President Biden declared on Wednesday the threat of climate change had reached “code red for humanity,” demanding an all-encompassing response from the White House.
Biden, fresh off seeing his climate agenda rejected in Congress, pledged to utilize the full powers of the executive branch to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% by 2030.
“This is an emergency and I will look at it that way,” the president said during a speech in Massachusetts. “I’ll use my executive powers to combat the climate crisis in the absence of congressional action.”
Biden said the White House was planning a series of executive actions in the coming weeks to address climate change. While the president did not elaborate directly on how expansive those actions would be, Biden touted several actions the administration is taking.
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One of those was a new $2.3 billion grant program announced Wednesday for state and local communities to build climate-resilient infrastructure. White House officials were also removing prohibitions blocking states from using federal money to set up community cooling centers to stave of extreme heat.
“It is literally – not figuratively – a clear and present danger,” the president said when discussing climate change. “The health of our citizens and our communities is literally at stake.”
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During the speech, Biden made a number of gaffes. He mispronounced the name of Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass., and then asked, “Where is she?” In addition, he mentioned “Glasgow, England,” misstating the country, Scotland, where the city is actually located. And also said, “that’s why I and so damn many other people I grew up with have cancer.”
A White House official told Fox News that Biden was referring to past removal of skin cancer in his remarks. Biden mistakenly stated (present tense) that he has cancer.
Biden also praised the advance of clean energy technology, while pledging to continue to support it with federal investment. The president warned, however, that such action would be tied to companies using union labor or providing their employees with competitive pay and benefits.
“We’re going to build a different future,” he said. “One with green energy and good paying jobs.”
The speech came after negotiations stalled once again in Congress on including green energy subsidies in a party-line spending bill. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., recently urged his party to delay including tax and climate change provisions within the package until there was a clear picture of the national economy.
Without Manchin’s support, the tax is unlikely to become law. That is because Democrats can only pass the legislation within the 50-50 Senate via a party-line process known as budget reconciliation.
The setback has left Democrats demanding Biden utilize the full powers of the presidency to address climate change unilaterally.
“We have a president who campaigned on climate, who has been chained to the legislative process, thinking about his past as a senator,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. “Now he’s unchained, and he has to go.
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.