Biden’s Speech on Climate Change and Ida: Full Transcript

The following is a transcript of President Biden’s remarks about local weather change and Hurricane Ida after he toured injury from the storm in neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey on Tuesday.

Chuck, thanks very a lot. As the outdated joke goes, my father have been right here, he’d say thanks, and my mom have been right here, she would say, “Who are you talking about?”

Look, people, let me start by saying I want each American may stroll down this alley with me to see and speak to the individuals who have been devastated, simply speak to them. None of them have been shouting or complaining. Every one in every of them have been thanking me as if it was one thing particular — I imply it sincerely — that I used to be right here and hoped that we’d be capable to do one thing.

This is America, the place I’m standing proper now. These are the folks, whether or not it’s Scranton or Claremont or anyplace all over the world — the nation, who constructed this nation. And it’s about time we step up. They’re all the time the primary ones which are damage and the final ones which are helped. But that’s not going to occur this time.

The group I’ve standing with me led by Chuck Schumer and your — Congresswoman, is that this your district? Oh, it’s Grace’s district. I need to thank her personally for her gumption, the best way she’s fought and hollered and fought so exhausting for all of the folks on this alley. I actually imply it. Thank you, thanks, thanks.

But that goes for everyone right here. And look, people. You know, I need to thank governor for — and Leader Schumer and Kirsten — I ought to say Senator Gillibrand — and Congresswoman [Grace] Meng and [Representative Carolyn B.] Maloney and [Representative Gregory W.] Meeks, Mayor [Bill] de Blasio for being right here. You know, it’s not — how can I say this? Sometimes some very dangerous issues occur that tend to convey out one of the best in a folks and a rustic.

And I believe what persons are seeing throughout this nation, from the wildfires in California and the Far West, which I’m heading to in a pair days, all the best way to, down in Louisiana within the Gulf, the place I used to be a pair days in the past, to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to a lesser extent, Delaware, to a lesser extent, and New York.

People are starting to comprehend that is a lot, a lot larger than anybody was keen to imagine. And the entire phase of our inhabitants denying this factor referred to as local weather change. But I actually imply it.

Sometimes my mom used to say out of the whole lot dangerous, one thing good will come in the event you look exhausting sufficient for it. Well, I believe we’ve all seen, even the local weather skeptics are seeing that this actually does matter. And it’s not simply whether or not or not people who find themselves simply making an attempt to get by in these houses, in these alleys right here, working their butts off, do nicely.

It’s folks in excessive towers alongside the shore who discover that as this rain and all this transformation takes place within the groundwater, the buildings are literally starting to tilt. Hundred-story buildings — this goes thus far past what anyone’s keen to talk to so far.

We simply completed surveying among the injury within the neighborhood, right here in Queens. And earlier immediately, we have been within the Raritan Valley in New Jersey, which additionally bought badly, badly hit. Walking these neighborhoods, assembly the households and the primary responders, seeing how people are doing after this destruction and ache and one other devastating storm, is an eye-opener.

The individuals who stand on the opposite facet of the fences who don’t dwell there, who’re yelling that we’re speaking about and interfering with free enterprise by doing one thing about local weather change — they don’t dwell there. They don’t dwell, they don’t perceive. And you understand, final week, proper right here, in so many different communities, these waves crashed by the streets right here, testing the growing older infrastructure and taking lives. More lives have been taken right here than down in Louisiana.

Let me say that once more. They had over 20 inches of rain. They had 178-mile-an-hour winds, gusts. And extra lives have been taken right here than down in Louisiana. And you understand, you all noticed the harrowing photographs of tales and households trapped in flooding basements and struggling to outlive. Well, you didn’t need to — you simply go alongside this valley. I’m positive the press has finished that.

My message to everybody grappling with this devastation is: We’re right here, we’re not going residence until this will get finished. I actually imply that. We’re not leaving. We’re going to proceed to shout so long as it takes to get actual progress right here.

Folks — and we’ve to take some daring motion now to deal with the accelerating results of local weather. If we don’t act — now I’m going to be heading, as Chuck is aware of, because the senator is aware of, I’m going to be heading from right here to Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP assembly [United Nations Climate Change Conference], which is all of the nations of the world getting collectively to resolve what we’re going to do about local weather change. And John Kerry, the previous secretary of state, is main our effort, placing it collectively.

We are decided, we’re decided that we’re going to cope with local weather change and have zero emissions, internet emissions by 2050. By 2020, be certain all our electrical energy is zero emissions. We’re going to have the ability to do these items. But we’ve bought to maneuver. We’ve bought to maneuver. And we’ve bought to maneuver the remainder of the world. It’s not simply the United States of America.

And so, people, this summer season alone, communities with over 100 million Americans — 100 million Americans name residence — have been struck by excessive climate. One in each three Americans has been victimized by extreme climate. The hurricanes alongside the Gulf, the East Coast, up by this neighborhood. And I noticed the human and bodily value firsthand, as I mentioned, in Louisiana.

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But, governor, you referred to as Phil Murphy — Governor Murphy — so many main with urgency and motion are saying sufficient, sufficient. And there’s not a single request I’m conscious of — there could also be one thing — that we haven’t signed off on, that we haven’t signed off but.

