Aug 1, 2021
Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer Climate Change Action Press Conference Transcript
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer held a press conference to discuss action on climate change on August 1. Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
We can fix it.
Senator Schumer: (00:02)
Okay. Let us rock and let us roll.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (00:06)
Let us rock and let us roll, says Majority Leader Schumer. Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us here in person in the nation’s Capitol on this very hot morning or online. My name is Tiernan Sittenfeld and I’m the senior vice president for government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters. Of course, I personally have a lot to say about the climate crisis, but I’m going to keep it extremely brief because we have a truly incredible lineup of climate champions here today, including the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and the Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (00:39)
Both of whom are tireless leaders for climate action whose presence here this morning makes clear once again that failure is not an option. The chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which put out a seminal blueprint for climate action last summer, Kathy Castor, longtime member of the House and now Senator, Ben Ray Lujan, who is fighting hard to maximize clean energy and invaluable member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a leader on coastal resiliency, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, the newest member of the House who worked on environmental issues in the Obama Administration, Congressman Melanie Stansbury is going to be joining us, I believe.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (01:19)
An incredible partner at NWF and environmental justice leader and climate power board member, Mustafa Santiago Ali, and then bringing it home will be Congressman Mike Levin who spent his career fighting for clean energy and climate action before leading on these issues in Congress. As our nation is rocked by devastating heat, fires, drought, storms, floods, longstanding environmental, and racial injustice and economic inequality, it has never been more important or more urgent that we act on the climate crisis at the scale that science and justice require.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (01:56)
Fortunately, President Biden and Vice President Harris and their incredible administration have put forward plans to do just that through Build Back Better and the American Jobs Plan. LCV, Climate Power, the Climate Action Campaign, environmental justice and labor leaders, the private sector, elected officials at all levels of government and people in every state and every district across this country are all in. We are running unprecedented campaigns to transition our country to 100% clean energy once and for all.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (02:32)
Now I know all of the speakers, everyone here is absolutely determined to make once in a generation transformational progress on climate, environmental justice, clean energy and good paying family sustaining jobs. Now I’m pleased to turn it to our speakers and then we’ll be happy to take your questions and I’m delighted to turn it to the most pro-environment speaker we’ve ever had by far, Speaker Pelosi. Thank you.
Speaker Pelosi: (02:59)
Thank you. Thank you very much for your very kind words. More importantly, for the great leadership of the League of Conservation Voters. Tiernan has been there every step of the way, whether it says an intellectual resource with the message as a mobilizer in every way. Thank you, Tiernan Sittenfeld for your great leadership. And to Mustafa Santiago Ali, welcome. Welcome to the capital. Okay, so we have a number of speakers. We have a message we want to convey in that is that it is an imperative that we get this job done and we fully intend to do it for the children, for the planet, for the future.
Speaker Pelosi: (03:38)
I’m so proud of the work of the House Democrats that we were able under Kathy Castor’s leadership to put forth a plan of action that nothing like it has ever been seen. On that same committee is Mike Levin, I’ve seen him advocate to save the planet in his district most recently last Sunday in Washington and at the COP25 in Spain. Globally, locally in every way, he has been a tremendous resource in this regard. Of course, Lisa Blunt Rochester brings her special stamp to this in terms of what this means in terms of healthcare as well as for jobs.
Speaker Pelosi: (04:20)
And we have our newest member, Melanie Stansbury. Here she is. The constant reinvigoration of the effort to get this done. We’re all honored to be here, of course, with Ben Ray Lujan, our former colleague who did this work in New Mexico even before he came to Congress and in the House and now a leader in the Senate. And of course, this is a major, major priority for the Democratic Leader of the Senate. It’s an honor to welcome him back always to the House side, where he learned so much about all of this.
Speaker Pelosi: (04:59)
He’s not denying it.
Senator Schumer: (05:02)
Much from the Speaker herself as a young Congresswoman.
Speaker Pelosi: (05:06)
He and I would both agree that we have a great leader in the White House. Joe Biden was one of the first people to ever introduce any climate legislation decades ago. So we’re in a good place to reach the goal, reach the goals that are set out. It will hopefully in the reconciliation very soon, but everybody knows that when they make that vote, it will be signed by Joe Biden, a pro climate champion in the White House. With that, I’m very pleased to yield to the distinguished champion of saving the planet in the Senate, the distinguished former member of the House, current and future Democratic Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer.
