In recent days, the possibility of the White House declaring a climate emergency, akin to the COVID-19 emergency, has sparked alarm among some energy industry groups. Tim Stewart, the President of the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, voiced his concerns in an interview with Just the News on July 30, stating, “They’re leaning to that direction. If you grant the president’s emergency powers to declare a climate emergency, it’s just like COVID.”
Stewart further highlighted the potential consequences of such a declaration, warning that it could grant the president “vast and unchecked authority to shut down everything from communications to infrastructure.” He emphasized the possible impact on critical infrastructure, such as water and electricity systems, which could be affected by the implementation of emergency measures.
The fear is that granting emergency powers for the climate crisis could stifle dissent and curb freedom of speech. “If you disagree with the climate emergency, [speech] can be shut down,” Stewart explained, raising concerns about prolonged restrictions until the so-called “climate emergency” is resolved.
The Epoch Times reached out to the White House press office for comment on the potential climate emergency declaration, but no response was received by the time of reporting.
While President Joe Biden and other administration officials have referred to the climate crisis as an emergency, no official declaration has been made thus far. However, the idea of a climate emergency has garnered support from some Democrats and environmental groups. Legislation known as the “Climate Emergency Act of 2021,” sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), received backing from around 60 congressional Democrats, demanding the Biden administration to take action.
Internationally, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres added to the urgency by stating that “the era of global warming has ended” and “the era of global boiling has arrived.” His call for increased ambition in tackling climate change further fueled discussions around emergency measures.
The issue has also found its way into media discourse, with some outlets proposing extreme measures to combat climate change. The Los Angeles Times, for instance, suggested implementing “occasional blackouts” as a means to address the crisis. The Guardian, too, called on the Biden administration to officially declare a climate emergency.
Tim Stewart condemned such proposals, labeling them as part of a “propaganda war” designed to condition the public to accept a life of hardship. He highlighted that reliable energy infrastructure and supply are critical for a prosperous society, noting that many developing countries struggle due to the lack of dependable energy resources.
Amid rising temperatures, the White House issued its “first-ever” heat wave hazard alert for outdoor workers. The announcement coincided with around 40 percent of the U.S. population being under heat advisories, as reported by the National Weather Service.
The focus on heat and energy demand became more significant when the largest power grid operator in the country, PJM, issued an emergency alert due to high electricity demand. PJM explained that extreme heat drives up electricity consumption, leading to potential capacity problems on the grid.
Contrasting historical data from the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that some of the hottest heatwaves in the United States occurred in the 1930s, particularly in 1936. This era was marked by the Dust Bowl, which caused widespread damage to farmland and forced many farmers to migrate to Southern California, inspiring John Steinbeck’s iconic novel “The Grapes of Wrath.”
Amid the ongoing push for de-carbonization of the grid, PJM released a report earlier this year warning of increasing reliability risks during the transition. The report cited potential timing mismatches between resource retirements, load growth, and the pace of new generation entry as factors contributing to these risks.
De-carbonization aims to reduce fossil fuel usage in favor of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. However, ensuring a smooth and reliable transition remains a key challenge for policymakers and industry stakeholders.
As the debate over the potential climate emergency declaration intensifies, the future course of action remains uncertain. The Biden administration faces mounting pressure from various quarters to address climate change with greater urgency, while industry groups and critics worry about the implications of emergency powers on essential services and individual freedoms. The coming days will be crucial in determining how the nation navigates the complex and pressing issue of climate change.