Biden takes climate-law victory lap at U.N.

By Robin Bravender | 09/21/2022 01:30 PM EDT

“We all know we’re already living in a climate crisis,” the president told the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, at the U.N. headquarters.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday at the U.N. headquarters. AP

President Joe Biden touted his climate policies in an address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday as he called for nations to work together to “turn back the tide of climate devastation.”

Climate change was a key part of the president’s message to global leaders in New York on Wednesday morning in a wide-ranging speech in which he condemned the Russian war on Ukraine, announced new funding for global food security, and called for reproductive and religious freedom.

Biden celebrated the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $369 billion for climate and renewable energy programs. “Our investments will also help reduce the cost of developing clean energy technologies worldwide, not just the United States,” Biden said.


“This is a global game-changer. And none too soon. We don’t have much time,” he added. “We all know we’re already living in a climate crisis.”

Biden pointed to devastating flooding in Pakistan and drought in the Horn of Africa. “Families are facing impossible choices, choosing which child to feed and wondering whether they’ll survive,” the president said. “This is the human cost of climate change, and it’s growing, not lessening.”

The United States, Biden told leaders, “will work with every nation, including our competitors, to solve global problems like climate change.”

Climate diplomacy, he added, “is not a favor to the United States or any other nation, and walking away hurts the entire world.”

Biden Secretary of State Antony Blinken and special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry were in the crowd Wednesday. Kerry and his team are preparing for the next major round of U.N. climate negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.

Ahead of his U.N. speech Wednesday, Biden also warned about the impacts of climate change Tuesday night at a Democratic National Committee reception at a private residence in New York.

“Does anybody think … global warming is not real? Does anybody — except our Republican friends? I’m not joking,” he said at the event, according to a transcript released by the White House.

“Literally — literally, not figuratively — literally, it’s the single greatest existential threat humanity has faced. It’s more than a couple of hydrogen bombs, man. Not a joke.”