Volts podcast: how Biden can address climate change through executive action
Jean Su & Maya Golden-Krasner from the Center for Biological Diversity run it down.
It now seems fairly clear that no climate legislation is going to pass this Congress before the midterm elections. After the midterms, Democrats are highly unlikely to retain control of both houses, so there likely will not be any federal climate legislation in the US for many years to come. This is, obviously, to the country's immense shame.
That means Biden finds himself in the same situation that Obama ended up in: if he wants anything at all to get done on climate change during his term, he's going to have to do it himself, through executive action. He has already begun announcing some executive orders.
However, there is a case to be made that the president has the power to do much, much more. Two senior attorneys at the Center for Biological Diversity — Jean Su, director of CBD’s energy justice program, and Maya Golden-Krasner, deputy director of its Climate Law Institute — have been aggressively making that case for the past three years, laying out a broad suite of actions available to a president and accompanying them with arguments rooting those powers in statutory authority.
They've just released a new report called “The Climate President’s Emergency Powers,” which digs into what it would mean for Biden to declare a state of emergency over climate change and what sort of statutory powers that would grant him.
In this moment of utter legislative failure, I wanted to talk to Su and Golden-Krasner about the kind of things Biden is capable of doing, which actions he ought to prioritize, how he should think about the hostile Supreme Court, and the political optics of governing so aggressively and unilaterally.