Extreme Temperature Diary- Sunday November 12th, 2023/Main Topic: More Pros and Cons for Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: More Pros and Cons for Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency

Dear Diary. In light of overwhelming evidence that we are indeed in a “climate crisis,” particularly after many climate change driven weather disasters and additional new astounding heat records have occurred around the planet this decade, there are more and more calls for Biden to declare a climate emergency. Indeed, we have already visited this subject here in which I agreed that he should many times:

Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday July 16th, 2022/Main Topic: Calling for Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency…Striking While the Iron Is “Hot” – Guy On Climate

Extreme Temperature Diary- Wednesday October 5th, 2022/Main Topic: After Ian It’s Time for Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency – Guy On Climate

Extreme Temperature Diary- Wednesday October 5th, 2022/Main Topic: After Ian It’s Time for Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency – Guy On Climate

Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday July 29th, 2023/Main Topic: Another Call for Joe Biden to Declare Climate Emergency – Guy On Climate

Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday August 19th, 2023/Main Topic: Maui-Bound Biden Urged to Declare a Climate Emergency  – Guy On Climate

Extreme Temperature Diary- Friday September 1st, 2023/Main Topic: More Calls for Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency After Idalia – Guy On Climate

Notice that there is a pattern here among all of these calls to declare a climate emergency. Either a devastating hurricane, fire, or heat wave has happened just before each blog was posted. Yes, we are very reactive as a species, jumping like Al Gore’s frogs after a big destructive weather event has taken place. If we are “smart,” we will be proactive, but usually that’s not the case; however, I’m optimistic of our chances for getting through the climate crisis given faster green transition efforts that I’m seeing during 2023.

Here is yet another article on the climate emergency issue from Salon. It’s fall going into winter across the Northern Hemisphere now without any catastrophic events taking place this year beyond some flooding. I doubt that Biden will declare a climate emergency during this relatively quiet time, but could he during 2024 when the election season is in full swing? We will see:

Is Biden taking climate change seriously? Here’s why some experts want him to declare an emergency | Salon.com

Is Biden taking climate change seriously? Here’s why some experts want him to declare an emergency

Would declaring a climate emergency do anything? Some are skeptical, others say Biden can’t do it soon enough


U.S. President Joe Biden listens as John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, speaks during a Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate meeting at South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 20, 2023. (Elizabeth Frantz for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

When it comes to climate change, everything is trending in the wrong direction. Summer 2023 was the hottest ever recorded in human historyStudy after study shows that climate change is warming the planet to unsustainable levels. It has already baked intense storms, extreme heat and desperate droughts into humanity’s future. Columbia University climatologist Dr. James Hansen, one of the earliest scientists to sound the alarm about climate change, has published a study noting that the “early phase of a climate emergency” is “already in the pipeline.” Scientists recently calculated that even if we meet some of our more ambitious climate goals, we cannot stop the West Antarctic Ice Shelf from melting. And when it does finally liquefy, the resulting sea level rise will cause apocalyptic floods that displace almost a billion people.

“It’s incredibly foolish that President Biden still hasn’t declared a climate emergency.”

In the midst of such a dire existential threat to the planet, some have urged President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency, if for no other reason than the potent symbolic significance of such a statement. Yet while Biden has arguably been one of the most pro-environmental presidents in American history, he has stopped short of officially declaring such, though CNN noted the president (incorrectly) claimed he had. “I’ve already done that,” Biden said in an interview with The Weather Channel, adding “it is the existential threat to humanity.”

But while the president said that rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and conserving more land was “practically speaking” the same as declaring an emergency, Politico also noted this isn’t the same thing.

Some experts disagree whether these semantics matter or whether it’s a dire mistake that we’re not treating global heating like a more severe crisis.


Heat is making our planet uninhabitable. Why isn’t this the top news story around the world?

“Global heating is an emergency — the greatest emergency humanity currently faces, despite ongoing public apathy — so it’s incredibly foolish that President Biden still hasn’t declared a climate emergency,” explained Dr. Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an associate project scientist at UCLA’s Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering, in an email to Salon. (He emphasized he is only speaking on his own behalf.) “It’s one of those things in life that is hard in the short term — Biden may pay a political price, although I think it would be less than he fears — but far, far better for everyone in the long term.”

After reviewing how billions of human lives and countless species are at risk due to climate change — and in particular because of humanity’s continued overuse of fossil fuels — Kalmus asserted that by declaring a climate emergency the president could “use his bully pulpit and federal funding to push back against fossil fuel industry disinformation and help the world realize that we are all genuinely in grave danger.”

