Campaigners with the Sunrise Movement

Campaigners with the Sunrise Movement assembled at the headquarters of President Joe Biden's 2024 campaign in Wilmington, Delaware on February 12, 2024.

(Photo: Sunrise Movement)

'The Pressure Is Working': Biden Weighs Climate Emergency Declaration

Campaigners urged the president to "keep listening to the millions of young, people of color, and working-class voters who are demanding climate policy that meets the moment."

The youth-led Sunrise Movement on Thursday celebrated Bloomberg reporting that "White House officials have renewed discussions about potentially declaring a national climate emergency."

The Wednesday revelation came just two days after six young activists were arrested outside Vice President Kamala Harris' Los Angeles, California home to increase pressure on the Biden administration to make such a declaration, which would unlock various federal powers to combat the fossil fuel-driven global crisis.

According to Bloomberg:

Top advisers to President Joe Biden have recently resumed talks about the merits of such a move, which could be used to curtail crude exports, suspend offshore drilling, and curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because a final decision has not been made.

White House advisers are divided over the idea of declaring a climate emergency, with some saying it wouldn't provide Biden with enough newfound authority to make substantial changes, the people said. Others, however, argue such an announcement would galvanize climate-minded voters.

"The pressure is working. Let's keep it up," Sunrise said on social media, highlighting some of what Biden—who claimed last year that "practically speaking," he had already declared a national climate emergency—could do with a real declaration.

Sunrise wasn't alone in welcoming the news. The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) Action said that "we've BEEN calling for a climate emergency!! Now, the White House is considering declaring one."

The group urged Biden to "keep listening to the millions of young, people of color, and working-class voters who are demanding climate policy that meets the moment."

As Biden and Harris have campaigned for reelection in November—when they are expected to face former Republican President Donald Trump, whose plan for the planet is "drill, baby, drill"—the Democrats have encountered intense pressure from campaigners including members of CPD and Sunrise to step up their climate actions.

"I'm on the frontlines raising my voice for my Black and Latine families and friends, because I know that we deserve to have affordable housing and healthcare, we deserve an administration who will fight for us, but instead of declaring a climate emergency, we are seeing Biden and Harris expand oil and gas production to record levels," 18-year-old Ariela Lara, who was arrested at Harris' house, said Monday.

Climate campaigners have praised the Biden administration for parts of the Inflation Reduction Act and a recent pause on liquefied natural gas exports but blasted the president for skipping last year's United Nations summit, continuing fossil fuel lease sales, and enabling the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Willow oil project, and construction of the nation's largest offshore oil terminal.

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