Watch CBS News

President Biden announces new climate actions in Somerset visit

President Biden in Somerset calls climate change a "clear and present danger."
President Biden in Somerset calls climate change a "clear and present danger." 02:25

SOMERSET - On Wednesday afternoon, President Biden visited Somerset and his message was clear: We are in a climate emergency.

He announced his plans to take executive actions to fight against climate change at Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset.

This comes as different parts of the U.S. are dealing with sweltering temperatures, including Boston, where a heat emergency is in place until at least Thursday.

"Our children and grandchildren are counting on us. It's not a joke," said President Biden, adding that our nation is facing a "clear and present danger" if we don't take steps to fight against climate change.

"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 depending on us," Mr. Biden told the risers full of journalists.

Last week, President Biden hit a bump in the road when he wasn't able to get Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on board with the Build Back Better Act, a broader bill that includes money to address global warming.

Today, President Biden said if Congress is not ready to act, he will.

"I said last week, and I'll say it again, loud and clear, as president, I will use my executive powers to combat the climate crisis," Mr. Biden said.

According to a statement from the White House, in the coming days, Mr. Biden's administration will announce executive actions that include:

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency announcing $2.3 billion in funding for its Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program — the largest BRIC investment in history. This funding is set to help communities increase resilience to heat waves, drought, wildfires, floods, hurricanes and other hazards by preparing before disaster strikes.
  • The President's Interior Department is proposing the first Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico, a historic step toward expanding offshore wind opportunities to another region of the United States.  
  • New guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services that, for the first time, expands how the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can promote the delivery of efficient air-conditioning equipment, community cooling centers and more.

"Right now, there are millions of people suffering from extreme heat at home. So, my team is also working with the state to deploy $385 million right now. For the first time, states will be able to use federal funds for air conditioners and set up community cooling centers," President Biden said. "When it comes to fighting climate change, I will not take no for an answer," said President Biden.

Brayton Point Power Station used to be a coal plant.

It is now the first off-shore wind manufacturing facility in the state; it will be used to make the transmission cables that will, ultimately, help bring power to the New England grid.

The actions that Biden announced on Wednesday did not include a national emergency declaration to address the climate crisis - something that has been sought by activists and Democratic lawmakers.

The president had vowed to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030, but that may now be impossible. 

Biden was accompanied by senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Rep. Bill Keating when he landed at T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island on Wednesday afternoon.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.