Biden's Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Session 1 and 2: Investing in Climate Solutions

Joe Biden
 

JOE BIDEN:  Thank you, Madam Vice President.

 Good morning to all of our colleagues around the world — the world leaders who are taking part in this summit.  I thank you.  You know, your leadership on this issue is a statement to the people of your nation and to the people of every nation, especially our young people, that we’re ready to meet this moment.  And meeting this moment is about more than preserving our planet; it’s also about providing a better future for all of us. 

White House YouTube, Biden's Speech at 3 Minutes 25 Seconds
That’s why, when people talk about climate, I think jobs.  Within our climate response lies an extraordinary engine of job creation and economic opportunity ready to be fired up.  That’s why I’ve proposed a huge investment in American infrastructure and American innovation to tap the economic opportunity that climate change presents our workers and our communities, especially those too often that have — left out and left behind. 
 
I’d like to build- — I want to build a — a critical infrastructure to produce and deploy clean technology — both those we can harness today and those that we’ll invent tomorrow.
 
I talked to the experts, and I see the potential for a more prosperous and equitable future.  The signs are unmistakable.  The science is undeniable.  But the cost of inaction is — keeps mounting. 
 
The United States isn’t waiting.  We are resolving to take action — not only the — our federal government, but our cities and our states all across our country; small businesses, large businesses, large corporations; American workers in every field. 
 
I see an opportunity to create millions of good-paying, middle-class, union jobs. 
 
I see line workers laying thousands of miles of transmission lines for a clean, modern, resilient grid. 
 
I see workers capping hundreds of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells that need to be cleaned up, and abandoned coal mines that need to be reclaimed, putting a stop to the methane leaks and protecting the health of our communities. 
 
I see autoworkers building the next generation of electric vehicles, and electricians installing nationwide for 500,000 charging stations along our highways. 
 
I see engine- — the engineers and the construction workers building new carbon capture and green hydrogen plants to forge cleaner steel and cement and produce clean power. 
 
I see farmers deploying cutting-edge tools to make soil of our — of our Heartland the next frontier in carbon innovation. 
 
By maintaining those investments and putting these people to work, the United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half — in half by the end of this decade.  That’s where we’re headed as a nation, and that’s what we can do if we take action to build an economy that’s not only more prosperous, but healthier, fairer, and cleaner for the entire planet. 
 
You know, these steps will set America on a path of net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050.  But the truth is, America represents less than 15 percent of the world’s emissions.  No nation can solve this crisis on our own, as I know you all fully understand.  All of us, all of us — and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies — we have to step up. 
 
You know, those that do take action and make bold investments in their people and clean energy future will win the good jobs of tomorrow, and make their economies more resilient and more competitive. 
 
So let’s run that race; win more — win more sustainable future than we have now; overcome the existential crisis of our times.  We know just how critically important that is because scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade.  This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis.  We must try to keep the Earth’s temperature and — to an increase of — to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
 
You know, the world beyond 1.5 degrees means more frequent and intense fires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, and hurricanes tearing through communities, ripping away lives and livelihoods, increasingly dire impacts to our public health.
 
It’s undeniable and undevi- — you know, the idea of accelerating and the reality that will come if we don’t move.  We can’t resign ourselves to that future.  We have to take action, all of us. 
 
And this summit is our first step on the road we’ll travel together — God willing, all of us — to and through Glasgow this November and the U.N. Climate Conference — the Climate Change Conf- — Conference, you know, to set our world on a path to a secure, prosperous, and sustainable future.  The health of communities throughout the world depends on it.  The well-being of our workers depends on it.  The strength of our economies depends on it. 
 
The countries that take decisive action now to create the industries of the future will be the ones that reap the economic benefits of the clean energy boom that’s coming.
 
You know, we’re here at this summit to discuss how each of us, each country, can set higher climate ambitions that will in turn create good-paying jobs, advance innovative technologies, and help vulnerable countries adapt to climate impacts.
 
We have to move.  We have to move quickly to meet these challenges.  The steps our countries take between now and Glasgow will set the world up for success to protect livelihoods around the world and keep global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius.  We must get on the path now in order to do that. 
 
