President Biden is still unveiling measures to combat climate change, and his newest efforts are aimed at preventing environmental crises. The President has outlined a string of executive actions that, notably, include the first “Wind Energy Areas” in the Gulf of Mexico. The 700,000 acres will allow for enough potential offshore wind power to supply over 3 million homes, according to the administration. The Secretary of the Interior, meanwhile, will further work on wind power along the mid-to-southern Atlantic Coast as well as the Florida Coast.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has unveiled $2.3 billion in funding to bolster resilience against heat waves, wildfires and similar climate change-related disasters. New guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services expands the use of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for air conditioning, community cooling centers and other resources to fight extreme heat.
As in the past, Biden characterized his efforts as useful for the economy, not just the environment. The wind power projects should create jobs, while the FEMA and Health Department initiatives could minimize the damage from natural disasters. These events disproportionately hurt minorities and underserved communities, he said, and they also put critical infrastructure at risk.
Biden has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. The White House has also devoted billions of dollars to clean energy projects, planned a national EV charging network and fought to reverse the purchase of gas-powered Postal Service vehicles.
This isn’t as extensive a response as some expected. The Washington Post reported that Biden considered declaring a climate emergency this week, though press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed he is still open to the idea. Biden is far from alone in failing to treat the warming climate with urgency, though. Congress has struggled to pass climate-related legislation given Senate opposition from Republicans and Democrat holdout Joe Manchin. These executive moves could help Biden advance elements of his climate agenda despite the legislative roadblock.