The potential move comes days after Senator Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.) told Democratic leaders that he is supporting his party’s efforts to develop a comprehensive economic package this month that includes billions of dollars to tackle global warming. does not support. If an emergency is called, it could empower the Biden administration in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and promote cleaner energy.
Two of those knowledgeable about the discussions also said they expect the president to announce a slew of additional actions aimed at curbing global warming. The exact size and timing of any announcements remains in flux.
“The president made it clear that if the Senate does not act to address the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, it will,” said a White House official, who asked for anonymity to describe the deliberations. , in a statement late Monday. “We are considering all options and no decision has been made yet.”
Jared Bernstein, a top White House economic adviser, emphasized to reporters at a news conference earlier in the day that Biden would “combat aggressively to tackle climate change.”
“I think realistically he can and will do a lot,” Bernstein said.
Top Biden officials debate the best course of action as another heat wave descended on the central United States this week and a similar weather pattern breaks temperature records across Europe. Many Democrats in recent days have called on the White House to use its powers to tackle global warming as hopes for congressional action have faded.
“This is an important moment. There is probably nothing more important to our nation and our world than for the United States to drive a bold, energetic transition in its energy economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told Monday. to reporters.
Citing the deadlock, Merkley added, “This also unleashes the president to wait for Congress to take action.”
It’s unclear exactly how Biden plans to proceed if he chooses to declare a climate emergency, which Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) urged him to do, just days away. after the president took office last year.
Biden’s plan to curb catastrophic warming is running out
Some climate activists in recent months have urged the White House to give an emergency declaration maximum effect, arguing it would allow the president to halt crude oil exports, shut down oil and gas drilling in federal waters. limit and direct agencies, including Federal Emergency Management. Agency to promote renewable energy sources.
But the president faces a difficult balancing act as he tries to align his response to a warming planet with the recent economic realities of high gas prices. The policies could help Biden’s goal to halve U.S. emissions by the end of the decade from 2005 levels, though they still fall short of what Biden wanted to achieve with his earlier economic plan known as Build Back Better. .
Any new climate executive may also face a formidable judicial challenge, which could affect the future of environmental regulation. Last month, the Supreme Court scaled back the federal government’s powers to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.
The president himself brought up the prospect of executive action on climate change last week as talks collapsed between Democratic leaders and Manchin over what was arguably the largest infusion of climate-related spending in US history.
Initially, Democrats had hoped to invest more than $500 billion in new programs to reduce emissions and support new technologies, including electric vehicles, before Manchin objected to the Build Back Better Act. The West Virginian’s opposition proved politically fatal as party lawmakers need his vote to move a bill forward using the process known as reconciliation — a tactic that allows Democrats to evade a GOP filibuster in the narrowly divided chamber .
Democrats soon began to rethink their plans, looking at what might have been $300 billion in climate-focused investment in an effort to appease Manchin. But the moderate senator, who represents a coal-heavy state, said last week he could not support his party’s efforts to promote such spending this month amid record high inflation.
Manchin later expressed openness to tackling climate change, but said he would only do so after seeing another round of indicators next month. But many Democrats said they didn’t want to take the risk, leaving them with no choice but to shelve their plans entirely — and instead focus on health proposals that Manchin does support.
Others called for another round of talks with the senator, citing that executive measures alone may not be enough.
sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the leader of the Senate’s tax-focused finance committee, said in a statement Monday that lawmakers should at least investigate whether they can renew tax credits that encourage cleaner technology.
“While I strongly support President Biden’s additional executive measures, we know there will be a flood of Republican lawsuits,” Wyden said. “Legislation remains the best option here. The climate crisis is a matter of our time and we must keep our options open.”
Dino Grandoni contributed to this report.