Senator Schumer: (05:58)
Thank you. Future Majority Leader as well as current Majority Leader after 2022.
Speaker Pelosi: (06:05)
I said leader.
Senator Schumer: (06:05)
Yeah. I know.
Speaker Pelosi: (06:06)
The majority. Okay. I assumed. I assumed. Assume nothing.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (06:12)
You should hear Nancy’s and my conversations as late as 11:00 last night on the phone. We have a good time. Don’t we? We do very substantive stuff. And are you rolling your eyes? But on the phone, she laughs at my jokes much more than in person. I will say that. Okay. It’s great to be here. I want to thank our great speaker has been a leader on these issues for very long time, long before she even got to the House of Representatives. I want to acknowledge we get a lot of great infusion from the House, some of the most talented people.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (06:45)
And one of them who is just already made a huge mark in the Senate on environmental issues, where he has so much experience on helping the poor, on Native Americans, on so many different issues, our great Senator from the great state of New Mexico, Ben Ray Lujan. Thank you. And I thank my House colleagues for joining us. And I want to give a special shout out to LCV, to all of the people there, Tiernan who does a fabulous, fabulous job, jean, who does a great job, Mustafa Santiago Ali, who has been involved in so many of these issues as well.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (07:22)
So now we’ve reached a moment and we’re going to look back on this moment as a pivotal, pivotal moment in the world fight against the climate crisis. What we can do in the next few months in terms of big bold action is like nothing this nation and this world has ever seen before. This is a unique opportunity. We are surrounded by evidence of the climate crisis the fires out west, the heat waves, the floods. Everywhere you look because of global warming things are getting worse and worse. And I tell my constituents in New York, COVID was horrible, but if we do nothing on climate starting within a few short years from now, each year will be worse than COVID and each year will be worse than the previous year.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (08:17)
And that’s why so many of us are so concerned with this. And no one is more concerned with this than our young generation, and I salute them and I thank the young people here. Hold up those signs. Hold them up high. These are the people who care the most. I realized it myself. I ride a bicycle all over New York City. I’m sort of known for that. I’m not a spandex guy. I’m not going at 40 miles an hour. I go slow. I take things in …
Speaker Pelosi: (08:44)
And wears a helmet.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (08:45)
And wears a helmet all the time. Thank you, Madam Speaker. And two weeks after I have a favorite ride along the wetlands of the shore of Brooklyn. It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. The Atlantic Ocean laps up on these beautiful wetlands. And two weeks after my grandson was born, my first grandchild, it hit me like a ton of bricks as I was taking my first ride after his birth. If I don’t do something, he will never experience the beauty that I was able to experience along these wetlands because the ocean will rise and these wetlands will be gone.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (09:22)
So there’s just so much that we have to get done. We feel an urgency to get it done. We know that we can’t let this moment pass us by. It’s our time to act. And as Majority Leader, I have made it clear I will not pass an infrastructure package that does not reduce carbon pollution at a scale commensurate with the urgency of the climate crisis we face, plain and simple, and that’s what Democrats intend to do. We’re United in taking on the climate crisis as we move forward with a bold infrastructure plan, the Jobs and Family Plan.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (09:56)
And through the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the budget reconciliation bill, the Senate will make our largest investments-
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (10:03)
Reconciliation Bill. The Senate will make our largest investments to tackle the climate crisis and environmental justice ever, ever, in our nation’s history. We’re going to act in a bold and comprehensive way to reduce emissions, make our infrastructure resilient, create the green jobs of the future. The three legs of the stool that Joe Biden has so brilliantly put together in his plan include climate, economic justice for communities, particularly communities of color that have been left out, and jobs, good paying jobs. And in so many instances, like in the Clean Cars for America Proposal, which I was proud to author and President Biden put into his plan, we have union support, we even have some industry support. It’s spreading, everyone knows the crisis. It’s only the people with their head in the sand or some of our Republican colleagues who in their palm of the oil, gas, and coal industry who don’t realize it or who don’t want to realize it. But the rest of the world and the rest of the country does.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (11:07)
And so we’re going to work to re-establish the US as the global leader in the fight against climate crisis, put our nation on a path to meet our president’s bold commitment to reduce emissions by 50% in 2030, while remembering jobs and economic justice as well. We’re working on these solutions, one of the things I was able already to use my power as majority leader to do was ensure that a robust Civilian Climate Corps will be included in the reconciliation package. I’m going to continue to fight, to get the biggest CCC possible. The CCC would tackle climate change by creating good paying union jobs, invest in climate, that benefit the disadvantaged. And as the crisis comes closer and closer and more and more upon us, we’ll have a educated core of people able to fight it, not just this year and next year, but on into the future.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (12:06)
So let me conclude by thanking [Jean 00:12:09], by thanking [Tiernan 00:12:11], by thanking all of the groups who participated the National Wildlife Federation, Mr. Ali. And let’s go, we got to get it done, we have no choice, our planet demands it. With that, let me call out a great leader in the house who has really been at the forefront in bringing the house, our whole diverse caucus together on this issue and that is Representative Castor of the great state of Florida. Thank you.
