This Climate Alarmism Group Is Planning To Shut Down the Nation's Capital

Declare Emergency hopes roadblocks will pressure Biden to declare a climate emergency

Climate change protest in July / Getty Images
July 26, 2022

The climate alarmism group that blocked interstates around Washington, D.C., on Independence Day is planning to shut down city streets to pressure President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency.

Declare Emergency will organize roadblocks, including a conga line to disrupt traffic, and rallies at national monuments throughout the week of Oct. 1—all to put enough strain on the nation's capital to push Biden to take executive action on climate change, group leader Donald Zepeda told the Washington Free Beacon. During the "week of arrest," Declare Emergency aims for up to 100 protesters to be arrested for "nonviolent civil disobedience action."

"What people are interested in and concerned about is that sacrifice element," Zepeda said, "so I don't think we're going to have actions without arrests."

Like Declare Emergency, which believes there are fewer than 1,000 days left to avert a climate catastrophe, left-wing activists in the United States and Europe are intensifying their protest strategies. Declare Emergency protesters on July 4 blocked all lanes of Interstate 495 in Montgomery County, Md., for more than an hour, leading to 14 arrests. Italian environmental activists on Friday glued themselves to Botticelli's Primavera painting in Florence, the latest in a series of stunts involving artwork in European art museums.

The climate group Now or Never, meanwhile, is planning to stop the July 28 Congressional Baseball Game to pressure Democratic lawmakers to pass climate legislation. Seventeen congressional staffers on Monday staged a sit-in in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D., N.Y.) office to demand he reopen negotiations on climate legislation, which has failed to garner support from Republicans and some Democratic lawmakers.

Biden last week announced several green energy initiatives, including new funding for cooling centers and offshore wind projects in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico, but stopped short of declaring an emergency. Environmental activists are demanding an emergency declaration because it would allow the president to redirect military funding to green-energy construction and end fossil fuel exports, among other measures. Declare Emergency said anything short of these actions are "band-aid solutions" that will result in the deaths of "billions" of people.

"While a step in the right direction, President Biden's speech fell short of declaring a climate emergency," group member Michelle Wehner said in a news release. "The efforts he named for adaptation and a clean energy transition are wholly inadequate to stopping the climate crisis. The result will be billions of people left behind."

Since assuming office, Biden has taken several actions to reduce U.S. energy production, including bans on oil and natural gas leases on federal land. The president also revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil from Canada to the United States. Still, Declare Emergency believes Biden has failed to live up to his campaign promise of prioritizing climate change.

"The Democrats are all about this as the biggest issue of our lifetime, and then they do nothing," said Paul Severance, a Declare Emergency mobilizer. "That's soft denial. If we don't all get in this, and get in this fully, we are not going to survive."

Declare Emergency has organized several "action periods" in the nation's capital since Biden's inauguration, aiming for each protest to gain more attention than the last. Between July 1 and 6, the group blocked roads and rallied at the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. It is preparing for the October protests by mobilizing supporters through biweekly meetings, leaflet distribution, and telephone outreach, according to a meeting recording obtained by the Free Beacon. Zepeda expects the October demonstration to be "better" and "bigger" than July's.

The Washington Monument and the American Petroleum Institute headquarters are under consideration for rallies in October, Zepeda said. Declare Emergency is willing to do "whatever is nonviolently necessary" to get Biden to "begin a full-scale World War II-like mobilization effort" and stop climate change, according to the group's website.

"Change needs to come very quickly and we don't have a lot of time," Zepeda said. "We need to really front load a lot of the changes so that way, we save as many lives as we can."

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.