Advocates for bold climate action welcomed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s remarks late Monday calling for President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency.
“That’s huge!” tweeted Dallas Goldtooth, the Keep It In The Ground campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. It “would allow the president to take significant steps to confront climate chaos.”
The New York Democrat’s comment came Monday evening in an interview with MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow.
“I think it might be a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency,” said Schumer. “Then he can do many, many things under the emergency powers of the president that he could do… without legislation.”
“Now, Trump used this emergency for a stupid wall, which wasn’t an emergency. But if ever there was an emergency, climate is one,” Schumer said.
WATCH: Senate Majority Leader Schumer calls on President Biden to “explore” using emergency powers to declare climate an emergency.
“If there ever was an emergency, climate is one” pic.twitter.com/Zpnd03kPVD— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 26, 2021
Schumer reiterated the suggestion in a Monday night tweet, stating unequivocally that “Biden should declare a national emergency on the climate crisis.”
Interesting comments by @SenSchumer on Rachel @Maddow show tonight: a) Democrats could pass climate legislation through reconciliation (simple majority) and b) @JoeBiden could declare climate an “emergency” which grants him greater latitude in executive actions on climate.— Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) January 26, 2021
Author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben suggested the Biden’s demand was evidence of the climate movement’s impact.
“When we shift the zeitgeist, we shift what’s politically possible, and what’s politically necessary. Keep it up, everybody!” McKibben tweeted Tuesday.
That take was mirrored by youth climate leader and Earth Uprising International founder Alexandria Villaseñor, who said the remark was a sign Schumer was “keeping the promise he made to me and our entire generation.”
The comment is “incredible” and a sign of a “tectonic shift,” said Sunrise Movement co-founder and political director Evan Weber, who, like environmental policy expert Dr. Leah Stokes, welcomed Schumer saying that his legislative policy priorities are climate, racial and economic inequality, and democracy reform.
A coalition of climate groups including the Center for Biological Diversity has already drafted an executive order for Biden to be a “climate president,” with action including the declaration of a climate emergency.
Under a #ClimateEmergency declaration, @Potus as #ClimatePresident could:
Re-instate the crude oil exports ban for good
Redirect funding to build out clean, distributed, and democratic energy systems
Use the Defense Production Act to ignite a fullscale clean energy economy— Jean Su (@ajeansu) January 26, 2021
Recent polling indicates a majority of the U.S. public would back that action.
A Yale Program on Climate Change Communication survey from December found that 56% of voters would support a president “declaring a national emergency to act on global warming,” with 84% of Democratic voters backing such an action.
That support is also clear from Green New Deal champion Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who tweeted Tuesday, “We’ve got to recognize the climate crisis for what it is: an existential threat to life on Earth.”
“I’m glad Sen. Schumer agrees that we must meet this emergency with a bold vision, transform our economy, and fight for justice in every step we take,” Markey said.
But not all Democratic lawmakers are on board.
Sunrise’s Weber, in his tweet, pointed to the need for Schumer to have a plan to not only “bypass GOP obstruction” in advancing climate and other priorities but also tackle pushback from Democratic senators like Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, whose opposition to eliminating the legislative filibuster enraged progressive Democrats.
“As Senate majority leader, he’ll be judged by his results, not just his positions,” Weber added.
LETTER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN, CLIMATE EMERGENCY EXECUTIVE ORDER by Centre for Biological Diversity, December 16, 2020
Dear President-elect Biden,
Congratulations on winning the Presidential election and thank you for your slate of promised executive actions to address the climate crisis, including phasing out fossil fuel production and use, protecting workers and communities, and building back better to a fossil fuel free, clean, renewable energy economy.
