For Immediate Release, October 20, 2021
Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 770-3187, firstname.lastname@example.org
Five Executive Actions Biden Must Take As Climate Program Falters in Congress
WASHINGTON— As Congress struggles to pass major climate legislation, President Joe Biden can use existing executive powers to take at least five major actions to establish global leadership at the international climate talks in November, according to legal experts at the Center for Biological Diversity.
The Senate faces a deadlock on one of the key items of President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda: The Clean Energy Payment Program, which seeks to pay and penalize utilities to meet clean energy requirements. The congressional stalemate is occurring weeks before Biden’s inaugural attendance at the global climate change talks in Glasgow, Scotland.
“While the potential demise of climate action in the Senate is disappointing, President Biden has other powerful tools to combat the climate emergency and demonstrate urgently needed global leadership,” said Jean Su, energy justice director at the Center. “The president has immense executive powers to speed the end of the fossil fuel era and ignite a just, renewable-energy revolution with millions of good-paying union jobs. We’re calling on President Biden to reclaim his power from coal- and gas-state senators and show us and the world that he can be our Climate President.”
The top five key executive actions Biden can take to act boldly on climate without Congress are:
Congressional leaders like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Jeff Merkley have called for Biden to use emergency powers to address the climate crisis. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders and dozens of other Congressmembers, sponsored a bill demanding that Biden declare a climate emergency.
As a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report signaled a “code red for humanity” to address the climate emergency, the Biden administration’s climate legacy hinges on slashing U.S. planet-warming pollution substantially to help meet the country’s fair share as the world’s largest cumulative historical emitter of greenhouse gases.
Swift executive actions to end fossil fuel extraction and advance a clean and just energy transition are central premises in the progressive Climate President action plan and model executive order, as well as an executive order to end the federal fossil fuel leasing program, authored by the Center and supported by hundreds of climate and environmental justice groups.
Some are now calling for a carbon tax as an alternative to the CEPP, including some of the country’s largest polluters, who support a carbon tax in exchange for gutting existing environmental law. All such calls must be rejected, as trading existing legal authority for a carbon tax would lock in fossil fuel infrastructure, perpetuate environmental injustice and doom climate efforts to failure.
Last week thousands of climate activists, including Indigenous leaders and community members, risked arrest or were arrested to urge the Biden administration to Build Back Fossil Free by declaring a climate emergency and acting through his executive powers.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.