On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced that he will be implementing several executive actions that focus on combating climate change.
As reported by ABC News, while the president didn’t declare a national climate emergency, which climate activists have been calling for, he suggested that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of doing so.
“Now let me be clear, climate change is an emergency and in the coming weeks, I’m going to use the power I have as president to turn these words into formal, official government actions through the appropriate proclamations, executive orders and regulatory power that the president possesses,” Biden said. “When it comes to fighting climate change I will not take no for an answer,” he added.
According to the White House, the executive actions focus on protecting communities from extreme heat and dangerous climate impacts, lowering cooling costs, and expanding offshore wind opportunities and jobs.
These actions will protect “communities facing extreme heat with additional FY22 funding for FEMA's Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program and additional guidance to support the Department of Health and Human Services Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).” The BRIC program offers funds to communities for hazard mitigation, while the LIHEAP provides low-income Americans with financial assistance to cover their energy costs.
The release added that “the Department of the Interior is proposing the first Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico, a historic step toward expanding offshore wind opportunities to another region of the United States. These areas cover 700,000 acres and have the potential to power over three million homes.”
“As president, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger, and that's what climate change is about,” Biden said. “It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger. The health of our citizens and our communities is literally at stake.”
The executive actions come as more than 85 percent of Americans are bracing for temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit through the weekend, with millions in the south-central region of the country expected to experience readings in the triple digits, according to a CNN report. More than a hundred million people are under heat alerts in more than two dozen states from parts of the American West to New England.
The oppressive heat wave is expected to persist through the weekend in many places, and roughly 275 million Americans could potentially see high temperatures above 90 degrees over the next week. Meanwhile, more than sixty million people could see high temperatures at or above 100 degrees over the next seven days.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.