Toward that end, the undersigned organizations, on behalf of our 380 organizations representing millions of members and supporters, urge you to issue the following Executive Order to avert the climate emergency by using existing federal laws to initiate a managed phaseout of fossil fuel production and invest in a just, clean, distributed, and democratic energy system that works for all:
Sec. 1. Declaration of a National Climate Emergency. I, JOSEPH BIDEN, President of the United States of America, find that the climate crisis, caused primarily by fossil fuels, poses an existential threat to every aspect of society. Warming temperatures are already causing more destructive wildfires, stronger hurricanes, worsening droughts, floods, and coastal erosion from rising seas. From the spread of disease, to destabilizing food and water security and the unraveling of natural ecosystems, the climate crisis already is killing people across the nation and is costing the U.S. economy billions in damages every year. The harms from fossil fuel extraction and climate disruption are not felt equally, but instead fall first and worst on Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other Communities of Color, as well as low-wealth and other frontline communities. The overwhelming scientific consensus has definitively concluded that without deep and rapid emissions reductions, warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius and will result in catastrophic damage around the world. Every fraction of additional warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius will worsen these harms, threatening lives, health and safety, livelihoods, the environment, economy, and national security for this and future generations.
Global emissions must be reduced by half over the next decade to limit warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Accordingly, it is in the national interest for the United States, based on our cumulative emissions and respective capabilities, to lead the way by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 70 percent by 2030 and to near zero by 2040. We must transform our extractive economy to aregenerative and inclusive one, in a manner that dismantles systemic racism and advances environmental, racial, and economic justice.
Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., I hereby declare that climate change is a national emergency, and that sections 42 U.S.C. § 6212a(d)(1)(A), 10 U.S.C. §2808, and 50 U.S.C. §§ 4531 are hereby invoked and made available for the relevant actions below.
Sec. 4.Protecting Air, Water, Wildlife and Climate from Fracking. I direct the Interior Secretary to place an immediate moratorium on fracking on public lands and waters and initiate an environmental review of the climate, air and water pollution, wildlife habitat destruction, human health and other harms caused by fracking. At the conclusion of the review the Secretary shall initiate a rulemaking to ensure protection from the environmental impacts identified. Such rule shall permanently ban fracking,unless it is demonstrated that any fracking would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and cutting greenhouse emissions by 70 percent by 2030 and to near zero by 2040, and that the other risks of and damage from fracking have been eliminated.
Sec 7. Shifting financial flows from fossil fuels to climate solutions. The climate emergency not only poses an existential threat to our planet, but also to our economy. Science and justice demand investments in climate solutions instead of dirty fossil fuels.
I hereby direct the Secretary of the Treasury, in their capacity as the chair of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to carry out their mandate to preserve financial stability by managing climate risks to large financial institutions including bank holding companies, insurance companies, and asset managers. This should include mitigating both those companies’ vulnerability to climate risk, and their contributions to systemic climate risk via their support for fossil fuels and deforestation. Such measures should include stress testing for climate risks, capital and margin requirements that incorporate climate risk, and portfolio limits linked to climate change. I hereby direct the Department of Energy to end all loan and guarantee financing programs for fossil fuels and abolish the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.
I direct the State Department, U.S. Treasury, U.S. Export-Import Bank, and U.S. Development Finance Corporation, and US AID to prohibit any U.S. government finance to fossil fuel projects and related infrastructure overseas and finance only clean energy infrastructure and climate mitigation and adaptation measures.
I direct all federal agencies to ensure that polluters who enter into settlements in connection with corporate wrongdoing are not able to deduct the payments from their taxes, thereby stopping the shift of a significant portion of the burden onto taxpayers.
Sec. 9. Advancing Climate Justice. Promoting a truly just society must be at the center of all climate policy. I further direct federal agencies to take the following specific actions to assess and mitigate environmental harms to disproportionately impacted Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other Communities of Color, as well as low-wealth and other frontline communities:
Pursuant to Executive Order 12898, I hereby direct all federal agencies (i) to pro-actively “mitigate,” instead of only “identify and address,” disproportionate health and environmental impacts of their programs on Black, Brown, Indigenous and other communities of color, as well as, low-wealth and other frontline communities; and (ii) to use geographic, socioeconomic, and environmental hazard metrics when identifying environmental justice communities, similar to the robust criteria developed in New York state legislation on climate justice.
