Biden expresses confidence on climate in renewable energy visit

President Biden projected confidence on Tuesday that he’ll accomplish his climate goals amid questions over whether Democrats will be able to get their spending bill across the finish line.

“We’ve set a goal and the goal is achievable and I promise you, I promise you, it’s going to create great economic growth, reduce inflation, and put people in a place where those beautiful children in the back are never going to have worry about what we’re worrying about right now,” the president said during remarks in Arvada, Colo., on Tuesday.

“Remember, there’s not a damn thing we’re unable to do when we come together,” he added.

Biden’s remarks promoting his Build Back Better agenda come as Democrats are focused on passing the spending package without Republicans through budget reconciliation and moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are raising concerns about it.

Manchin has indicated that he won’t support the current $3.5 trillion proposal and also expressed opposition to a key program aimed at reducing emissions from the electric sector.

The president on Tuesday emphasized that the push is coming amid serious climate-related disasters including fires out West and recent flooding in the Northeast.

“In the end, it’s not about red states or blue states. A drought or a fire doesn’t see a property line. It doesn’t give a damn for which party you belong to. Disasters aren’t going to stop, that’s the nature of the climate threat but we know, we know what we have to do. We just need to summon the courage and the creativity to do it,” Biden said.

He surveyed wildfire damage in Mather, Calif., on Monday and ended a three-state swing through Idaho, California, and Colorado at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Flatirons Campus in Arvada.

The United Nations issued a report last month, which predicted that climate change will be seen increasingly in heat waves, more frequent and intense precipitation and droughts.

“We have to pick up the pace,” Biden said. “When I rejoined the Paris Climate Accord after we had been pulled out of it, goals set when our last administration, the Obama-Biden administration, when that was set…we had more time. We don’t have the time now. The goals are different because the necessity is there,” he said.

He noted that nearly one in three American communities have been faced with weather disasters in the past few months.

“Extreme weather we’re seeing is only going to come more frequently and with more veracity. We’re blinking code red as a nation, we really are,” he said.

“We have to make the investments that are going to slow our contributions to climate change today, not tomorrow,” Biden added.

He also took a shot at his predecessor, former President Trump, who has infamously called climate change a hoax and baselessly claimed that windmills cause cancer.

“We know what’s causing climate change: human activity. This is no longer subject to debate, and I might add — windmills do not cause cancer,” he said.

The president also pushed for the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure deal in his remarks on Tuesday, saying that “good union jobs” would be created through the deal’s federal investment in power transmission.

Biden, during his tour of the campus before his remarks, told reporters he’s “up for more climate measures” when asked if he would sign a reconciliation package with slimmed down measures to address climate change.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) spoke before the president and said climate change is “a jobs issue, it’s a quality of life issue.”

The president observed a demonstration of the campus’ wind turbine, known as ‘The Blade,’ and was joined by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local 68, and Colorado Democratic Reps. Jason Crow, Ed Perlmutter, and Joe Neguse.

“I’ve learned on this trip that we made a great investment in this laboratory. I was out here in 2011 and it’s expanded considerably,” Biden told reporters, adding that wind and solar had brought down the cost of energy so it’s “cheaper than the cost of a new coal plant.”

“These guys are changing the world, man,” Biden said, referring to one of the IBEW members.

Meanwhile, Democrats say that their legislative agenda will go far in terms of bringing the country close to meeting its climate goals, like Biden’s goal of cutting emissions at least in half by the end of the decade. 

An analysis released by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office estimates that together, the $3.5 trillion proposal and the bipartisan infrastructure bill would put the country on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030.

It also seeks to get the electric sector to 80 percent clean energy by 2030.

Major provisions that would help them get there include clean energy tax credits and a clean electricity performance program in which the government will impose rewards and fees for power providers to entice a shift towards clean power.

The proposal would also impose a “methane fee” on the oil and gas sector and incentive clean vehicle deployment. 

Tags Chuck Schumer Climate change Colorado Donald Trump Ed Perlmutter Jared Polis Jason Crow Jennifer Granholm Joe Biden Joe Manchin Joe Neguse

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