Biden could declare a climate emergency to be able to take additional actions using emergency powers.
However, it would face an uphill battle to cross the 60-vote threshold to become filibuster-proof and could also face opposition from moderate Democrats.
The legislation cites both warming temperatures and a statement from the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which calls for “far-reaching, multilevel and cross-sectoral climate mitigation” to prevent climate risks.
It says that in response to the national emergency, Biden should invest in major resiliency projects that will help prepare the country’s infrastructure for climate change’s impacts and make investments in clean energy that are socially and racially just.
“We are out of time and excuses. Our country is in crisis and, to address it, we will have to mobilize our social and economic resources on a massive scale,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.
“If we want to ensure that our nation has an equitable economic recovery and prevent yet another life-altering crisis – then we have to start by calling this moment what it is, a national emergency,” she added.
Republicans, meanwhile, have pushed back against the idea of a presidentially declared climate emergency.
Following Schumer’s suggestion, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in a statement that the Democrat was “trying to muzzle Congress.”
“Schumer wants the president to go it alone and produce more punishing regulations, raise energy costs, and kill even more American jobs,” he added.
Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and Blumenauer have previously pushed for the formal recognition of a climate emergency.
In 2019, they introduced a resolution “expressing the sense of Congress that there is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes.”