I direct the Departments of Treasury and Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to commence a study for mitigation and payment of damages to those deliberately and disproportionately exposed to and harmed by fossil fuel pollution and toxins. I direct the Department of Justice to institute rules to protect the rights of individuals protesting climate and environmental harms, including from extreme prosecution and disproportionate sentencing for such persons.
I direct the Departments of Justice and Interior to investigate and, as appropriate, seek damages and restoration from fossil fuel industry actors found responsible for damages to public lands and waters, including the Gulf of Mexico.
Finally, addressing climate justice in the United States means necessarily addressing the climate-induced migration and displacement which is both affecting populations newly migrating into the country, as well as those within it. I hereby direct all federal agencies to pro-actively identify and implement new policies that respond to and absorb the growing number of climate-displaced persons who are impacted by extreme weather events and other climate impacts. The new policies must preserve the human rights, health, safety, and dignity of all persons affected by climate-induced migration and displacement.
Sec. 10. Holding Polluters Accountable. For decades, fossil fuel, utility, and other companies have understood the dangers associated with their products and manufactured elaborate disinformation campaigns to deceive the public about climate science and the harms caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, I hereby direct the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute all such violations to the maximum extent of the law, including by supporting the nuisance and fraud suits brought by states and local governments. The Attorney General shall also investigate and prosecute antitrust violations by utilities with respect to competing clean energy sources. The Attorney General shall fully account for the government’s full range of criminal, civil, regulatory and administrative remedies in taking the above actions.
Refer also to:
BC Tap Water Alliance Press Release: Attribution Science Proves Now is the Time for Canadians to Step Up and Sue the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Alberta Energy Regulator for Cumulative Fraud
Lawsuits in USA testing “attribution science.” Researchers can link weather events to emissions and companies responsible. “This body of literature…tells us that dangerous climate change is upon us, and people are suffering and dying…and it’s going to get worse.” For any potential uncertainty about climate attribution, there’s at least one truth that should override the rest: Fossil fuel companies “were aware decades ago what trouble climate change would be.”
A decade of science on frac harms – Compendium 7 released: “The data continue to reveal a plethora of recurring problems that cannot be sufficiently averted through regulatory frameworks” while regulators in Canada continue to DEregulate to enable the endless **known** harms. Canadian frac-harmed Vicky Simlik: “Because there is no such thing as a kind & gentle frac’ it needs to be banned period.”
“The stakes are formidable.” California communities’ climate lawsuits, key hearing this Wed, allege fossil fuel companies actively worked to discredit climate science and block limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Kids tried to sue Canada over climate inaction. They lost, Not for the courts to decide, Harper Gov’t appointed judge says. Kids plan to appeal. Bravo kids! I am grateful and in awe of you, but don’t expect “justice” to be served by our oil-soaked Supreme Court of Canada, or your Charter rights respected.
Another new study unravels oil & gas industry lies: Levels of fossil methane naturally released are about 10 times lower than previously reported while man-made are 25-40% higher! Benjamin Hmiel: “We’ve identified a gigantic discrepancy.”
Rhode Island vs 21 Oil & Gas Companies: Judge William Smith characterized operations “leading to all kinds of displacement, death (extinctions, even), and destruction….Defendants understood the consequences of their activity decades ago…. But instead of sounding the alarm, Defendants went out of their way to becloud the emerging scientific consensus and further delay changes – however existentially necessary – that would in any way interfere with their multi-billion-dollar profits.”
Judicial Tragedy: U.S. District Judge William Alsup wanted to “stick to the science” and avoid politics, presided over standing room only tutorial on climate change, but let big oil off using politics. Science is on humanity’s side, the law is not.
Encana named in 3 lawsuits by 2 California counties and 1 city claiming damages, that Encana and other companies deliberately presented misinformation about climate change and hindered action to address it
A Duty to Protect. “It is also not at all certain, that stricter climate policies will seriously harm our competitive position, or lead to companies leaving…supposed dangers that the State put forward in its defense. But even if this were the case these grounds are insufficient to assume that the Netherlands is not neglecting its duty of care.”