Representative Castor: (12:40)
Well, good morning, everyone. It’s an honor to be here with such clean energy champions from the Congress and the league of conservation voters. I want to especially thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who during her terms as speaker of the house has made tackling the climate crisis her flagship issue. She understands that clean energy solutions really are our moral obligation to our kids and future generations and that we’ve got to act now. Because right now firefighters out west are grappling with these climate fueled raging wildfires that are scorching states. We’ve seen it all across the globe, but it’s particularly devastating out west in the United States. And right now there are families grappling with the loss of loved ones to extreme heat as these heat domes build over places that have never suffered through this type of heat before in their lifetimes and people are losing their lives. Right now, farmers are grappling with the fact that their crops are failing along with their livelihoods because of extreme heat, droughts, and floods that are more unpredictable than ever. And back home on the west coast of Florida, we are in the worst occurrence of red tide fueled by warmer gulf waters, where sea life is dying off and small business owners, fishermen and families that are just simply trying to take vacation are unable to go out onto the beach.
Representative Castor: (14:20)
So the time is now for Joe Biden’s clean energy and jobs plan. And we’re really, on the house side, tired of waiting around because we do not have any time to waste. We don’t have time for half-measures any longer. The Biden plan sets us on a course to meet our clean energy goals, to lead the world in clean energy solutions, and you can see that even though I cited some of the devastating consequences and the escalating cost of the climate crisis, right now there is hope on the horizon because there are auto makers out there, auto workers who are poised to start putting together the F150 lightening all-electric truck that already has over a 100,000 orders, good paying union jobs. There is hope because young adults are watching here to make sure that the Senate actually crafts a significant Civilian Climate Corp because young people today want to solve the climate crisis. They want to be part of the solutions and they are motivated to do so. There are shipbuilders out there right now that are welding together, the vessels to help deploy offshore wind turbines all across the east coast and hopefully now along the west coast of the country as well.
Representative Castor: (15:45)
There are clean energy workers in all 50 states, building solar arrays, putting together the onshore wind turbines, creating our clean energy future. And remember those clean energy jobs now are paying higher than the median wage across America. These are good paying, family sustaining unionized jobs. So there is hope, but time is short. We are running out of time. The Senate, I urge them to get their act together. I know that one of the people over there among the clean energy champions is my former colleague and very good friend, Senator Ben Ray Lujan, who is in the arena every single day fighting for clean energy and good paying family sustaining jobs to solve the climate crisis. Ben Ray.
Senator Ben Ray Lujan: (16:37)
Thank you. Well, I want to thank Chair Castor, Kathy, thank you so much representative for the work you are doing leading the climate crisis committee. Speaker Pelosi, who is relentless and reminds us that we must meet this moment. She’s continued to bring us together to encourage and inspire the country with their advocacy from when she was first elected to the US House of Representatives, to now serving as our speaker. To be able to be joined by fellow New Mexicans up here, not just our newest US representative and Melanie Stansbury, but also [inaudible 00:17:17] who is a recent graduate from New Mexico that is working with LCV as well. Tiernan and Jean, I want to say thank you to you and to LCB for the work that you are doing.