Kalmus concluded, “He should initiate the biggest federally-funded public information campaign in US history, to educate on science, on fossil fuel industry disinformation (which is a well-documented fact), and on solutions.”

Dr. Richard Wolff, author of “The Sickness is the System” and professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, agreed with this assessment.

“Of course, Biden should [declare a climate emergency] since it is so threatening to the whole world,” Wolff told Salon by email. “There would be some real leadership to offset the fast-growing global image of a declining U.S. empire and a declining U.S. economy and politics. The emergency could spark real global efforts to reduce fossil fuel usage, pool resources for all the other projects now being started or stopped according to each nation’s political economy, relocate production and distribution systems to reduce pollution. The emergency could enable collective efforts achievable probably in no other way.” Yet Wolff expressed skepticism that Biden “ever could do such a thing,” citing the president’s pro-war foreign policies as one reason for this.

“Indeed, his overdone commitment to wars around the world — all of which worsen both climate-focused problems and inflationary problems — suggests his full participation in the projects of those who do not want what [climate activist Greta] Thunberg and so many millions of others want and seek,” Wolff told Salon.

“If Biden declares an emergency on climate, it legitimizes a Republican president using an emergency declaration to, say, outlaw abortion.”

It is not merely his involvement in foreign wars that calls Biden’s policy priorities into question. Throughout his administration, he has followed what might be called a hybrid approach to tackling climate change — mix genuine steps toward climate-based reform with sops to the wings of the Democratic Party that, for one reason or another, depend on worsening the planet’s problems through overuse of fossil fuels.

“President Biden has taken some important climate steps like boosting renewable energy investment and strengthening auto emissions rules, but they fall far short of what’s needed,” Maya Golden-Krasner, deputy director of the Climate Law Institute at the conservation nonprofit the Center for Biological Diversity, told Salon by email.

She observed that scientists overwhelmingly agree extreme weather events like storms, floods, fires and heat will only get worse unless humanity rapidly phases out fossil fuels, “yet the Biden administration has continued to approve massive fossil fuel projects like the Willow oil drilling complex in Alaska and the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Appalachia. Biden has also ramped up drilling on public lands and overseen the expansion of fossil gas exports, whose emissions could outpace the gains from Biden’s climate actions. We can’t be locking in more planet-heating pollution when we’re already experiencing the hottest months on record.”

Michael Greenberg, founder of the activist group Climate Defiance, had a similar assessment.

“The president has taken some steps in the right direction on climate change, for example, with implementing new EPA regulations and protecting 13 million acres in the Arctic,” Greenberg told Salon. “But the president has also made some big mistakes on projects like [the] Willow [project] and [the] Line 3 [pipeline]. We’re grateful for the steps Biden has taken in the right direction, but he needs to be much bolder and do much more.”

Speaking to Salon by email, a White House spokesperson said that “President Biden has treated climate change as an emergency – the existential threat of our time – since day one.” The spokesperson ticked off a number of policies implemented by the president to address climate change, including rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement (which President Donald Trump exited), signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law (which included large allocations for addressing climate change), conserving more land and water in his first year than any president since John Kennedy and attracting more than $300 billion in private sector investment in clean energy manufacturing. The spokesperson also said that Biden did use his emergency authorities to address climate change by invoking the Defense Production Act to invigorate domestic clean energy manufacturing.

“President Biden has treated climate change as an emergency – the existential threat of our time – since day one.”

“Recently, President Biden announced the creation of the American Climate Corps, a workforce training and service initiative that will ensure more young people have access to skills-based training necessary for good-paying careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy,” the spokesperson added. “Within the first three weeks of launching the American Climate Corps, more than 42,000 Americans — more than two thirds of whom are between the ages of 18-35 — have expressed interest in joining the new initiative. The signups represent people from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.”

The spokesperson concluded by citing Biden’s work with G20 leaders to transition toward clean energy and blamed congressional Republicans for the lack of further progress, pointing out that “Republicans in Congress are actively trying to repeal his historic bill and unwind regulations that reduce emissions and curb pollution – which would exacerbate the climate crisis and threaten the health and wellbeing of every American.”

