February 20, 2019

Legal experts: Declaring emergency to act on climate is possible but tough

Featuring ​Neil Bhatiya

Source: S&P Global

Journalist Molly Christian

President Donald Trump's decision to declare a national emergency to fund a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico could allow future presidents to use emergency powers to address climate change, legal experts said.

But the success of that strategy will depend on whether the courts back Trump's order and if Congress reforms the National Emergencies Act to give curb presidents' emergency powers.

Trump announced Feb. 15 that he will declare a national emergency to unlock more federal resources to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, citing security and humanitarian concerns. As part of the declaration, Trump invoked a handful of federal statutes to direct the secretary of defense and the heads of other agencies to help build the wall and implement other border security measures.

The move came after the U.S. Congress rejected Trump's request to include $5.7 billion for border security in a recent appropriations bill. It has worried some GOP lawmakers who fear that future administrations could declare an emergency to act on climate change. Those concerns are particularly acute as progressive members of Congress promote the Green New Deal policy platform aimed at shifting the U.S. away from fossil fuel-based electricity.

Read the full article and more on S&P Global.

  • ​Neil Bhatiya

    Associate Fellow, Energy, Economics, and Security Program

    Neil Bhatiya is the Associate Fellow for the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. His work focuses on how the United States uses ...