Workers at the Environmental Protection Agency are calling on President Joe Biden to issue a climate emergency declaration at the same time they’re calling for improvements in staffing and resources for the agency in their next union contract. The largest union representing workers at the EPA, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council 238—which represents nearly 7,500 EPA employees around the US—voted to declare a climate emergency in May 2022 and are calling on Biden to do the same. AFGE is the largest union representing federal government and District of Columbia employees (currently the membership is about 700,000), though other smaller unions do represent professionals at the EPA.
30 to 33 million persons are reported to be seriously affected by floods in Pakistan, a country with a population of 220 million. Due to this a national emergency has been declared in Pakistan. The previous worst floods in Pakistan were recorded in 2010 when nearly 20 million people were affected, causing damages estimated at $10 billion. This was followed by a very serious flood situation next year in Sindh. What is more, there was some serious flood event or the other for the next five years. This year Sindh and Balochistan are reported to be the worst affected, although serious harm has been reported from elsewhere too. From mid-June to the last week of August, nearly 1000 persons have perished in floods and a higher number have faced injuries.
The Congressional Baseball Game is an annual tradition that dates back to 1909. It’s supposed to be a time for both sides of the political system to come together and join in a peaceful nine innings of the national pastime. But this year’s game, held on Thursday, July 28 at the Washington Nationals’ ballpark in Washington, D.C., was less sleepy than the average baseball game. Now or Never, a group of justice, faith, and climate organizations, held a protest in an attempt to disrupt the event and draw attention to the urgent need for large-scale climate action. Approximately 60 protesters rallied in front of the ballpark’s centerfield gates. While they didn’t have the numbers to shut down the event completely as they’d hoped, they did manage to delay the game.
As heatwaves, droughts and wild fires ravage the planet, pressure is building on the White House and Congress to take substantive action to address the climate crisis. More than a thousand organizations in the United States have come together as the People vs Fossil Fuels coalition with the demand that President Biden declare a climate emergency and use his executive powers to stop fossil fuel extraction and new infrastructure. Their actions have succeeded in reopening climate provisions in Congress' Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which is expected to pass this week, but the bill contains poison pills that offset the beneficial sections. Jean Su, an attorney and director of the Energy Justice Program with the Center for Biological Diversity joined Clearing the FOG to explain what the President could do, the problems with IRA and what we can do to protect our chances for a livable future.
Unceded Piscataway Lands AKA Washington D.C.- As the sun rises an autonomous Indigenous-led delegation of Black, Indigenous, people of the global majority and their allies have shut down the streets surrounding the Department of Interior Washington D.C early this morning painting CLIMATE EMERGENCY in front of the building. The group is demanding President Biden declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects, including leases, exports, plastic plants, and pipelines. Permitting new fossil fuel projects will further entrench us in a fossil fuel economy for decades to come — and encourage the continued violence and genocide the fossil fuel industry brings to Black, Indigenous and communities of the global majority.
Democratic leadership may have given up on passing major climate legislation, but their employees aren’t ready to throw in the towel. Six Congressional staffers were arrested Monday after a first-of-its-kind sit-in at Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer’s office demanding he give climate negotiations another try. “Right now, we Hill staffers are peacefully protesting Dem leaders INSIDE,” Saul Levin, a policy adviser to congresswoman Cori Bush who was one of those arrested, wrote, as The Guardian reported. “To my knowledge, this has never been done.” The protest comes at a crucial moment for climate action in the U.S. In late June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could not restrict greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act without a new legislative mandate.
President Joe Biden’s surrender on climate policy amid the intensifying crisis has prompted his own agency experts to sound a rare public alarm about their boss’s retreat, according to a letter being circulated throughout the administration and Capitol Hill. The letter to Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — provided to The Lever by a House Democratic staffer — is initialed by 165 staffers at federal health and environmental agencies and at 75 congressional offices. They are demanding the president use more aggressive tactics to pass his long-promised climate agenda through the Senate. “President Biden, you have an exigent responsibility to reduce suffering all over the world, and the power and skills to do so, but time is running out,” says the letter, which is now being circulated throughout the administration for more signatures.
The EPA’s biggest union, signaling its dissatisfaction with the White House’s level of action on climate, will ask the Biden administration to declare a national climate emergency and take other ambitious steps on the environment. The declaration of a national emergency would kick-start 123 statutory powers that aren’t otherwise available to the executive branch, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Included among them is the hiring of more climate scientists, engineers, and lawyers at the EPA, a goal shared by both the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238 and the Biden administration. The request represents a marker for the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238 when it sits down with the Environmental Protection Agency on June 13 to negotiate a new contract.
The word “emergency” usually conjures images of ambulances with flashing lights, homes going up in flames, or tornadoes tearing through a town. But increasingly, governments are using the word to describe a slower-burning crisis: climate change. On Thursday, Hawaii became the first state to declare a “climate emergency,” joining 1,933 cities, town councils, and countries, including the European Union. According to The Climate Mobilization, a U.S.-based advocacy group, almost 13 percent of the global population now lives in a jurisdiction that has made a similar declaration. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the country’s only island state, and only one in the tropics, is signaling the need for more drastic action on climate change.