Biden Considers National Climate Emergency As Reelection Strategy

Written by Michael Thompson.

Amid the ramp-up to the 2024 Presidential election, the Biden administration is reportedly considering declaring a national climate emergency, according to Bloomberg. This strategic move could possibly rally youth voters who are increasingly concerned about environmental issues.

Sources familiar with the discussions suggest that while some White House advisers believe this declaration could hamper offshore drilling and reduce greenhouse emissions, others see it as a tactic to galvanize the younger electorate. “President Biden has treated the climate crisis as an emergency since day one,” stated White House spokesperson Angelo Fernandez Hernandez, hinting at the administration’s ongoing commitment without confirming the potential declaration.

The timing of such a decision remains uncertain, with talks potentially stretching over several years. The idea first surfaced in 2022 after setbacks in clean-energy legislation and was hinted at again in 2023 when Biden introduced conservation policies.

With the 2024 election looming, activating the youth vote could be crucial for Biden, who currently lags behind former President Donald Trump in hypothetical electoral matchups. Youth climate groups like the Sunrise Movement and Fridays For Future USA are pushing for this declaration, planning protests to coincide with Earth Day to pressure the administration.

“If Biden wants to win the youth vote, he needs to take forceful action on climate change,” said Aru Shiney-Ajay, executive director of the Sunrise Movement.

While Biden holds a lead over Trump among voters under 30, the margin is narrower than desired for a solid electoral college victory. John Della Volpe, director of polling at Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, emphasized the need for Biden to secure at least 60% of the youth vote, a benchmark previously met by both Biden in 2020 and Obama in 2008 and 2012.

The Climate Strategy Debate

The potential declaration of a national climate emergency brings Biden’s environmental strategy into sharp focus, questioning whether this move is a genuine attempt to combat climate change or a calculated political maneuver to secure reelection by appealing to environmentally conscious voters.

Our Take

The notion of declaring a national climate emergency reflects a desperate bid for relevance among younger voters rather than a coherent strategy to address environmental issues effectively. This move, while potentially boosting youth engagement, could be seen as using critical global challenges as mere stepping stones in political campaigns. It is imperative that actions on climate issues be driven by genuine concern and practical solutions rather than electoral calculus. If the Biden administration proceeds with this declaration, it must ensure that it leads to substantial environmental progress rather than just serving as political lip service to gain voter favor.

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