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Activists gather for the fifth day of the "People vs. Fossil Fuels" protests in Washington, D.C. on October 15, 2021.

Activists gather for "People vs. Fossil Fuels" protests in Washington, D.C. on October 15, 2021. (Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Green Groups Praise Progressive Dems' Call for Climate Emergency Declaration

The Congressional Progressive Caucus "is absolutely right that President Biden should declare it so we can build the energy security that only renewable energy can bring," said one climate advocate.

Jake Johnson

Grassroots climate advocates praised the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Thursday for pushing President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to declare a national climate emergency, a move that would unlock an array of specific tools needed to combat planetary warming.

"There's no question that we're in a climate emergency," Jean Su, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's (CBD) energy justice program, said in a statement. "The caucus is absolutely right that President Biden should declare it so we can build the energy security that only renewable energy can bring."

"Our collective futures depend on bold climate action now."

Last month, CBD issued a report outlining the policies Biden would be able to enact after formally declaring a climate emergency, including a ban on crude oil exports, a suspension of all offshore oil and gas drilling leases in federal waters, and an acceleration of the renewable energy transition.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) expressed support for such steps Thursday by releasing a slate of 55 specific executive actions that Biden can take, a list that includes five climate-related orders that Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)—the CPC chair—characterized as "incredibly urgent."

In addition to the CPC's call for a climate emergency declaration, the nearly 100-member caucus calls on Biden to implement a ban on new fossil fuel leases on federal lands and waters, end domestic and international federal fossil fuel subsidies, and mobilize "domestic industry to manufacture affordable renewable energy technologies with good-paying union jobs."

Ashley McCray, Green New Deal Network organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said Thursday that "we stand alongside the CPC to demand Biden use his executive powers to declare a climate emergency and ban drilling on federal lands and waters."

"Our collective futures depend on bold climate action now," McCray added.

According to survey data released Thursday by Data for Progress and the youth-led Sunrise Movement, 63% of likely U.S. voters—including 85% of Democrats, 57% of Independents, and 27% of Republicans—would support Biden using his executive authority to declare a national climate emergency.

The poll also found that 68% of voters between the ages of 18 and 25 would support such a declaration.

"The Biden administration talks big about confronting the climate crisis, pandemic, and economic crisis, but has expanded fossil fuel extraction in the U.S. and failed to deliver on critical climate and social investments in his first year," Adrien Salazar, policy director at the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, said in a statement.

"President Biden still has a chance to mobilize a historic response to meet the scale of today's overlapping crises," Salazar added. "He must use the executive powers at his disposal to declare a climate emergency, ban fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and waters, and deliver on all the promises he has made to stand up for Black, Indigenous, communities of color, and working-class people."

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