Biden Threatens To Forgo Constitution Over Climate Concerns

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democratic politicians have urged President Biden to declare climate change, which Biden calls an existential threat, a national emergency. According to Bloomberg’s sources, that means that Biden could impose a draconian crackdown on fossil fuels, including suspending offshore drilling, restricting exports of oil and LNG, and ‘throttling’ the industry’s ability to transport its production via pipelines, ships and rail.  Industry experts warned that the measure would discourage investment in domestic energy production and result in higher retail prices. The result would be a recipe for massive economic disaster. Implementation would provide Biden with control over the entire U.S. economy, control of production, manufacturing, distribution, and consumption with his pet renewable projects providing most of the new energy.  Fossil fuels supply about 80 percent of the nation’s energy.

According to the White House, the idea of declaring a climate emergency, first considered in 2021 and again in 2022, is again being considered. Declaring a climate emergency would provide the president with dictatorial powers to hamstring the domestic oil and gas industry more than his executive orders and regulations have already accomplished, which has resulted so far in economic costs of over a $1 trillion. The price tag on private households and businesses of Biden’s regulatory actions is triple the regulatory cost under the Obama administration and 30 times higher than the new regulations under President Trump, according to the American Action Forum.

In what is effectively seen as the Environmental Protection Agency’s “plan to ration electricity”, the Wall Street Journal observed: “The Biden Administration’s regulations are coming so fast and furious that its hard even to keep track.” The Journal said the EPA “proposed its latest doozy—rules that will effectively force coal plants to shut down while banning new natural-gas plants.” These are rules in EPA’s finalized power plant rule.

Independently making a move to declare climate a national emergency ignores that the demand for oil and natural gas is global and will not be reduced because Biden puts limits on U.S. domestic oil and gas production and distribution. Such a move would inevitably create billions of dollars in capital migrating to other parts of the world where environmental regulations are far less stringent than in the United States. The U.S. oil and gas industry has dramatically cut emissions of both methane and carbon dioxide even as it has achieved new records in production. The United States has an Environmental Quality Index much higher than other major oil and gas producing countries. For oil, the United States has an index score of 51.1 compared to 39 for the next 20 oil producers, and for natural gas, the average is 38.6 to 51.1 for the United States.

According to White House officials, they have not made a decision on an emergency proclamation, nor is any declaration imminent. White House discussions over potential policy steps can span years, and many do not come to fruition. According to White House spokesperson Angelo Fernandez Hernandez, Biden has “delivered on the most ambitious climate agenda in history. President Biden has treated the climate crisis as an emergency since day one and will continue to build a clean energy future that lowers utility bills, creates good-paying union jobs, makes our economy the envy of the world and prioritizes communities that for too long have been left behind.”

Her statement, however, ignores the fact that gasoline prices have risen over 50 percent since Biden has become President and residential electricity prices have risen 27 percent. It also ignores the high inflation that has resulted under Biden’s Presidency and the high borrowing costs that are limiting new development projects despite substantial subsidies for the administration’s favorite pet projects funded by American taxpayers.

If Biden were to proclaim a climate national emergency that would veto the extraction, processing and use of fossil fuels in the United States, the massive subsidies and mandates to support favored green industries such as solar, wind, electric vehicles and battery technologies would grow even more. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, subsidies for renewable energy producers more than doubled between 2016 and 2022, forming nearly half of all federal energy-related support in that period. The subsidies, via investment tax credits and other instruments mainly based on debt, made available in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 totaling over an estimated $1 trillion over the next ten years increases that number even more. There are also the hidden costs involved with the countless mandates to force “green” initiatives on the public.

Declaring a climate emergency would benefit China since China leads the world in providing batteries, solar panels, critical minerals and components of “green products.” Any plan to force Americans to buy Chinese products increases China’s carbon dioxide emissions as China burns 9 times as much coal as the United States and produces more carbon dioxide emissions than the United States, EU, and Japan combined. If President Biden was able to immediately stop all fossil energy use in the United states, the temperature impact would be a reduction in global temperatures of 0.173°C by 2100—a trifling amount.

Proclaiming a national emergency excuses executive authority from the constraints of the normal rule of law. It evades public opinion, the checks and balances of legislation, and the censure of constitutional impeachment. An emergency declaration allows the president to access funds from the Treasury even for purposes that Congress might have specifically rejected, taking away the House’s “power of the purse.” Thus, accountability to the people for the expenditure of their money, the Constitution’s safeguard for imposing popular will on government, is made redundant. Research by the Brennan Center for Justice catalogs 123 statutory authorities that become available to the president when he declares a national emergency.


President Biden has threatened to make climate a nation emergency several times where he would then be able to force major reductions on the production and distribution of fossil fuels. Most recently, such a proclamation would be to gain the support of the youth who see climate change as an issue. But such a draconian move would be an economic disaster as energy is the backbone of the economy. Biden and his White House staff are right in proclaiming that he has taken more action regarding the environment than any other President and those actions are costing American taxpayers trillions, most of which are being funded from increased national debt.

*This article was adapted from content originally published by the Institute for Energy Research.

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