If we do, we’ll breathe easier, literally and figuratively; we’ll create good jobs here at home for millions of Americans, and lay a strong foundation for growth for the future.  And — and that — that can be your goal as well.  This is a moral imperative, an economic imperative, a moment of peril but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities. 
 
Time is short, but I believe we can do this.  And I believe that we will do this. 
 
Thank you for being part of the summit.  Thank you for the communities that you — and the commitments you have made, the communities you’re from.  God bless you all. 
 
And I look forward to progress that we can make together today and beyond.  We really have no choice.  We have to get this done.

President Biden at the Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Session 2: Investing in Climate Solutions

Biden:  Well, hello again, everyone.  Welcome back.  As I mentioned this morning, meeting the moment on climate change must begin with a recognition that every nation has a responsibility and every nation is at risk.
 
Hurricanes and wildfires don’t confine themselves to national borders.  Instability and displacement in one country has ripple effects that are felt throughout the regions and across the world.

 Taking on climate change together is more than just the right thing to do; it’s also in everyone’s best interests to do it.  Meeting this challenge is going to require mobilizing financing at an unprecedented scale.
 
The private sector is already recognizing this.  They know that climate change is more than a threat.  It also presents one of the largest job creation opportunities in history.  Hundreds of billions of dollars are already being invested worldwide every year, supporting projects to help build a resilient economy with net-zero emission goals.
 
But the private sector has more it can do and must do.  Let’s be clear: Even then, the private sector can’t meet these challenges alone.  Governments need to step up and they need to lead.
 
We have a role to play in making sure that material climate risks to financial systems are measured, disclosed, and mitigated.  If Wall Street is pumping billions of dollars into business that could be turned upside down when the next storm comes — and we know there will be more storms — Wall Street needs to make clear the risk it’s taking on.
 
Those dollars — those dollars being invested are often the hard-earned savings of our workers — pensions.  We can’t take steps to protect our workers if we don’t step up.  We have to be able to move forward from the downside deal, then into the upside, and strengthen the resilience of our financial system.  I have directed my team to develop an approach to do exactly that.
 
You know, and our nations must — all of our nations must stand together in shifting policies and on public investment as well, you know, to invest in breakthrough technologies; to finally end fossil fuel subsidies; to help the world’s most vulnerable nations and those bearing the least responsibility for the climate crisis cope with the devastating impacts of the climate crisis; you know, to help developing economies leapfrog to a clean technologies of tomorrow; to mobilize the trillions of dollars needed to make the most of the opportunity to build a clean-energy, job-rich path to meet our goals; to make sure that our climate response is about more than just building and developing new sectors, but also about international security, regional stability, food security, and gender and racial equity as well.
 
You know, our shared goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year in developing countries is critical for achieving that.  You know, it’s an investment that’s going to pay significant dividends for all of us.  And to help meet that goal, the United States will double its 2024 — by 2024, our annual public climate financing development to developing countries.  Compare that to what we were providing during the second half of the Obama-Biden administration.
 
At the same time, we intend to triple our public financing for climate application in developing countries by 2024, recognizing the dividends that pays in reducing the costs of disasters and conflicts are avoided.
 
You know, our Development Finance Corporation is committing to net-zero emissions through its investment portfolio by 2040 and to increase climate-focused investments to 33 percent of all new investments beginning in 2023, the earliest of any country.
 
In addition, today we are issuing America’s first-ever International Climate Fi- — Finance Plan.  This plan represents our vision for financing the global- — the global climate response in a coordinated way.  It lays out specific steps that federal agencies of the United States will take to increase both the quality and quantity of climate financing.
 
And it will help us spur the private sector to contribute more to climate solutions in developing nations and here at home as well.
 
You know, this moment demands urgency.  Good ideas and good intentions aren’t good enough.  We need to ensure that the financing will be there, both public and private, to meet the moment on climate change and to help us seize the opportunity for good jobs, strong economies, and a more secure world. 
 
I’m confident — I’m confident that we are going to get this done together.  And I look forward to the progress we’re going to make together in today’s sessions.
 
So, let’s move on. 

Image, Video and Print Source: The White House

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