US President Joe Biden announced a series of executive measures on Wednesday to combat climate change and pledged to follow even more, seeking to advance his environmental agenda. hindered by unsupportive lawmakers and the conservative Supreme Court.
Summer heatwaves have highlighted the threat, with 100 million people in the United States suffering extreme heat warnings, and devastating record temperatures causing misery across Europe.
“Climate change … literally, not figuratively, is a clear and present danger,” Biden said, announcing a $2.3 billion investment to help build infrastructure. United States to combat climate catastrophe.
“The health of our citizens and communities is literally under threat … Our national security is also at stake. (…) And our economy is at risk. ro. So we have to act.”
Biden, speaking at a former coal power plant in Massachusetts, said his administration will not hesitate to do whatever is necessary, with or without lawmakers on board.
“Congress is not acting as it should… This is an emergency and I will look at it that way. As president, I will use my executive powers to fight the gas crisis. after,” he said.
However, he stopped short of declaring a formal emergency, which would grant him additional policy powers.
– Repeated failures –
Biden began his term last year promising to deliver on campaign pledges to tackle the global climate crisis, but his agenda has faced waves.
On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order to return the US to the Paris climate accord, followed by an ambitious announcement that he was targeting a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels. on US net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. .
But his signed Build Back Better act, which would include $550 billion for clean energy and other climate initiatives, died after failing to get the support it needed in Congress because Democrat Joe Manchin said he would not support the bill evenly. Senate.
And last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could not enact widespread greenhouse gas regulations without congressional approval.
The Biden administration has made climate policies a national security issue, making it all the more urgent by raising fuel prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It doesn’t just affect our infrastructure… It has an impact on our readiness,” White House spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price points to the extreme heat wave that has battered Europe this week – with UK temperatures recorded at 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) – as evidence of climate action. can not wait.
“We are committed to taking advantage of this moment and doing everything we can, including on the world stage, to ensure that this decisive decade does not pass without action,” Price told reporters. our niche”.
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