Biden Visits Storm-Damaged California

President Joe Biden repeated his warnings about climate change on Thursday during a visit to California as he toured the damage caused by recent storms.

The president promised more federal help and touted his plan to mitigate the effects of extreme weather, which Biden said are caused by climate change.

“We have to invest in stronger infrastructure to lessen the impact of these disasters because they become cumulative, in a sense,” he said. “We’ve already allocated funding from the infrastructure law that I signed a year ago.”

His top emergency official delivered a sobering assessment of the situation as Biden flew across the nation to witness the damage firsthand with California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“California has really experienced some unprecedented storms — nine atmospheric rivers that have gone through since right before the new year,” said Deanne Criswell, who heads the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “When I talk to people on the ground, what they told me is that, you know, these storms are coming with hurricane-strength winds, and they’re also making incredible storm surge-like conditions with the surf. And so, they felt like it was being hit by hurricane after hurricane.”

Biden said he’s made strides toward managing the effects of climate change through the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, which sends nearly $400 billion in federal funding to clean energy — a move aimed at meeting the U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

And he’s promoted U.S. innovation in clean energy through electric vehicles and more.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed 500 personnel across the state in its disaster response. It has also provided 100,000 meals, 100,000 liters of water, 20,000 blankets and 10,000 cots for shelters, the president said.

The deadly cycle of storms began on Dec. 27. It brought sustained winds of 100 mph and rain totals up to 30 inches in some areas. Another series of storms — “atmospheric river” storms — began striking the bay area last weekend. Meanwhile, northern California is forecast to receive a heavy dose of snowfall heading into the weekend.

Before closing a briefing with the press on Thursday, Biden was asked if he has regrets about classified documents that were found in his office at the University of Pennsylvania.

“We found a handful of documents that were filed in the wrong place,” he said. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department. We’re fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there. I have no regrets. I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. It’s exactly what we’re doing.


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