President Joe Biden today touted his team’s efforts to combat climate change so far, and blamed the Trump administration and congressional Republicans for stifling U.S. efforts to curb emissions.
Biden spoke at an Earth Day event in Seattle, where he signed an executive order directing the federal government to conduct a survey of the nation’s oldest trees on federal lands (Climatewire, April 22). “Achieving ambitious climate goals are gonna require nature itself to play a role,” Biden said, touting forests’ carbon-storage potential.
The president framed his commitment to environmental policies in personal terms.
He got involved in politics as a young attorney in Delaware, Biden said, because he wanted to halt planned construction of a highway that would have damaged the environment in “the most beautiful part of the state.” He also pointed to his support for climate legislation in the Senate in the mid-1980s.
His administration, Biden said, has reasserted “America’s leadership on climate after four years of an administration denying that there was a climate crisis.”
The president urged lawmakers to do more to advance his climate policy agenda. “I’m acting. We need Congress to act as well,” he said.
Two moderate Democrats — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema — attract much of the attention for their opposition to sweeping legislation that could advance Biden’s key climate priorities.
“They talk about the split in the Democratic Party,” Biden said of congressional opposition to his agenda. “There’s virtually no split in the Democratic Party. … We have virtually no Republicans.”
He added: “This is the MAGA party now,” referring to the GOP’s support for former President Donald Trump. “These guys are a different breed of cat.”