President Joe Biden: Climate change is code red for humanity

U.S. President Joe Biden waves as he departs the White House en route to Somerset, Massachusetts to deliver remarks on a clean energy future on Wednesday. Biden said "climate change is code red for humanity.". Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
1 of 4 | U.S. President Joe Biden waves as he departs the White House en route to Somerset, Massachusetts to deliver remarks on a clean energy future on Wednesday. Biden said "climate change is code red for humanity.". Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

July 20 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden Wednesday used a stop at the former Brayton coal power plant in Somerset, Mass., to call climate change "a clear and present danger" as he touted clean energy projects.

Biden said that in coming days he will announce executive actions to combat the climate emergency.


"Climate change is literally an existential threat to the nation and the world," Biden said. "When it comes to fighting climate change I will not take no for an answer. I will do everything in my power to win a clean energy future."

The president delivered his remarks at the former Brayton coal fired energy plant in Somerset, which is being turned into a factory to make under-sea cables for wind turbines at sea.

Biden said climate change is an emergency and "in the coming weeks I'm going to use my power as president to address it."


Biden said extreme climate-change related events caused $145 billion in damages in the United States last year alone, adding that it caused 5 million acres to burn. He noted, additionally, that extreme weather has already caused billions of dollars in damage to military installations in the United States.

Since Congress is not acting on the climate change emergency, Biden said he will soon sign executive actions to address the climate emergency.

According to the White House, they will include $2.3 billion in infrastructure funding to help communities increase resilience to heat waves, drought, wildfires, flood, hurricanes, and other hazards by preparing before disaster strikes. The money is coming from FEMA's Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program.

Biden said his administration is moving to consider offshore wind power in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas and off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Biden will also direct the Secretary of the Interior to advance wind energy development in the waters off the mid- and southern Atlantic Coast and Florida's Gulf Coast.

The Labor Department will also move to help protect millions of workers from heat illness and energy through increased inspections focused on 70 high-risk industries across 43 states, he said.


"We're going to build a different future, one with clean energy and green jobs," Biden said. "When I think about climate change I think jobs."

Biden traveled to the defunct power plant to announce the actions, which follow a legislative defeat in Congress in which Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., opposed a proposed suite of new environmental measures and programs.

The actions do not appear to include any emergency declarations as extreme heat grips various parts of the world.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier in the day, however, that option is "still on the table."

"This is an issue that has been front of mind for him. This is an issue that's been ... a priority," she said.

Biden's moves toward new climate actions come after days of record-setting heat in Britain and other parts of Europe, including France, Spain and the Netherlands. The mercury in London on Tuesday surpassed 104 degrees Fahrenheit -- an all-time record.

A man leaps into the water in Whitstable, Kent, in Britain on Tuesday -- the same day the country set a new all-time heat record of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say the extreme heat is a reflection of climate change. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI

Wednesday will bring some relief, however. The forecast for London shows a high of about 80 degrees.

Many European nations have been hit by devastating wildfires across large swaths of Spain, Portugal and France, where thousands of residents were forced to evacuate this week when temperatures neared 110 degrees.

Nearly a dozen fires burned across London and the heat warped the runway at London's Luton airport on Monday, forcing it to close for several hours.

At least 1,100 people have died from the heat in southern Europe and the wave is also being blamed for hundreds of deaths on the Iberian peninsula.

In the United States, record high temperatures have been broken in areas this week from California to the Mississippi River Valley and throughout the South and Northeast.

In Texas, where temperatures topped 100 degrees on Tuesday, the statewide power-grid run by Electric Reliability Council of Texas was handling the heat with no widespread blackouts.

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