ARVADA, Colorado – President Biden warned Tuesday that the United States only had a decade to face a global climate crisis, and used his second day to travel through a wildfire-ravaged west to try and meet the public to enlist Democrats in Congress in support of measures his government hopes to reduce fossil fuel burning.
Mr. Biden stops in Colorado this week; Boise, Idaho; and Long Beach and the Sacramento, California area provided more than one opportunity to raise awareness of the severe damage caused by forest fires and other natural disasters exacerbated by climate change. The visits were one last opportunity to sell the importance of climate change mitigation measures, some of which appear increasingly at risk in its spending packages.
“In a drought or fire, there is no property line,” Biden said while speaking at a state renewable energy laboratory. “It doesn’t matter which party you belong to. Disasters won’t stop. That is in the nature of the climate threat. But we know what to do. We just have to have the courage and the creativity to do it. “
To underline the urgency, Mr. Biden added, “We don’t have much more than 10 years.”
Democratic leaders preparing a $ 3.5 trillion spending bill are struggling to meet the urgency of Mr. Biden’s requests with setbacks from energy lobbyists and some key Democrats who want far less expansive efforts than Mr. Biden im Makes sense.
On Monday, Mr Biden appeared to have realized this during a visit to the California Emergency Services Bureau in the Sacramento area. Before receiving a briefing on the forest fire damage, he reminded dozen rescue workers in the conference room that he could not include all of his planned investments to combat climate change in a bipartisan infrastructure agreement he reached that summer. He said he focused on adding them to the larger $ 3.5 trillion package, but admitted that this might not live up to his ambitions.
“Whether that works or not, exactly how much, I don’t know. But we’ll let it happen, ”said Mr Biden.
Tax writers in the house have already made some kind of concession about the climate. A bill released earlier this week does not include a tax on carbon emissions, though such revenue could help pay for the huge package that the Democrats plan to pass along the party lines and without Republican support. Many Senate Democrats have pushed for either a direct emissions tax or an indirect tax, such as B. a duty on goods that are imported from high-emission countries such as China. But the party is not in line, and given the tight majorities in the House and Senate, such a plan would likely struggle to get the 50 votes it needs in the Senate.
Centralist concerns about the magnitude and magnitude of some of the proposed tax increases could force party leaders to reduce incentives for using low-carbon energy in the plan. Influential Democrats who have resisted the party’s previous climate legislation, such as Senator Joe Manchin III. from West Virginia.
Mr Manchin, a temperate coal nation, chairs the committee charged with drafting the Senate version of the largest single emission reduction effort in the bill: a carrot-and-stick approach to getting electricity utilities to get more electricity from low-carbon Sources to Obtain Sources in the Coming Decade.
“The transition is taking place,” said Mr Manchin on Sunday in CNN’s State of the Union. “Now they want to pay companies to do what they are already doing. It doesn’t make any sense to me that we’re taking billions of dollars and paying utilities for what they’re going to do as the market changes. “
He declined to comment on Tuesday, telling reporters he preferred to negotiate privately. Senate Democrats used a weekly caucus lunch to provide an update on efforts to cobble together pieces of legislation during the annual summer recess, although it was unclear how quickly they would resolve differences within and between both chambers.
Mr Biden used his western swing to highlight what his aides hope to be a climate change call for those who have not committed to a more aggressive plan. Throughout the trip, Mr Biden heard from emergency officers and governors – including those who disagreed with the government over the pandemic and other issues – about the urgent need to address natural disasters. Mr Biden told California rescue workers that he recently spoke to Texas Republican Greg Abbott about emergency response procedures.
“Some of my more conservative -” said Mr Biden, before pausing and continuing, “some of my less devout friends in this notion of global warming suddenly have an altar call.”
“You see the Lord,” said Mr. Biden.
When Mr. Biden later received his fire briefing from officers from the Rescue Service, a woman was heard saying, “That’s why it’s so important.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden watched a wind turbine demonstration on the Flatirons campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Arvada, Colorado, and then shared the damage from hurricanes and wildfires he had seen while traveling across the United States that month. He called for tax breaks to accelerate the use of solar and electric vehicles and the creation of a civilian climate corps to preserve public land and make it more resilient to climate change.
Mr Biden’s economic team has not clarified whether the president would accept an emissions tax as part of the package. He refused to agree to a Republican proposal to raise federal gas taxes to fund infrastructure, citing his promise not to impose income taxes on anyone earning less than $ 400,000. However, his government has no objection to a tax hike on cigarettes, which the House has included in its tax plan, which would disproportionately affect low-income earners.
Nor did administration officials say how far a definitive emissions reduction deal would have to go for Mr Biden to accept it. When asked by a reporter in Arvada whether he would sign the $ 3.5 trillion spending package if it included scaled-down measures to combat climate change, Mr Biden struck his fist. “I am in favor of more climate action,” he said.
Karine Jean-Pierre, principal assistant secretary of the press, told Air Force One reporters that Mr. Biden is a strong advocate for the climate components of the bill. But, she said, “the Biden climate agenda is not just about reconciliation or the infrastructure package alone.”
“We are looking in every sector of the economy for opportunities to create clean energy jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” she said, “especially in the crucial – this decisive decade.”
Emily Cochrane contributed to the coverage.