President Joe Biden on Tuesday once again called for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure after surveying damage caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida in a New York City neighborhood, a plan that he said would save a “whole hell of a lot of people’s lives” from the devastation of climate change.
Biden said Ida was caused by the changing climate, and warned that future storms and the wreckage they leave behind will only worsen with inaction. He talked about the climate crisis across the country, from wildfires in the west to the latest hurricane and deadly flooding that killed more than 65 people. The death toll is likely to rise.
“People are beginning to realize this is much, much bigger than anyone was willing to believe, and a whole segment of our population denying this thing called climate change,” Biden said in East Elmhurst, Queens. “Sometimes my mother used to say out of everything bad something good will come if you look hard enough for it. Well, I think we’ve all seen, even the climate skeptics are seeing that this really does matter.”
The president visited the storm-ravaged areas of New York and New Jersey on Tuesday, just days after Ida flooded the region. The president used the trip as another opportunity to highlight his administration’s commitment to tackling climate change and to garner support for his infrastructure agenda.
“When I talk about building back better, I mean you can’t build what it was before this last storm. You got to build better so if a storm occurred again, there would be no damage,” he said. “But that’s not gonna stop us, though. Because if we just do that, it’s just going to get worse and worse and worse, because the storms are going to get worse and worse and worse.”
Biden said the U.S. had reached the moment climate experts have been warning about for decades. The country is now in “code red,” the president said. “The nation and the world are in peril.”
“This is everybody’s crisis,” Biden said. “Everybody’s crisis.”