Biden forges ahead with climate change agenda as Northern Hemisphere sizzles

Biden forges ahead with climate change agenda as Northern Hemisphere sizzles
Image via Creative Commons.

The battle against climate change was dealt a major blow on June 30, when the U.S. Supreme Court’s Republican-appointed majority, in a 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA, greatly limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate power plant emissions. Regardless, the Biden Administration hasn’t given up on its climate change agenda, and President Joe Biden addressed his climate change and environmental plans on Thursday, July 21.

On July 21, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced that the 79-year-old Biden had tested positive for COVID-19. But it was a milder case, and Biden went through with the meetings he had scheduled — although the meetings were held remotely, and he communicated either via Zoom or over the phone.

One of Biden’s priorities on July 21 was announcing his plans to nominate three people for positions having to do with climate change or the environment. The people Biden has in mind are: (1) Jeff Marootian for the U.S. Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, (2) Shailen Bhatt for administrator of the U.S. Transportation Department’s Federal Highway Administration, and (3) Stephen Owens for chairman of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

READ MORE: Watch: Extreme flooding inundates Sydney, Australia as climate change rages on

The Washington Post’s Brianna Tucker reports, “We're 548 days into President Biden’s presidency, and since his inauguration, scores of environmental activists, Democrats and climate groups have called for more aggressive climate action. But despite control of Congress, Democrats haven’t been able to pass Biden’s broad climate package because of unified Republican opposition in the Senate and pushback from Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat. The most recent setback came last week when Manchin told party leaders he would not support funding for climate or clean energy programs, fearing worsened inflation.”

Biden first announced his new “climate plan” during a Wednesday, July 20 speech in Somerset, Massachusetts, and he elaborated on it the following day by announcing the people he plans to nominate.

This comes during a month when climate change activists are citing a variety of environmental disasters as proof of how severe the crisis is. July 2022 has seen everything from record flooding in Sydney, Australia to wildfires and heatwaves all over the United States as well as Europe. London reached an afternoon high of 104F, which is unheard of for the U.K. — even in July.

British journalist Melissa Harrison, in an op-ed published by the Washington Post on July 20, stressed that the heat in the U.K. was unlike anything she had ever experienced there. Harrison wrote, “When the heatwave hit, it felt shocking and stupefying — not just a few degrees hotter than we’re used to, but a whole new order of things.”

READ MORE: Paul Krugman: The US Supreme Court is promoting a climate change ‘apocalypse’

Meanwhile, in Southern Europe, parts of Spain, Greece and Italy have suffered devastating wildfires. Officials in Southern Europe, according to the BBC, have blamed the heat for more than 1000 deaths in Portugal and at least 500 deaths in Spain.

READ MORE: When will the pain of climate change become too great to ignore?

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