Pelosi Delivers Keynote Address to Opening Session of G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit

October 7, 2021
Press Release

Rome – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a keynote address to the Opening Session of the G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit, or “P20,” in Rome, Italy. The Speakers’ Summit will feature critical discussions between parliamentary leaders on coordinating international coronavirus response efforts, national security issues and united action on climate.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks at the Opening Session:

Speaker Pelosi.  Buongiorno.  Buongiorno.  It’s an honor to be here to bring the greetings of the Congress of the United States to this important meeting of the G20 Parliamentary Leaders, the Summit on ‘People, Planet and Prosperity.’ 

It is a special honor to be here with Prime Minister, His Excellency Mario Draghi.  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your leadership on the coronavirus, on climate and on so many of the challenges of our global community. 

Thank you, President Elisabetta Casellati, for your leadership, your – your hospitality here today and the wonderful role that you play as a woman and for women as President of the Italian Senate. 

Speaker Fico, thank you for the invitation to participate in this meeting.  Friends, this is my fourth meeting I will be having in recent time with Speaker Fico on the topics of this summit.  Mr. Hoyle can attest that we have all learned much from him on everything. 

It is always a welcomed opportunity for me to come to Italy to celebrate the firm bonds between our two countries, the United States and Italy, which is rooted in our shared history, values and interests and global security.  

And, personally, as the first Italian-American Speaker of the House of Representatives, I take special pride in the Italian-American community in America that is a strong link in U.S.-Italy relations. 

It is a privilege to join leaders of the parliaments of the G20 and guest countries for this important Summit to discuss the greatest challenges of our time and our opportunity to address them. 

In that spirit, I quote President Biden’s words spoken last month at the UN General Assembly: ‘We stand, in my view, at an inflection point in history...  Our security, our prosperity and our very freedoms are interconnected […] as never before.  And so, we must work together as never before.’

May I just talk about America for a moment?  In the early days of our Revolution, during the darkest hours of the Revolution, the philosopher and patriot Thomas Paine said, ‘The Times Have Found Us.’  ‘The Times Have Found Us.’  The time found them to declare independence, to fight a war and win and establish the American Democracy.  The times had found them.  

Nearly a hundred years later, the times found – President Lincoln to fight and win a war to keep that American Democracy as one country.  In the next century, in the 20th Century, as the Second World War broke out around the globe, the times found the leaders of the free world to become Allies to fight evil and make the world safe for liberty and peace. 

And, now, today, the times have found us, each and every one of us, to save the people from COVID and to save the planet from the existential threat of the climate crisis.  Now we place – not that we place ourselves in the category of greatness as those who have gone before, but because we understand the urgency of our challenge that we face.  And we must address it.  

On the climate crisis, many of the parliaments here have long recognized, have long recognized the urgency and have led the way on action.  Many of you have done that already.  You’re facing the reality of the climate crisis in your own countries.  We, the G20 Countries, are the world’s largest polluters, producing, well making up to 85, 75 percent of emissions.  And we have responsibility to act.  We have great opportunity to do so.

And we have a great opportunity to do so.  The G20 countries could mitigate the vast majority of climate change, keeping warming to 1.7 degrees Celsius if we act now – and we must.  

When our nations meet in Glasgow next month – and thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the hospitality of your country, Speaker of the U.K. and the cooperation of Italy for the G26 – the COP26.  When we go there, we must bring our highest ambitions to the table.  We must not only meet our Paris goals, we must beat them in order to limit warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius.   

In America, under President Biden, we have committed to reducing emissions by [50] percent below 2005 levels by 2030, as we work toward achieving a clean-energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050.  These are goals that we all share.  We must all join together to meet this goal around the world. 

Congratulations to many of your nations who are already taking action to meet those goals.  Working with President Biden, the United States Congress is taking action to meet these goals.  We can certainly learn from you.  

Working with President Biden, the United States Congress is taking action.  We are working on the enactment of the Biden Build Back Better agenda, which contains the most dramatic climate action of any legislation in the history of our country.  It would be a dereliction of duty to pass any infrastructure and building legislation that fails to respond to the urgency of the climate crisis.

This is about the children: leaving them a world in which they can be healthy, thrive and reach their fulfilment.  It’s always about the children, in my view. 