And right here’s the deal. The New York Fire Department, the New York Police Department, the Sanitation Department and different first responders, they’re main with unbelievable, unbelievable braveness. Two linemen have been killed in making an attempt to verify we’ve [inaudible].

And, people, the proof is evident. Climate change poses an existential risk to our lives, to our financial system, and the risk is right here, it’s not going to get any higher. The query: Can it worsen? We can cease it from getting worse.

And after I speak about constructing again higher — and Chuck is combating for my program, for our program on the Hill — after I speak about constructing again higher, I imply you may’t construct to what it was earlier than this final storm. You bought to construct higher in order that if the storm occurred once more, there can be no injury. There can be.

But that’s not going to cease us, although, as a result of if we simply do this, it’s simply going to worsen and worse and worse. Because the storms are going to worsen and worse and worse. And so, people, we’ve bought to hearken to the scientists and the economists and the nationwide safety consultants. They all inform us that is code purple.

The nation and the world are in peril. And that’s not hyperbole. That is a reality. They’ve been warning us the acute climate would get extra excessive over the last decade, and we’re dwelling in it actual time now.

We can look across the wreckage and the ruins and the heartbreak from so many communities to really feel it. You don’t perceive, you may really feel it, you may style it, you may see it. Precious lives misplaced in Louisiana and New Jersey and New York. Families dwelling in shelters, subway stations flooded, decaying infrastructure pushed past the bounds, lives and livelihoods interrupted as soon as once more. We’re working intently with the governors and mayors and members of Congress and neighborhood leaders.

On Sunday, I instantly accredited the catastrophe declaration of Governor [Kathy] Hochul to hurry federal help to the place it was wanted — right here. FEMA’s working intensively with state and native officers, assessing the injury and mobilizing sources.

One of the issues I need to thank Chuck for, as chief of the Senate: He has helped mobilize state, native and federal. When they’re all working collectively, that’s when issues occur positively.

The well being and human companies secretary is working with the state to make sure people on Medicare and Medicaid get the emergency care they wanted. They’re going to verify it’s equitable in order that the toughest hit, together with lower-income people, communities of coloration and the aged and probably the most susceptible, get assist and get it first. They are those within the best want.

And there’s a lot to be finished in working across the clock in all these crucial wants and areas. Look, I say to anybody who can hear this if that is broadcast: If you need assistance, please go to Or name 1-800-621-FEMA. 1-800-621-3362. We can get you assist now.

And I do know these disasters aren’t going to cease. They’re solely going to come back with extra frequency and ferocity. As I mentioned, I’m working in Congress to go two necessary items of laws that this man right here is honchoing by the Congress for me.

The bipartisan plan to modernize our bodily infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our energy transmissions, our distribution strains. How many bridges I simply went by in New Jersey that had been overflowed by the river? The river’s gone larger than the bridges, having finished injury to them.

My “Build Back Better” plan with key investments to combat local weather change, chopping emissions and make issues extra resilient. Each greenback we make investments, each greenback — we increase a metropolis block by two ft, flood-proof energy stations, sanitations, discount within the buildup of kindling in our forest, putting in electrical strains underground somewhat than overhead — saves us six dollars for each single greenback we spend to do these issues.

Because the subsequent time catastrophe strikes, the flood is contained, the hearth doesn’t unfold as extensively, and energy stays on. Not to say these investments save lives, houses and create good-paying union jobs.

I hosted 56 heads of state in Washington. And I identified, we’re speaking about local weather change, and I mentioned I consider one phrase after I consider local weather change: jobs. Good-paying jobs. Each of these items requires a good-paying job, not $7 or $12 or $15, however $45, $50 an hour plus well being care. That’s what is required. And so, people — and additionally, Wall Street, not too removed from right here, acknowledges that if we spend the cash on these items, we’re going to develop the financial system, improve employment.

You know, the hearth in Oregon despatched smoke all the best way to the Atlantic. A storm within the Gulf, as you could have now discovered, can reverberate 10 states away. Supply chains and crop manufacturing get interrupted, driving up prices, devastating industries throughout America. This is everyone’s disaster. Everybody’s disaster.

And let me simply say, once more: The reality is that the injury finished on the West Coast, which I’ll be heading to, they’ve already burned 5 million acres to the bottom. That’s larger than the state of New Jersey, if I’m not mistaken. Five million acres. And you see it by the smoke that finally ends up coming over the East Coast.

Folks, we’re all on this. It’s about time we stopped the regional fights and perceive serving to any individual be certain there’s no fewer fires within the West warrants serving to folks on this alley be certain they’re not flooded.

And by the best way, it’s not simply the flooding. I’ll finish with this — not simply the flooding. Flooding finally ends up overrunning sanitation programs. And it causes illness. People get sick, and it’s critical, critical enterprise. So we’ve bought a number of work to do.

Again, it’s good-paying jobs. We can put the financial system again on a path to actual progress. But within the meantime, we’re going to save lots of a complete hell of lots of people’s lives, and we’re going to save lots of a complete hell of some huge cash.

God bless you all. Let’s get this finished.