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US President Joe Biden spoke of the looming threat of climate change on Wednesday, describing it as a “clear and present danger” while enacting a series of executive actions but falling short of declaring an official national climate emergency.

The president spoke as a major heat wave was sweeping large swaths of the nation.

Talking to the media at the site of a former coal power plant in Massachusetts, a state that issued heat advisories this week as temperatures soared past 100 degrees, Biden announced an additional $2.3 billion in funding for communities dealing with extreme heat and also steps he will take through executive actions to bolster the offshore wind industry.

The president did not go as far as declaring an official national climate emergency but he implied he might soon make such a pronouncement, calling on Democrats and climate activists to ask him to elevate climate change to a national emergency in order to open up new federal funding sources, CNN reported.

"Climate change is an emergency, and in the coming weeks I'm going to use the power I have as president to turn these words into formal, official, government actions through the appropriate proclamations, executive orders and regulatory power that a president possesses," Biden said.

Biden called climate change, as evidenced by the heatwave Americans were experiencing this week, a “clear and present danger.”

"As President, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger, and that's what climate change is," Biden said.

He added that he would enact further measures to combat the "existential threat to our nation and to the world."

Biden’s pronouncement was the first step of a series of major executive actions the president intends to take on climate change in response to a Congressional stalemate on legislation, administration officials said.

Hopes for a climate change package passing Congress were dimmed last week after Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that he was concerned about inflation, which needed to be addressed first.

In Massachusetts, Biden did not mention Manchin by name, instead blaming Republicans for failing to pass legislation.

"Not a single Republican in Congress stepped up to support my climate plan, not one," he said.

White House officials said Biden’s slate of executive orders could include emissions reductions, incentives for clean energy and other major climate initiatives.