US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the world is facing a "red alert" for the "danger" of climate change, as he evaluates the damage caused by the passage of Hurricane Ida in New York and New Jersey.
“We have to listen to scientists, economists, and national security experts. Everyone tells us this is a red alert, ”said Biden in the New York borough of Queens, which was badly affected by last week's flooding, which he traveled after visiting Manville, New Jersey.
«The nation and the world are in danger. That is not an exaggeration. That is a fact, "he said in a speech.
Biden, who is pushing for a gargantuan infrastructure spending bill that includes significant funding for the green economy, argues that extreme weather events in the United States this summer herald worse manifestations of global warming.
"This is everyone's crisis," he warned. These disasters will not stop. They will only come more frequently and fiercely.
The systemic improvement and strengthening of the nation's infrastructure is an urgent need, the Democratic president said, noting proposed changes: flood-proof power plants, buildings elevated above ground level and underground power lines.
"You can't just rebuild it back to what it was before, because another tornado, another 10 inches (25,4 cm) of rain will produce the same result," Biden said in remarks earlier in Hillsborough Township, NJ.
“We are at one of those inflection points where we act or we will be in serious, serious trouble. Our children will be in serious trouble, "he emphasized.
Ida hit the Gulf of Mexico coast on Aug. 29 as a Category 4 hurricane, causing major flooding and knocking out swaths of that densely populated southern region of the country and an enclave of the US oil industry.
The torrential rains that Ida caused on its way to the northeast of the country surprised authorities in the New York region with flash floods.
The storm killed at least 47 people in the northeastern United States, turning the streets of many cities into raging rivers, flooding basements and causing the New York City subway to close.
And as the south and northeast of the country suffer from the consequences of hurricanes, California and other parts of the west are battling increasingly rampant wildfires.
Following the complicated military pullout from Afghanistan and rising COVID-19 infections, Biden faces a tough next few weeks, including a battle to get the tightly divided Congress to approve his infrastructure plans. The White House hopes that the dramatic impact of Hurricane Ida on two different ends of the country will spur the adoption of the spending bills.
"It is imperative to act to address the climate crisis and invest ... through its 'Build Back Better' agenda that is being debated in Congress," Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
In the last few months alone, "100 million Americans have been affected by extreme weather," he stressed.