President Joe Biden unveiled a new plan to combat extreme heat but stopped short of declaring a climate emergency. It comes as the president faces the disintegration of his climate agenda, and ferocious heatwaves hit large swaths of the world, including within the United States.
The new plan pushes billions of dollars to US cities and states to help cope better with extreme heat.
Biden outlined the new actions in a speech on Wednesday at a former coal plant in Massachusetts, which has now been transformed to be part of an offshore windfarm project.
“As president, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger,” Biden said about the plan.
“And that’s what climate change is about. It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger. The health of our citizens and our communities is literally at stake.”
The initiatives are aimed at helping to salvage the tattered climate agenda. This month alone has been brutal for the climate agenda. Last week, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin appeared to rule out supporting a new clean energy bill. The senator, who owns a coal company, has seemingly doomed the bill in the evenly split Senate.
Man Chin’s blow came only two weeks after the Conservative-controlled supreme court restricted the ability of the federal government to curb emissions from power plants.
Biden announced the new climate agenda Wednesday to an audience that included Democratic legislators, given the repeated failures of Congress to pass a climate package.
Biden said: “Climate change is literally an existential threat to our nation and to the world. So my message today is this: since Congress is not acting as it should – and these guys here are, but we’re not getting many Republican votes – this is an emergency. An emergency. And I will look at it that way.”
In his speech, Biden also blamed oil refineries in the Northeast for giving him and those he grew up with cancer. The mention of cancer sent Conservative Twitter into a spiral, accusing Biden of either lying or of dropping a truth bomb in the speech. The White House later clarified that Biden has had several non-melanoma skin cancers removed, but remains a “healthy” 79-year-old.
Biden’s plan includes $2.3 billion in funding to help communities prepare for heatwaves, droughts, and floods.