August 1, 2022
Vice President: Can we drop it for Yendy? (Applause.) Please take a seat. Please take a seat.
I told Yendy about him – he did a great job. You know, public speaking is very difficult, but you — you want, at the end of your speech, you’re not just sharing things that people may not know and teaching them that way, but helping them feel something . Your words give us all a sense of our shared commitment. (Applause.) So thank you. outstanding.
good afternoon everyone. good afternoon. Nice to be with you all. And — I just want to thank all of you for being here and all you’ve done.
You know, it’s a very challenging time in our country right now on this topic and many others. It’s a great pleasure to be back in Miami with all of you and the leaders here — (applause) — on FIU’s campuses — (applause) — on a very important topic.
I especially want to thank members of our administration, leaders who have been doing extraordinary work on this issue — NOAA Administrator Alejandro Mayorcas — (Applause) — is The — NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad — (Applause) — and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. (Applause) Thank you, everyone. Thank you.
I would also like to thank the members of Congress here. We have Congresswoman Frederica Wilson here — (applause) — and Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick here. (Applause.) They were kind enough to meet me on the tarmac when we arrived this afternoon, so thank you.
I would also like to thank the local officials here, including Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. (applause.)
To everyone, thank you for your leadership and for your hard work.
So our country and many of us have been discussing, bemoaning, talking about the threat of climate change for years. For years, we have discussed the potential impacts climate change could have on our communities, our country and our world.
Today we know the impact, if people didn’t know it before. Just look at the evening news to see that the time for debate is over. (applause.)
Climate change has become a climate crisis.and threats
It has now become a reality.
Deadly flooding has swept across Missouri and Kentucky in recent days, washing through communities and killing at least 35 people, including infants and children. According to reports, a family of four children.
So, the catastrophe is real. The hurt is real. The impact is real. We are witnessing it in real time.
In the West, a historic drought has made access to clean water increasingly uncertain.
In my home state of California, wildfires burned more than 2.5 million acres in the last year alone. Andy, I’m talking about it; my brother-in-law is a firefighter. I thank you for complimenting all those who gave their lives to this work.
For so many families and so many communities, it’s devastating – what we’re witnessing is devastating.
Over the past few days in California, the McKinney fire
It has killed two people and forced thousands to evacuate their homes in California.
In Florida, more and more powerful hurricanes and tropical storms make landfall on the coast each year.
Furthermore, in our country, heat waves have forced tens of millions of people to endure record temperatures.
Last year, our country experienced a total of 20 climate-driven extreme weather events, each of which resulted in more than $1 billion in damage and, more importantly, approximately 700 deaths.
Earlier today, at the National Hurricane Center, I received a briefing on extreme weather caused by climate change.
The conclusion is clear: As the climate crisis worsens, extreme weather will pose a burgeoning danger to burgeoning communities.
So, in order to protect the people of our country, let us understand that we can match that desire with action, and we must act now.
And I — I can tell you, President Joe Biden and I, we understand that when disaster strikes anywhere in America, we have a responsibility to act, and — I think we all know — all of us, as Leaders, of course, have the ability to act.
Providing support and resources has always been a goal and priority for our community, but for our administration, so that we can respond, recover and rebuild when disasters strike certain communities.
The President and I also have a responsibility to act not only after a disaster, but before it happens. That’s why we are here today. (applause.)
Today, our government is investing more than $1 billion through FEMA to fund climate
elastic [resilience] Projects were carried out in 343 cities, towns and counties across the country. (applause.)
Here’s how it works: So local governments apply for these grants. They tell us which projects have the most impact. Then, we build these projects together.
For example, our government is working with Kern County, California, to invest in groundwater storage so households have access to clean water during droughts.
We’re working with Austin, Texas to upgrade Austin’s grid so that homes, businesses and places of worship can stay powered during summer heat and winter storms. We’re working with people in Miami.