President Biden – in America, we are proud to have a President who was one of the first leaders in Congress to advance climate action, as early as 1986.  President Biden respects the science and understands the urgency, which is essential also for combating the coronavirus pandemic. 

Eighteen months ago, in March 2020, the world watched sadly as Italy experienced the beginning of the worst COVID outbreak in Europe.  We pray for every life lost here, and in each of our nations – lives taken by this vicious virus.  As we do so, we stand united not only in grief, but in gratitude for the courage of Italy under Prime Minister Draghi, whose example helped rally the international community to strong, coordinated action.  And we know that, globally, much more needs to be done, needs to be done.  

Nearly two years into this pandemic, we know that the most effective way to crush the virus is with safe and effective vaccines.  And let me be clear: the Biden Administration and the U.S. Congress believe that there is no choice between vaccinating Americans and vaccinating the world.  We must do both.  We can leave no one behind.  

Under the leadership of President Biden, America is delivering more vaccine doses abroad, and we have committed to sending over one billion doses to communities and countries around the globe.  Especially as Delta continues, we must work closely together in this fight.  None of us is safe until all of us are safe. 

I just want to go back to the climate issue for one moment, because, as the distinguished Madam President had said, and Speaker Fico referenced, and the Prime Minister as well, this is an issue that we have to have fairness about – equity.  It’s a justice issue.  

And as Madam President said, women were affected drastically, economically, in every way during – in the course of the pandemic, and still.  So, when we are looking at all of this, and we're talking about Building Back Better in America, we're talking about Building Back Better with women, with women, many things that exist in developed countries that we do not have in the United States: child care, early childhood education, family [and] medical leave, the list goes on, home health care and the rest.

So, we are recognizing that over four million people – women lost their jobs, only half of them are able to be back into the market, the job market because they need help with their children and other health care providing that they do at home.  

So, we see the role of women, and I thank you all for the reference to the women in Afghanistan.  I wear this ring made by them to carry them in our hearts, a constant – not that you need a reminder, but a constant flow of influence from them, inspiration from them.  It was a wonderful thing that happened for 20 years nearly, of women and girls being educated.  But we must always shine a bright light.  

In a time of COVID, in a time of, of climate crisis, there have to be opportunities for these women to succeed.

Because this climate crisis is a – it's a priority for us.  For me, I believe that this is God's creation and we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it.  But if you don't even share that religious view, we all agree that we have a moral responsibility to our children to have a planet – hand this planet to them in an important way.

It’s a health issue: clean air, clean water, clean water, clean water.  We keep emphasizing.  For them, it's a jobs issue, an economic issue: good green jobs to bring people in, more people, bring more people into prosperity.  We need to use new technologies.  It's a national security issue: security experts tell us that this is a national security issue, because we must prevent migration and conflict that stems from the competition for resources and habitat that is engendered by the climate crisis.  And then, once again, that's a moral issue.  We have to be good stewards.  We have to do so in a just way.  Justice for the most vulnerable communities among us, especially in the indigenous communities, where we have been hit first – where they have been hit first and hardest.  Speaker Fico said we will be talking about this more and then in the days, in the days ahead.

So, again, it's a – we have a lot on our plate.  We have had these parliamentary meetings from time to time, if you go back a few years, we would not have had COVID.  But we do.  And we must address it with justice and equity.  And we’ve had for a long time, had the climate crisis, some in denial about it.  All of us must accept the science, the science and also the government's to deal with it.

So, again, as Thomas Paine said, ‘The Times Have Found Us.’  We know that it is about time.  Everything is about time.  The time to crush the virus and save the planet.  Thank God for the vaccines and the blessings of science that has brought this to us.  And working together of the G20 nations must accept this challenge.  We must rise to the urgency of the moment.  I have no doubt that we will, and we must advance a better world For The People and for the planet so many more people can participate in prosperity.  

Coming back to the women again – we say in America, ‘when women succeed, America succeed.’  You could say that – any country in the world, and you can certainly say that globally.  

So, we have an opportunity to have these discussions.  I want to, again, thank our hosts for their hospitality, to Prime Minister, Madam President, Mr. Speaker.  Viva Italia.

God Bless America and all the countries represented here today.

Thank you so much.