July 20 (BP) — President Joe Biden will sign several executive actions on Wednesday that address climate change, amid historic summer heat waves in the United States and Europe that experts say is a reflection of worsening global warming.
Biden will travel to a defunct coal-fired power plant in Somerset, Mass., to announce the climate actions, which come after a legislative defeat in Congress in which Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., opposed a proposed suite of new environmental measures and programs.
Biden’s executive actions on Wednesday include initiatives to strengthen offshore wind production and help communities cope with rising temperatures, a senior administration official told reporters.
The president is scheduled to speak about the new executive actions in Somerset at 2:45 p.m. EDT.
The actions do not appear to include any emergency declarations as extreme heat grips various parts of the world.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that option is “still on the table.”
“He’s not going to just stop with the actions of [Wednesday],” she said.
On his visit to southern Massachusetts on Wednesday, Biden is also expected to announce actions to boost federal assistance for home energy needs. Somerset is located about 40 miles south of Boston.
“The president will make clear … that climate change is an existential threat to our nation and to the world. And he will also make clear that since Congress is not going to act on this emergency, then he will,” a senior administration official said, according to NBC News.
“In the coming days, he will continue to announce executive actions that we have developed to combat this emergency.”
Biden’s moves toward new climate actions come after days of record-setting heat in Britain and other parts of Europe, including France, Spain and the Netherlands. The mercury in London on Tuesday surpassed 104 degrees Fahrenheit — an all-time record.
A man leaps into the water in Whitstable, Kent, in Britain on Tuesday — the same day the country set a new all-time heat record of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say the extreme heat is a reflection of climate change. Photo by Hugo Philpott/BP
Wednesday will bring some relief, however. The forecast for London shows a high of about 80 degrees.
Many European nations have been hit by devastating wildfires across large swaths of Spain, Portugal and France, where thousands of residents were forced to evacuate this week when temperatures neared 110 degrees.
Nearly a dozen fires burned across London and the heat warped the runway at London’s Luton airport on Monday, forcing it to close for several hours.
At least 1,100 people have died from the heat in southern Europe and the wave is also being blamed for hundreds of deaths on the Iberian peninsula.
In the United States, record high temperatures have been broken in areas this week from California to the Mississippi River Valley and throughout the South and Northeast.
In Texas, where temperatures topped 100 degrees on Tuesday, the statewide power-grid run by Electric Reliability Council of Texas was handling the heat with no widespread blackouts.