Senator Ben Ray Lujan: (17:29)
We all understand what’s happening across the country. And if you need to get a better look and if you’re not yet convinced, look out west. Those fires that my colleagues have talked about that are devastating communities that are making it harder to breathe. We’re seeing reservoirs that have record lows when it comes to water availability, that also means less electricity that will be produced as well. This is devastating. It’s hurting farmers, it’s hurting food production, it will create more famine around the world. It’s a national security threat. And just look to the warnings that have been included from reports from the department of defense, not just under President Barack Obama, but under President Trump. It’s a national security crisis. We must meet this moment. And so as the climate crisis continues to threaten our livelihoods, our health and our wellbeing. Look at those record setting temperatures, the violent storms and natural disasters.
Senator Ben Ray Lujan: (18:29)
But here’s the upside of this. We have an opportunity right now to meet this moment and do it in a way that we’re going to create good jobs. Chair Castor laid them out. The work that’s already being done across the country. There are elements that are already included that we know about that have been announced by leader Schumer. The budget resolution includes that Civilian Climate Corp to create an army of people across America that will meet this moment as well. The framework creates a clean electricity standard that I had the honor of working with. Chair Castor, with Speaker Pelosi, with United States Senator Tina Smith, that was included in the climate crisis report that will reduce emissions the most of any piece of legislation that was included. Plugging abandoned oil and gas Wells across the country, reducing methane emissions. So in the end, we know that this climate crisis impacts all of us. We cannot let up and we have to meet this moment because Americans are counting on us. It’s an honor to be able to turn this over now to one of our other colleagues that has been championing these issues that makes a positive difference every day. And that’s none other than our very own United States Senator Lisa Blunt Rochester [crosstalk 00:19:43]. In a few years, we’ll be announcing that, but Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester.
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester: (19:50)
Thank you Ben Ray. Thank you so much. Thank you Senator Lujan, Madam Speaker, leader Schumer in your absence, colleagues, guests. I’m so proud to be standing with some real environmental champions.
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester: (20:03)
So proud to be standing with some real environmental champions. I want to especially thank LCV the League of Conservation Voters for your tireless work and efforts. I have to admit last night, I really struggled. I really struggled, and I know everybody’s over there, but I’m going to tell all of you are still over here. I’ve really struggled with how to in a few minutes, really talk about the fate of our planet and her people. I went to sleep. I woke up and I prayed. And then I typically will just pull a book off of a shelf of quotations. Today’s book that I pulled with my eyes closed was Martin Luther King. And I opened up to page eight. And there’s a quote that says, “All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” The bottom line is we’re all in this together.
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester: (21:04)
We are connected to each other. We are connected to this planet. And so that’s why today there is a sense of urgency. There is a call to make sure that we get the bold investments that are necessary to meet the moment. You see in Delaware, it’s not about potential impacts. It’s not about hypotheticals. We are the lowest lying state in the nation and we are living the impacts of climate change and extreme weather every single day. When our president or I travel our state, we see environmental justice communities where, when it rains, it floods. We see farmers who don’t know how to predict the weather, so therefore they don’t know how to predict the crops. We see our beaches erode every single day. We also see young people like my niece, 17 year old Hannah, who are scared to death of what the future holds and if there will even be a future.
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester: (22:10)
But while our plight is one of global proportions, so too are the opportunities for transformation. As the former Secretary of Labor of Delaware, a current member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the co-founder and chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Future Work Caucus, I know that for decades, we’ve been given a false choice that it’s jobs or the climate. But as my colleagues have already stated, it’s both. We can’t build a world-class infrastructure, if we don’t have good paying jobs that lead to clean energy. It is the intersection of saving the planet and those who inhabit it, protecting our health, creating good paying jobs, improving our quality of life and ensuring equity. Equity. Equity. And justice for all. We must be bold. We must be brave. And our investment must be big enough to meet the challenge of our generation and the generations to come. We can do this. Can we do this? We can do this. So let’s do it. I am now pleased to introduce one of our newest members, the gentlewoman from New Mexico, the land of enchantment, representative, Melanie Stansbury.