Together, we will invest $50 million to protect low-lying communities from rising seas and storm surges. (applause.)
All of these projects will create good jobs and good union jobs in our communities. (applause.)
These projects will also strengthen our economy by preventing billions of dollars in damage from extreme weather. This $1 billion investment is double what our government made last year. As President Biden recently announced, next year we will again double our investment to over $2 billion. (applause.)
In awarding these grants, we pay particular attention to equity issues, an area that our government has focused on from the very beginning. (applause.)
We know that the effects of the climate crisis are not felt equally in all communities. Consider this: Heat waves pose a greater threat to people who don’t have air conditioning or work in hot workplaces like warehouses or farmland.
Emergency evacuation is often more difficult for people with disabilities – for example, people using wheelchairs or people with impaired vision. Emergency evacuation can also be more difficult for people traveling with sick or elderly family members, such as children who may need ongoing medical care.
Low-income communities, including rural communities, often do not have the necessary resources to invest in resilience or rebuild after a disaster. The climate crisis has exposed and exacerbated generations of economic and environmental inequalities in our national communities. Our government remains committed to addressing these inequalities through environmental justice. (applause.)
In awarding these grants, we have prioritized projects that protect communities disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. These investments are part of a larger struggle.
The most effective way to protect our country is to address not only the effects of climate disasters, but the causes of the climate crisis itself. (applause.)
That’s why last year we set an ambitious target. Our country will halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. We will achieve net zero emissions by 2050. (applause.)
Some say it’s an ambitious goal; I say it’s doable. This works. (applause.)
Think about it: The transportation sector is our nation’s largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions.
So to solve this problem, we’re investing tens of billions of dollars to get more EVs on the road. (applause.)
In fact, when I was in the U.S. Senate, we were able to say that we should focus on electric school buses. To that end, I am proud to introduce the first legislation to electrify our nation’s school bus fleet. (applause.)
The transition is underway. In Miami-Dade County, for example, public schools will soon have 50 electric school buses on the road. (applause.)
That’s not all. Our government has also invested $65 billion in our nation’s grid and transmission infrastructure to build thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines. In this way, we can move clean energy from where it is generated to where it is needed. It’s actually about the transport of energy.
So, think about it: from a wind farm in Iowa to suburban Chicago, or from a solar farm in Nevada to a family farm in Missouri. How exciting. (Applause.) This will make our country more energy independent. (Applause.) It will lower electricity bills for millions of working families. (applause.)
Therefore, these investments are an important step forward. Our nation will soon take another giant step forward in the fight against the climate crisis.
President Biden and I strongly support the agreement announced by Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin last week. (applause.)
In addition to reducing healthcare and prescription drug costs for millions of Americans, the agreement will invest nearly $370 billion in clean energy, zero-emission vehicles, environmental justice, and more.
This is a historic opportunity to advance our response to the climate crisis.
So, Congress, we ask you to pass it immediately. (applause.)
So, all that said: the climate crisis is here. It has arrived and we are experiencing it in real time. We have the ability—and dare I say the responsibility—to take urgent action to protect the people of our country. And, we all have a role to play.
So, Miami, I know you know the urgency of this moment. You live this life every day. Your voice is very important on this issue.
If we act now and act together, we can protect our communities from the disaster we are witnessing. We can tackle the climate crisis and ensure that all people can breathe clean air, drink clean water and have access to clean energy.
We can build a more sustainable future. We can do it. We can build a fairer future. This is what we can do. We can build a more resilient future. That’s within our field of vision. Yes, in the process we will create millions of good jobs in the clean energy economy. (applause.)
So, I say to the leaders here: Miami, we are building that future together. Despite all the tragedies we’ve witnessed, we don’t get tired. I know that as we pray and express our love, we renew our commitment every day to the urgency of the moment, and our shared ability—all of us together—to do something about it.
God bless you and God bless America. (Applause.) Thank you, everyone.