The Center for Biological Diversity argues that measures such as these are simply not enough. They claim that the president has the power to stop approving climate-heating fossil fuel infrastructure, phase out oil and gas production on public lands and waters and maximize his use of the Clean Air Act to curb climate pollution. “Our organization intends to sue the Biden EPA to push it to set a national greenhouse gas cap, the same way it has for ozone, particulate matter, lead and other pollutants,” Golden-Krasner told Salon. “They can do that by adding greenhouse gases as criteria pollutants under the Clean Air Act and setting a science-based nationwide pollution cap in the form of a National Ambient Air Quality Standard, or NAAQS.”

And, of course, there is the possibility of declaring a national climate emergency.

“President Biden has said that climate change is the existential threat to humanity,” Golden-Krasner explained. “He should follow the next logical step and declare a climate emergency, which would unlock his full toolbox to address the threat. If he declares a national climate emergency, Biden can reinstate the ban on crude oil exports that was in place for decades before being repealed in 2015. He can also invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to limit exports of coal and petroleum products as well as billions of private dollars that fund fossil fuel projects oversees.”

Melinda Pierce, the legislative director of the environmental organization the Sierra Club, stopped short of answering whether Biden should declare a climate emergency, but praised Biden’s current accomplishments. She noted “more than 210,000 jobs created and $310 billion in green energy private investment” since they became law. Yet despite praising Biden’s environmental achievements, even the Sierra Club admitted that the Biden administration could do more to stop critical pipelines and strengthen environmental protections.

“This moment requires bold action, and we hope President Biden will use it to continue to build on his legacy,” Pierce said.

The Sunrise Movement, an American 501 political action organization that focuses on climate change reform, also told Salon by email that it wants Biden to declare a national emergency due to climate change. In addition to doing so for policy reasons, the Sunrise Movement — which mobilizes activists all over America — argued that a national emergency on climate change is smart politics.

“If Joe Biden wants to energize young voters ahead of the election, he needs to step it up on climate change and give young people something to vote for.”

“If Joe Biden wants to energize young voters ahead of the election, he needs to step it up on climate change and give young people something to vote for,” Michele Weindling, Political Director of the Sunrise Movement, told Salon. As Weindling put it earlier, “Our country is burning on the west coast, flooding on the east coast, and baking in the south. Millions of lives are on the line. A Republican majority in the House led by Mike Johnson means that Congress isn’t going to protect our homes and lives. President Biden needs to take matters into his own hands and use every tool in his toolbox to stop the climate crisis. The first step is declaring a climate emergency.”

Not all experts think Biden has fallen short and should declare a climate emergency. Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth — a distinguished scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research — argued that “a surprising lot has been accomplished under Biden” with the Inflation Reduction Act. Yet despite giving the administration credit for this, Trenberth also argued that much of the money is being misplaced.

“I strongly disagree with the focus on direct air capture as it cannot be economic, it uses energy that ought to be used elsewhere, and it allows the fossil fuel industry to continue unabated,” Trenberth argued, although he noted that with Congress in disarray “funding is not proceeding as it should in any case.” Trenberth was also skeptical of what declaring a climate emergency could actually accomplish.

“The issues are very much global and a lot are outside the control of the U.S.,” Trenberth pointed out. “The U.S. does need to show leadership, but some leadership aspects are misplaced. How to stop China from emitting so much carbon dioxide? How to stop or slow the emissions from India? And Russia?” Trenberth observed that stopping all of the world’s wars (including the conflicts in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza) would do wonders for curtailing global heating, especially if the funds going into those efforts were instead devoted to mitigating and adapting to our changed climate.

“Climate change is a global problem and ‘we’ are all on the same spaceship Earth,” Trenberth added.

Dr. Michael E. Mann, a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania, was also dubious of the prospect of declaring a climate emergency, albeit for different reasons.

“Frankly, there are pros and cons,” Mann said. “It would perhaps direct resources toward the problem, but climate change is an ongoing problem that will require a sustained effort. An ’emergency’ sounds like a short-term problem that can be fixed by a focused but limited campaign. Also, there’s an ‘arms race’ problem. If Biden declares an emergency on climate, it legitimizes a Republican president using an emergency declaration to, say, outlaw abortion.”

Read more about climate change:

Here are more “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is some more new October 2023 climatology:

Here is More Climate and Weather News from Sunday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Today’s News on Sustainable Energy, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:

More from the Weather Department:

More on the Environment and Nature:

More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:

If you like these posts and my work on record temperature ratios, please contribute via my PayPal widget on this site. Thanks in advance for any support. 

Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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