Melanie Stansbury: (23:41)
Well, good morning. I want to start by saying the science is clear. We need climate action now. And as one of the newest members, in fact, the newest member of this body, I want to say that I was elected to come here to Washington to ensure that we take climate action now, because the future of our communities depends on it. Not just the wellbeing of our country, but the wellbeing of our planet. And right now scientists across the world are convening to update the IPCCs Report because the science is clear. We must take action now. We need critical investments in our communities. We need investments in clean energy. We need investments in resilient infrastructure to weather the impacts that are already happening to our communities. From drought, to catastrophic fire, to heat waves, to ensuring that our communities do not find themselves under water or without a capacity to support themselves, to sustain food security and to ensure that we are not only providing a resilient and just and equitable future for our communities, but that we are doing so in a way that is just and equitable for the entire planet. The survival of our planet, our communities, and our country depends on bold action now.
Melanie Stansbury: (25:18)
In my home state, in New Mexico, we are already experiencing extreme drought. Our communities, which have lived for thousands of years on the land are facing an uncertain future because of climate change. We are already, already experiencing these impacts, and that is why we need bold action now to invest in infrastructure, to invest in our communities, to invest through the budget, through reconciliation, and through this infrastructure package to ensure that our communities have the tools to thrive and survive. The time is now to be decisive, to be brave in our policymaking, to be bold in our investments and yes, to lean into the science because we have to build a future that is more just, more equitable, and more climate resilient. And that means that our body, Congress, has to act now. And with that, I want to thank you all. I want to thank my colleagues for their tremendous leadership on this issue. And I will now turn it over to Mustafa Santiago with the National Wildlife Federation. And thank you.
Mustafa Santiago: (26:41)
Morning everyone. Let’s try it again. Good morning, everyone. This is a historical moment. This is a transformational moment. Some would even say, this is our lunch counter moment. We have an opportunity to make real change happen, but we have to be serious. We have to be focused and we have to be authentic. On this historical moment, also, let me just call up that today is my mother’s birthday. How many folks here actually love your mama? Raise your hand if you love your mama. Everybody look around, you’ve got some cameras, catch them. My mama taught me some incredible lessons. She raised a family in Appalachia and in Michigan of union workers. So we understand the value that exists inside of that space of making sure that folks have jobs that can be transformational, jobs that can actually make a real change happen inside of communities across our country.
Mustafa Santiago: (27:37)
And we also understand that there is the Build Back Better Program that the president has put in front of us. And we understand inside of that is the clean economy. And inside of that clean economy, we can help to address the environmental injustices that still happen across our country, to change that dynamic and to actually help them also build wealth inside of communities, or we can do nothing. And if we do nothing, the climate crisis will continue to expand. And the climate crisis is just not a theoretical concept. It is about real people and the impacts that are happening inside of their communities. But we can flip the script. We can actually make sure that we are helping to strengthen those communities, to build a foundation underneath that those communities, to make real change happen because we’ve all seen very clearly how the climate crisis plays out.
Mustafa Santiago: (28:28)
We see firefighters who are fighting massive fires time and time and time and time again, but they keep going on. We’ve seen the floods that are happening, biblical floods. Let’s just call it what it is. People are trying to figure out how they’re going to navigate it. We know the hurricanes that continue to happen and folks are trying to figure out how am I going to escape? And then how am I going to get back home? This is a part of the sets of opportunities that we have in front us if we are willing to make the investments. If we are willing to pull each other together to actually make real change happen, because we are talking about real people with real lives. We’re talking about places like Port Arthur, Texas, and the Manchester community in Houston, Texas. Hardworking folks who will continue to be impacted from the pollution that is warming up our oceans and warming up our planet and driving many of the climate emergencies that we find ourselves dealing with.
Mustafa Santiago: (29:21)
How do we fix this is the question that far too many people still ask. The president has laid out a framework force, but there are some things that we can do to make sure that on his desk at this moment to make real change happen. We know that we’ve got to make real investments. So the climate energy tax credits are so incredibly important. $500 billion to make sure that we are supporting the infrastructure underneath of solar and wind and electric vehicles and charging stations. And to make sure that there’s equity in that process where no one is left behind and everyone has the opportunity to benefit from that. We know that we need to have a clean electricity standard. We need that commitment.
