Biden urges climate action: ‘We don’t have more than 10 years’

ARVADA, Colo. President Biden warned Tuesday that the United States has only a decade left to confront the global climate crisis, using his second day to tour the wildfire-ravaged West of the public and congressional Democrats. To try to support the measures. that his administration hopes will reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

Mr. Biden’s stay in Colorado this week; Boise, Idaho; and in the Long Beach and Sacramento area in California focus on the horrific destruction Forest fires and other natural calamities which are further aggravated by climate change. It was one last opportunity to sell the importance of the measures aimed at the tour. mitigating climate change, some of which appear increasingly at risk in his spending package.

“Drought or fire does not see an asset line,” Mr Biden said during remarks at a federal renewable energy laboratory. He said, ‘It doesn’t matter which party you belong to. Disasters are not taking the name of stopping. That is the nature of the climate threat. But we know what we have to do. We just need to summon courage and creativity to do it. “

Underlining the urgency, Mr Biden said: “We don’t have more than 10 years to go.”

Democratic leaders drafting the $3.5 trillion spending bill are struggling to match the urgency of Biden’s arguments with pushback from energy lobbyists and some prominent Democrats, which is more than what Biden has on his mind. Want less expansive effort.

On Monday, during a visit to the California Emergency Services office in the Sacramento area, Mr Biden appeared to recognize this. Before he learned about the damage caused by wildfires, he reminded dozens of emergency workers in the conference room that he had not been able to lump all of his proposed investments to combat climate change into one. bipartisan agreement That he arrived at the infrastructure this summer. He said he was focused on getting them included in a more comprehensive $3.5 trillion package, but acknowledged it could fall short of his ambitions.

“Whether it passes, exactly how much, I don’t know. But we’re going to get it passed,” Mr. Biden said.

Tax writers in the House have already made a concession of sorts on the climate. A bill released earlier this week waives any taxes on carbon emissions, even though such revenue could help pay for the huge package, which plans to pass along Democrat party lines and without Republican support. are making. Many Senate Democrats have pushed for the inclusion of either a direct tax on emissions or an indirect tax like tariffs on goods imported from high-emissions countries like China. But the party is not a coalition, and given the low majority in the House and Senate, such a plan may have trouble securing the required 50 votes in the Senate.

Centrist concerns over the size and scope of some proposed tax increases may force party leaders to withdraw incentives for low-carbon energy deployment in the plan. So can influential Democrats who have opposed the party’s past climate legislation, such as Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.

Manchin, a coal-state libertarian, is the chairman of the committee charged with drafting the Senate version of the biggest ever effort to reduce emissions in the bill: pushing electric utilities to draw more electricity from low-carbon A carrot-and-stick approach to the source in the coming decade.

“Transitions are happening,” Manchin said Sunday, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Now they want to pay companies to do what they’re already doing. It doesn’t make sense to me to take billions of dollars for us and pay utilities for what they’re going to do as markets change. Not there. “

He declined to comment further on Tuesday, telling reporters that he prefers to hold talks in private. Senate Democrats used a weekly caucus lunch to provide an update on efforts to piece together pieces of legislation during the annual summer break, though it was unclear how quickly they would resolve differences within and between the two chambers. Will solve it

Mr Biden used his western swing to highlight what his aides hope will lead to a call for climate action for those who have not committed to a more aggressive plan. During the visit, Mr Biden heard from emergency officials and governors – including those at odds with the administration over the pandemic and other issues – about the urgent need to address natural disasters. Mr Biden told emergency workers in California that he had recently spoken with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, about the emergency response.

“Some of my more conservative –” Mr. Biden said before pausing and starting again, “some of my less-believing friends are suddenly calling an altar in this notion of global warming.”

“They are looking at the Lord,” Biden said.

When Mr Biden later received his fire briefing from officials in the emergency services office, he could be heard telling a woman presenting a map of the wildfires, “That’s why this is so important. “

On Tuesday, Mr Biden watched a wind turbine demonstration at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Flatiron campus in Arvada, Colo., then described damage from storms and wildfires seen in trips across the United States this month. He called for tax credits to accelerate the deployment of solar power and electric vehicles and the creation of a civil climate corps to conserve public lands and help them become more resilient to climate change.

Mr Biden’s economic team has not clarified whether the president will adopt an emissions tax as part of the package. He declined to agree to a Republican proposal to raise the federal gasoline tax to help pay for infrastructure, citing his pledge not to raise income taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000. But his administration has not objected to a tax increase on cigarettes, which the House had included in its tax plan and which would disproportionately affect low-income earners.

Administration officials also did not say how far a final agreement on emissions reductions must go for Mr Biden to accept it. Asked by a reporter in Arvada whether he would sign a $3.5 trillion spending package to include slimmed-down measures to address climate change, Mr Biden pumped his fist. “I am ready for more climate measures,” he said.

The principal deputy press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, told reporters on Air Force One that Mr Biden was firmly committed to the climate components of the bill. But, she added, “the Biden climate agenda does not hinge only on a reconciliation or an infrastructure package.”

“We’re looking at every sector of the economy for opportunities to develop clean-energy jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” she said, “especially in the critical — in this pivotal decade.”

Emily Cochran Contributed reporting.

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