Arizona Sustainability Leaders React to President Biden’s Executive Orders Combatting Climate Change

Faced with the prospects of not achieving major climate legislation in this session of Congress, President Joe Biden has resorted to issuing executive orders to help stem the tide of climate change.

Delivering remarks (before he was diagnosed with COVID 19) at the Brayton Point Power Station in
Somerset, Massachusetts on July 20, 2022, the President, accompanied by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey along with White House advisors Gina McCarthy and John Kerry, outlined the goals he hoped to achieve in his Executive Orders including helping people withstand the record high summer temperatures and expanding wind turbine energy options.

In his speech, Mr. Biden said:

“Climate change is literally an existential threat to our nation and to the world. So my message today is this: Since Congress is not acting as it should — and these guys here are, but we’re not getting many Republican votes — this is an emergency. An emergency. And I will — I will look at it that way. I said last week and I’ll say it again loud and clear: As President, I’ll use my executive powers to combat climate — the climate crisis in the absence of congressional actions, notwithstanding their incredible action.

But just take a look around: Right now, 100 million Americans are under heat alert — 100 million Americans. Ninety communities across America set records for high temperatures just this year, including here in New England as we speak. And, by the way, records have been set in the Arctic and the Antarctic, with temperatures that are just unbelievable, melting the permafrost. And it’s astounding the damage that’s being done. And this crisis impacts every aspect of our everyday life. That’s why today I’m making the largest investment ever — $2.3 billion — to help communities across the country build infrastructure that is designed to withstand the full range of disasters we’ve been seeing up to today -– extreme heat, drought, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes. Right now, there are millions of people suffering from extreme heat at home. So my team is also working with the states to deploy $385 million right now. For the first time, states will be able to use federal funds to pay for air conditioners in homes and set up community cooling centers in schools where people can get through these extreme heat crises.  And I mean people — and crises that are 100 to 117 degrees.”

The President then reminded the American People about several of the provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, like cleaning poisonous mines and wells, converting coal communities to alternative clean energy technology ones, and investments in nuclear, wind turbine, and carbon capture technologies, that are designed to combat climate change and chart a course to a clean energy-sustainable future.

Mr. Biden then attacked the universal opposition of Republicans in Congress for not wanting to do more to combat climate change.

In his closing remarks, he stated:

“So, let me be clear: Climate change is an emergency. And in the coming weeks, I’m going to use the power I have as President to turn these words into formal, official government actions through the appropriate proclamations, executive orders, and regulatory power that a President possesses. And when it comes to fighting the climate change — climate change, I will not take no for an answer. I will do everything in my power to clean our air and water, protect our people’s health, to win the clean energy future. This, again, sounds like hyperbole, but our children and grandchildren are counting on us. Not a joke. Not a joke. If we don’t keep it below 1.5 degrees Centigrade, we lose it all. We don’t get to turn it around. And the world is counting on us. And this is the United States of America. When we put our hearts and minds to it, there’s not a single thing beyond our capacity — I mean it — when we act together. And of all things we should be acting together on, it’s climate. It’s climate. And, by the way, my dear mother — God rest her soul — used to say, “Joey, out of everything bad, something good will come if you look hard enough.” Look what’s happening. We’re going to be able to create as many or more good-paying jobs. We’re going to make environments where people live safer. We’re going to make the clean — the air safer. I really mean it. We have an opportunity here…”

Arizona Leaders in Sustainability React to President Biden’s Executive Orders Combatting Climate Change.

Arizona leaders in sustainability and pursuing clean energy sources Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, and Corporation Commissioner Candidate Lauren Kuby all offered their reactions to the President’s Executive Orders.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego commented:

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego

“I’m heartened to see the support for climate action and the urgency in responding to serious challenges impacting America’s families battling heat emergencies. It’s more important than ever that we accelerate the transition toward a sustainable clean energy economy. Solutions require both mitigation and adaptation strategies. I am focused on diversifying the economy with green jobs of the future, strengthening infrastructure investment, and working to make Phoenix a leader in sustainability.”

 

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero posted:

Corporation Commissioner Candidate and former Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby offered:

Corporation Commission Candidate and former Tempe Vice-Mayor Lauren Kuby

“POTUS must confront Republican denial, delay, and disinformation and straight-out declare a climate emergency. In Arizona, wildfires, extreme heat, poor air quality, and a historic drought threaten public health and our economy. Arizona is poised to lead and be the Solar Capital of the US, but we need federal action.”

 

 

 

While the billions the President will distribute through his Executive Orders will be helpful, it is nowhere near the amount that he wanted Congress to pass.

As Mayor Gallego, Mayor Romero, and former Vice-Mayor Kuby stated in their comments: the time to act is now and Republicans (and a few conservative Democrats) in Congress need to treat climate change with the urgency that it is.

There is no Planet B.