Mustafa Santiago: (30:02)
The clean electricity standard. We need that commitment that by 2035, we will have 100% clean electricity. Those in vulnerable communities will appreciate that because over 100,000 people die prematurely every year in our country from air pollution, and we know where many of those drivers are coming from. If we can get to clean electricity, 100% we can change that dynamic. The brothers and sisters in Detroit on the Southwest side, when they look out and they see those refineries, understand the changes that have to happen. And not only that they have to happen, but they will happen if we are willing to come together to make real change happen.
Mustafa Santiago: (30:37)
I will leave you with the words that I was raised on by Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. But before I do that, there’s one element that we have not talked about today, and that is the For the People Act. We have got to pass the For the People Act. We have to make sure that both on the local, the county, the state, and the federal level, that people’s votes are protected so that we can continue to push to make sure that the right policies are in place, and to make sure that also the investments are going to the spaces and places who have often been unseen and unheard. We can do that today. We’ve got to make sure that Justice 40 Initiative, that those benefits and resources are making it to those communities who have been on the front lines working. We can do that today.
Mustafa Santiago: (31:18)
Folks talked about the climate corp and how we can strengthen our natural infrastructure and how we can make sure that we are mitigating many of the impacts that we see in front of us. Dr. King said, “That we come to these shores in different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.” I want you to think about that. We are in this boat together, but we have a North Star. The North Star is our new economy that is driven by justice. I’ll share this with you as I close. I was taught as a young boy that we have power, unless we give it away. Embrace your power, hold people accountable, get engaged in the process, and I guarantee you that we can make change happen. I’m Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali. Thank you all for a couple of minutes of your time.
Speaker 2: (32:02)
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (32:04)
Good job. Good job. Hi everybody. I’m Mike Levin from Southern California. Mustafa is a hard act to follow, I’ve got to say. But by the way, you should notice that the house members stuck around. I don’t know where Ben Ray and Senator… Hopefully they went to negotiate a deal. But I told the Senator Lujan, who we miss very dearly, that we are ready to stay as long as it takes if the Senate sends us a deal. And we miss him very much in the house, we miss him on the select committee.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (32:29)
I want to thank LCV. Tiernan and Jean, and everybody that’s involved, you’ve just been amazing to work with. We’re so honored to continue our work together. I want to thank Chair Castor for just her exceptional leadership on the select committee for the climate crisis. And I want to thank my colleagues, Lisa and Melanie, for the amazing work that they do. And I’m so hopeful that Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer and others are going to come together in the coming days and weeks, and that we’re going to be able to get a big bill that we can all be proud of across the finish line.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (32:59)
I really want to focus for just a second on Southern California, because that’s where I represent, in San Diego and Orange Counties. We’re seeing unprecedented impacts of the climate crisis, rising sea levels, increasing storm surge that are causing our coastal bluffs in my district to erode more than ever before, threatening lives, threatening property, threatening critical infrastructure like the Los Angeles, San Diego rail corridor, one of the busiest in the United States. That rail service alone supports billions of dollars in economic activity, as well as critical military operations throughout our region. So climate change is happening right now. It’s not theoretical for us in Southern California. We see it. We feel it. Our economy is suffering because of it, and lives and livelihoods are at stake.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (33:45)
So we have a responsibility to take bold action now, as has been said, and we have to be clear about what we’re proposing. Sometimes I hear about the costs of action, but folks, these are investments. These are investments. Let’s talk for a second about the cost of doing nothing. The cost of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of the actions we propose. I have a friend, Marshall Burke, who’s an economist at Stanford University who has concluded that if we keep the status quo, it will cost our domestic economy 25 trillion, $25 trillion in the coming decades. So we have a choice. We have a choice. We invest in climate action today, or we pay for the consequences tomorrow. Remind your friends of that the next time they claim that all of this is going to cost too much money. Remind them that doing nothing costs more.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (34:36)
