Progressive environmentalists are mounting a long-shot bid to get President-elect Joe Biden to go beyond naming a climate czar and declare an environmental national emergency, borrowing a tactic employed by President Donald Trump to fund part of his border wall.
Invoking a climate emergency could give Biden the authority to circumvent Congress and fund clean energy projects, shut down crude oil exports, suspend offshore drilling and curtail the movement of fossil fuels on pipelines, trains, and ships, according to a research note by consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners.
“The president’s powers to address climate change through an emergency are very, very large,” said Kassie Siegel, an attorney with the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, which is lobbying Biden’s team to act. “This is No. 1 on the list of things the Biden administration should do.”
In a statement, Biden’s transition team didn’t explicitly address the question of a climate emergency, saying only that he plans to follow through on his policy platform to fight the climate crisis while creating millions of jobs. Biden’s climate platform includes no mention of declaring a climate emergency.