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  • Writer's pictureAva Babington

Why Has Biden Not Declared a Climate Emergency?

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

The wildfire tragedy in Maui that killed at least 100 people and destroyed Lahaina, along with a hurricane hitting southern California this past month, has led to the White House facing calls to declare a national emergency over climate change. This is not the first time the Biden Administration has been pressured by the progressives and climate activists to tackle the climate issue head on.

In 2020, the UN secretary general urged all nations to declare climate emergencies, and recently, the UN chief stated the “Era of global boiling has arrived." Scientists have confirmed that July 2023 has become Earth’s hottest month on record. It is extremely clear that global warming and climate change is a massive issue for humanity, so citizens are confused as to why the White House has not officially declared a national emergency.

In an interview with The Weather Channel, President Biden has said they have conserved more land, rejoined the Paris Climate Accords, signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, and have passed a $368 billion climate control facility. The Senate has also passed bill H.R.598 in 2023 that "addresses climate change by establishing requirements concerning renewable energy, zero emission vehicles, regenerative agriculture, and tax incentives to climate transition costs."

Many believe that is not enough, which I agree with, but the solution is not simply black-and-white. There are several moving parts that affect the White House’s decision on how to respond to this crisis, and as citizens of this country, we should be aware of them.

The 2024 Presidential Election is getting closer, and Biden has made it clear he is running for reelection. However, his approval rating is about 40%. This country is facing extremely high gas prices and increasing inflation, which many blame Biden for.

Declaring a climate emergency could put a ban on the exportation of fossil fuels, limitations on financing for fossil fuel projects, and suspend offshore oil leases. This would drastically increase gas prices since it would be much more difficult to get gas, which citizens in this country would complain about, leading to his approval rating dropping more.

Europe has been facing an energy crisis since the Russia and Ukraine war started, so the U.S has been trying to support them. If we had extreme limitations on gas and oil in the U.S, then the U.S government would not be able to supply them for Ukraine, which could create tensions within country relations.

With that being said, the White House must believe officially declaring a climate emergency would not benefit this country economically or politically.

Declaring an emergency would cause people to come up with fast decisions on how to tackle climate change. However, we need permanent solutions that will still be working long-term. Climate change is not a small issue that can be resolved overnight.

Instead of pressuring and attacking the Biden Administration, climate activists should be focused on Congress. They are the lawmakers in this country, and they have the ability to create bills or acts that will help us, and future generations not face the dangerous effects of climate change. The power is in their hands, not the president.

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