Vice President Kamala Harris warned about the threats posed by climate change Wednesday as she lauded the Biden administration’s policies to combat those problems.
“This is the planet we’ve got,” Harris said during a conversation about climate change at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. “There is a whole lot of work that can be done, but the clock is not just ticking, it’s like banging,” she said. “It is requiring us to move quickly, but there is so much to be excited about in terms of what we can do.”
The vice president’s conversation came on the heels of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech Tuesday. Biden, Harris and other top administration officials are spreading out across the country this week to extol their policies (Greenwire, Feb. 8).
Asked which aspect of climate policy Harris is most passionate about, she replied, “water policy.”
Access to clean water “should be a right,” she said. “And when we look at extreme climate, we see that we are experiencing drought around the world.”
Water scarcity is a national security issue, Harris said. “If people don’t have water where they live, they will leave where they live. If they cannot grow food where they live, they will leave where they live,” she added.
“They will invariably go to places that speak a different language and pray to a different God, and what do you think might happen then? You’re probably looking at the beginning of conflict,” Harris said.
Harris, who described herself as a “water policy geek,” has been central to the Biden administration’s public push to replace every lead service line in the nation over the next decade.
“When I think about water policy, I put it in a context that is both local” in terms of the clean water crises in Flint, Mich., and Mississippi, “and I think about it in a global perspective,” she said.