So I was so encouraged that recently we had a letter that 133 of my house colleagues signed onto, ranging the ideological spectrum from the most progressive to the most moderate. And we outlined five priorities that we demanded in climate action. Number one, 100% carbon free energy powered electricity grid by 2035, that promotes electric vehicles. Number two, the basic right of clean water by replacing lead pipes and service lines. Number three, millions of high-quality, well-paying union jobs in the domestic clean energy and manufacturing sectors. Number four, justice and equity for low income and communities of color harmed by the legacy of toxic pollution. And number five, investments in our natural infrastructure, restoration and reclamation of damaged lands.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (35:25)
We put that letter out. We didn’t know how many people we’d have signed on to that letter, nor did we know who in our caucus would sign on, but I was so encouraged, again, 133 of my colleagues and myself from all different parts of our house, democratic caucus, signed on and they are united. We are all united in this belief that we need climate action. It needs to be big. It needs to be bold and it needs to happen now. On behalf of our children, my wife and I have two kids at home, ages nine and seven. On behalf of their children someday, we have to meet moment. We have to take action that is commensurate with the science. We have to go with our heads held high later this year to the international community. And we have to be proud of the big and bold bill that we got across the finish line.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (36:11)
So thank you so much. And with that, I think we’re ready to take a few questions. We got our first one from Dino Grandoni at the Washington Post who’s watching online. Hello, Dino. He asked, what does it mean that we are three and a half months away from Glasgow, and the Biden administration hasn’t spelled out how exactly it will meet its climate pledge?
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (36:31)
Well, Dino, I can tell you as part of the delegation that attended the last climate COP conference in Madrid, and I hope as part of the delegation that will attend this year in Glasgow this year, we’ll go with our heads held high knowing that the administration supports bold climate action. That was not the case when we went last time. We went and we had to signal to the international community that we are still in, in terms of the Paris Agreement, in terms of our international climate commitments. In fact, we all wore buttons that said, “We’re still in.” Well, no mistake this time. They know we’re in. They know we’re going to meet the moment.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (37:07)
And my great hope and expectation is we’ll be able to go to Glasgow with a great climate bill that’ll demonstrate our commitment to our Paris objectives. And perhaps I’ll turn it over to Chair Castor if she has any additional thoughts on Glasgow.
Representative Castor: (37:25)
Well, there’s a reason that league of conservation voters is leading this presser today. It’s up to the public. It’s up to all of the people all across America right now who are entirely frustrated with the pace of progress here in Washington. I share their frustration, and the time is now to weigh in. President Biden has put forward the most significant clean energy and jobs plan in the history of this country, and we are waiting for action in the United States, and all of us have been waiting for this. And they have got to produce a product that meets the goals for clean energy, reduces carbon pollution, and really meets the moral obligation that we have to our kids and future generations that we just don’t have any more time to waste. But it’s really up to the public. We need you now to weigh in with the senators. Thank you.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (38:25)
Do we have any questions?
Speaker 3: (38:28)
Yes. Congressman Castor, specific to Florida, can you speak to what the Congress can do about the current red tide crisis of the bloom?
Representative Castor: (38:38)
Well, in the context of clean energy here, the Gulf of Mexico waters are very warm. We see it now with the most active hurricane season last year. You see it in rising costs on everyday families that are paying more for flood insurance, property insurance, all of that. So when it comes to climate, it is reducing carbon pollution. And Florida, unfortunately it’s called the sunshine state, but we generate a very small percentage from solar power. One of the things I love about Florida is we have the best citrus. We export it all over the country, all over the world. Why can’t we do that with solar power and solar energy? That doesn’t make sense whatsoever. We’ve got to make sure we are moving to the clean energy future, empowering workers, providing them those career paths in clean energy and doing it, like my colleagues have said, with an eye towards equity so that everyone benefits.
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (39:39)
Speaker 4: (39:42)
Great. I think we’ve kept you all out here too long already. Thank you all so much for coming and onward.
Representative Castor: (39:48)
Great. [crosstalk 00:39:49].
Tiernan Sittenfeld: (39:49)
Thank you. Great job, Mustafa. Tough act to follow, this guy. Great job. Thank you. You’re awesome.