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Monday, December 09, 2019

President Joe Biden with solar power cell array

By Jarrett Renshaw and Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- President Joe Biden plans to announce new executive orders aimed at tackling the climate crisis on Wednesday during a trip to Somerset, Massachusetts, sources familiar with his plans told Reuters.

The announcement is unlikely to include the declaration of a climate emergency, which would enable the use of the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of a wide range of renewable energy products and systems.

Senate Democrats and environmental groups have been calling for such a declaration in light of news that Democratic Senator Joe Manchin was not ready to support key climate provisions in Congress.

A White House official said on Tuesday that Biden has made it clear that if the Senate did not act, he will. "We are considering all options and no decision has been made," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Biden campaigned on tough action on climate change in his presidential campaign and pledged in international climate negotiations to cut climate pollution by 50 percent by 2030 and reach 100 percent clean electricity by 2035.

But his climate agenda has been derailed by several major setbacks, including clinching enough congressional support to pass crucial climate and clean energy measures in a federal budget bill, record-setting gasoline prices and global energy market disruption caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Supreme Court, in a decision issued earlier this month, also signaled that federal agencies cannot undertake major policy action on climate and other areas without express consent from Congress.

Democrats are discussing the path forward for major climate action on Capitol Hill today, said Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Carper didn't answer a question about Biden declaring a climate emergency but said he thinks there are other issues the Senate could move forward on, including methane emission reduction and tax provisions for nuclear power and carbon capture and sequestration.

(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Valerie Volcovici; additional reporting by David Morgan, Doina Chiacu and Nandita Bose; editing by Chris Gallagher, Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Oatis)

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