Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Remarks at Press Conference with U.S. Congressional Delegation to COP26 Glasgow

November 9, 2021
Press Release

Glasgow – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the U.S. Congressional Delegation to COP26 Glasgow for a press conference.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good afternoon, everyone.  It is really an honor to be here with our distinguished delegation from the House of Representatives.  I want them all to stand so you can see who they are.  Congressman Earl Blumenauer, McCollum, Pingree, Keating, Bonamici, Brownley, Huffman, Lowenthal, Beyer, Boyle, Espaillat, Casten, Escobar, Ocasio-Cortez, Levin and Neguse.  Thank you all for being here.

Today we will hear – and that's an applause line in case you didn't know.  

[Applause]

We can applaud ourselves.  We can applaud our ourselves.  This is a delegation that is so full of knowledge on the subject, determination to get the job done, holding it as a value and, again, with the beautiful diversity of our country.

I'd like to acknowledge our panelists who you will be hearing from: Congressman Frank Pallone of the Energy and Commerce Committee; Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee; Gregory Meeks, Foreign Affairs; Raúl Grijalva, Natural Resources; Kathy Castor, the Select Committee on Climate.

It is a very important meeting for the world.  We know that, and we come here equipped, ready to take on the challenge, to meet the moment.  In Madrid, for COP25, it was my privilege to address the Climate Vulnerable Forum — partner, partners, leaders event for ‘Action for Survival.’  You see now, barely two years later, the importance focused on the vulnerables. 

That time, we heard from those climate vulnerable communities as they gave us an early sounding – they had been doing it for years – another early sounding that we would hear this year, when the UN told the world that we face ‘Code Red for Humanity’ because of the climate crisis.  Our Congressional delegation comes here with the – after advancing, fresh after advancing legislation to Build Back Better, Build Back Better for Women, which represents the most ambitious and consequential climate and clean energy legislation of all time.  The nearly trillion dollar investment recognizes the interconnectedness of climate change and gender justice, which we talked about this morning.

Let me just tell you what is in the bill – and then we'll get to our colleagues.  And some of this I'll tell you in Q&A.  

Our legislation is far-reaching, ensuring that our future economy is greener and cleaner.  That means $320 billion in clean energy tax credits to develop and deploy the latest and future generations of clean power.  That means over $100 billion, in addition, for resilience, including climate-smart agriculture and nature-based climate solutions.  Another $100 billion toward local- and regional-led climate solutions, recognizing that women are leading the way.  And over $222 billion for environmental justice as part of President Biden's Justice40 pledge, long overdue for the health and economic vitality of those who have suffered from pollution and environmental injustice.  It advances President Biden's goal to fulfill our commitments in the Global Methane Pledge and Breakthrough Energy Pledge.  And we're very, very honored that we are represented on a full-time basis here by Special Envoy John Kerry. 

Now, let me just say this: in addition to all of this, there's a whole section of hundreds of billions of dollars for how we can enable everyone to participate in the economic prosperity that will flow from this, whether it's early, universal pre-K and child care, Child Tax Credit, family and medical leave – which we hope will be staying in the bill – the issue that relates to home health care.  All of these things enable families, whether it's dads or moms, but largely moms, to be in the workplace.  That's why we say ‘Build Back Better with Women.’  It has to be different. 

Let me just now – just say that, led by our delegation, the United States Congress is showing the world true climate leadership.  We're proud of our President.  He was one of the first people in Congress, in 1986, to introduce legislation to address the climate crisis.  He takes great pride in that.  He's worked on it ever since – and now in the lead as President of the United States.  He knows, as we all do, this is all about the children – leaving a world where they can be healthy, more secure and more in reach of their fulfillment. 

With that, I'm now pleased to yield the floor, as we say in Congress, to the distinguished Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  They say of that Committee: if the sun shines on it or not, whatever it is, it is the purview of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  Mr. Chairman.  You can do there.

* * *

Speaker Pelosi.  Depending on the length of the question, length of the answer, we won't have time for many questions. Did you have a question?

Q:  Hi, Dan Zak from the Washington Post.  Madam Speaker, how confident are you, what is the likelihood, that the House will pass the reconciliation bill the week of November 15th?  And then, for any representatives, President Obama spoke yesterday about Congress inhibiting the boldest kind of action, even when Democrats are in a slim majority or when Republicans are in control.  Do you see Congress ever evolving to the point where it can fully meet the boldness required when a Democratic President is in power to address this issue?  Thank you.

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, thank you very much for your question.  Yes, we intend – and that is our plan – to pass the bill the week of November 15th, as is indicated in our statements that were made at the time of passing the infrastructure bill.  And we're very proud of that.

Let me just say that when President Obama was President, and we had the Majority in the first term of that, we did pass in the House a very strong climate bill.  Sixty votes in the Senate is an obstacle that is very hard to overcome, and that is another subject for another day.  But, we did pass that – and in the Bush Administration, we passed the biggest energy bill, addressing many of the concerns that caused climate crisis, the climate crisis, the biggest energy bill in the history of our country.

So, I appreciate what the President had to say.  Of course, his vision was bigger than what the next six years of Republican majority would bring.  But, even when we had a Democratic Majority, 60 – we did not have 60, 60 in the Senate.

Another question – we have time for one more.  Is that okay?  They're telling us they have to clean the room?  I don't know.  I'm not taking offense at that.  But you should know.  Wait a minute, I want a woman, a woman.  

[Laughter]

Gender equality here.  Maybe I don't –

Q:  Abby Martin with the Empire Files.  Speaker Pelosi, you just presided over a large increase in the Pentagon budget.  This Pentagon budget is already massive.  The Pentagon is a larger polluter than 140 countries combined.  How can we seriously talk about net zero if there is this bipartisan consensus to constantly expand this large contributor to climate change, which is exempt from these conferences?  Military is exempt from climate talks.

Chairman Pallone.  Well, I just want to use an example, if I can.  You know, the sea level rise is an important part of, you know, what's happening to the climate.  And I am not a defense person, but I've had so many talks with the Defense Department – with the Navy in particular – about how they have to respond to what's going on.  So, I really do think that there is no reason why what we're putting together, you know, with Build Back Better and other things, can't respond to the Defense Department and have the same impact in terms of reducing emissions.

And I do think that the Defense Department is very much aware of the fact that they have to play a major role, both from a strategic as well as, you know, for the good of the world.  So, I don't see what we're doing in any way or, you know, increasing the defense budget as being something that's inconsistent with climate action.  I really don't.

Speaker Pelosi.  And then, just to add that, national security advisors all tell us that the climate crisis is a national security matter.  It is, of course, a health matter for our children – the water they drink, the air they breathe, et cetera.  It is a jobs issue between clean – good, clean technologies being the future of our workforce and the training for all of that.  It is a national security issue because of the – all of the conditions that climate crisis produces.  I won't go into all of them, but they are cause for migration, conflict over habitat and resources.  And again, a security challenge globally.  And then, the fourth, of course, the moral issue that we need to pass on this planet future generations in a responsible way.

Now, recognizing what you said, we recognize that as well – and a big user of, of fuel.  There have been many initiatives over time, more successful with more technology, to convert from fossil fuel to other sources of fuel to run the military, because it would make the biggest difference.  Transportation, defense – these are two of the biggest – can make the biggest difference in all of that.  And that is something we're very, very focused on.   As I say, the Defense Department sees this systemically, that we have to stop it as a national security issue.  And one way to do that is to stop our dependence on fossil fuels, which exacerbates the climate crisis.  

With that, I thank you all for being here.  Unfortunately, they're telling us they had to clean the room.  I didn't know about that, but maybe you do.  But I thank you all for joining us.  And we'll be around for a couple of days to – catch us to answer your questions.  And perhaps we can even come together, because the room was cleaned up for us and for whomever comes next.

Thank you all very much.