Pelosi Remarks at COP25 Climate Vulnerable Forum Action for Survival Event

December 2, 2019
Press Release

Madrid – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at the Climate Vulnerable Forum press event held during the Congressional Delegation’s visit to the United Nations COP25 in Madrid.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you so much.  Thank you so much for your leadership.  It’s an honor to be with each and every one of you and all of you, because we’re here at the heart of the matter – the vulnerable countries, vulnerable.

Thank you, Madam Prime Minister, for your courage and taking on the leadership of all of this.  Bringing your experience from the challenges you face to the reputation you enjoy, we’re all blessed by your leadership.

I am very honored to be here with a high-powered delegation from the U.S., from the U.S. Congress, and I’d like them all to stand so you can see our commitment to this climate.  We have Senator Whitehouse from the United States Senate; Mr. Chairman Raúl Grijalva; Madam Chair – where are we?  Julia Brownley, Madam Chair, but all these – our Chairmen,  Kathy Castor, Chair of our Select Committee on Climate Change; our Debbie Dingell of Michigan; Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon; Betty McCollum of Minnesota; Madam Chair of – No?  Should I start all over? 


Madam Chair from Texas – Madam Chair, thank you – Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chair of the [Science, Space and Technology] Committee; Frank Pallone, Chair of Energy and Commerce; Scott Peters of California, member of the – of that committee; Mike Levin, member of the Select Committee on Climate;  Jared Huffman, member of the Select Committee, as well from California; Joe Neguse of Colorado; Mr. Casten from Illinois – Did I reach everyone here?  All of them? 

We’re very proud of them, because they have at the top of their agenda their priority to recognize the U.S. goal in saving this planet for future generations.  This is a mission.  This is a passion.  This is a scientifically-based approach to all of our views.  And we are here to say to all of you, on behalf of the House of Representatives in the Congress of the United States, we’re still in it.  We are still in it.


We are – it’s an honor, Patrick, to be with you and to all of the distinguished guests who are here.  Patricia – oh no, we lost Patricia – but Patricia has been to California.  She’s seen what our Governor Jerry Brown and, now, our current Governor Gavin Newsom are doing in this, but you made two examples across the country: mayors, governors, non-profits, for-profits, the private sector – everyone understands.  

But nobody understands it better than our children, than what is at stake and I’m so glad that we have a youth representative that will be here, because the future is yours and you have a responsibility to save it, as well as to urge us to help you do so.

Here’s how we see it: we see this as an existential threat.  Mr. President, you were twelve, but I was at the Rio Conference, and we never would have suspected then, with all the ambition that we have – had then, that we would be where we are today, fighting this fight.  We have not, we have not lived up to the challenge.  They say the challenge that was generational, continues to be generational.

We see it as a public health issue.  Clean air, clean water for everyone, including the most vulnerable, of course, because the most vulnerable, whether it’s other nation or a vulnerable community pay the biggest price.  Clean air, clean water, public health.

We see it as an economic issue, because this is a way for us to [advance] new green technologies, based on science and technology to take us into the future, while creating good-paying jobs, lifting everyone up.

We see it as a national security issue, an issue where, as Madam Prime Minister mentioned, migration.  An issue where so many things spring from the competition of resources, when we’re talking about the encroachment of deserts, the rising sea level, the thermal management of the planet that is going astray, the – all of the – distinguished Secretary General mentioned that he had seen when he travels – the world this produces.

And we have seen, Mr. President, when we were recently in the Northern Triangle of Central America, migration resulting from the fact that farmers can’t farm because of drought, one thing or another.  Everything in nature is connected and it becomes a national security issue, when the competition for resources, land and the rest.  So, mitigation and resilience and all the rest of that, have to be so much a part of all of this and not – nowhere does it fall harder than the vulnerable nations.

And, then we see it as a moral issue.  When we were in Rio, they had a big religious service, every aspect of religion or no religion, but just belief in the future, and that was about our moral responsibility.  If you believe, as some of us do, that this is God’s creation, that we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it.  Being real sure, that if you’re faith-based or lack thereof, that we all do believe we have a moral responsibility to future generations to pass on this planet in a better way, in the best possible way.

So, that is the agenda that we bring, that and other – technology and science and the rest of that being the basis for how we can lead the challenge, but it is something very, very – how can I say this? – urgent to the people of the United States.  They understand it. Our young people are leading the way, as they are in the rest of the country.

I just want to say, next year, the G-7 will meet in San Francisco – no – in the United States.  It will probably be in Washington.  I’d like it to be in San Francisco, that’s my home district.  But, the reason I mention that is because in a meeting we had this year was in France – it was in Brest – we focused on the oceans and the challenge to the oceans.  By 2050, if we don’t do things differently, there can be as many tons of plastics in the oceans as there are tons of fish in the ocean.  That’s the urgency of addressing this urgently.  And, I’m glad that this is a blue cup about the oceans, as well. 

And I just will say this, when we focused on the – they had the G-7 of the heads of state, and then we had the G-7 of the heads of parliament and in the heads of parliament meeting, in Brest, in France, under leadership of the Prime – the President of the National Assembly, we focused on climate and the oceans.  Next year, when we have one in the United States, the title of our meeting for the heads of parliament is ‘Addressing the Climate Crisis with Economic and Environmental Justice for All.’  We see this as a big environmental justice issue, as well. 

I just want to quote His Holiness the Pope, as I close – did I say I was closing already?  His Holiness, when he came to Congress and spoke to us a few years ago, he said, and he wrote in his encyclical, no doubt they’ve seen, ‘The climate is a common good belonging to all and meant for all.’ 

Together we can and must build a climate resilient – now, this is me, I just wanted to – a resilient world to defend that common good now and for generations to come.  For health, for the economy, for security, national security and for honoring our responsibilities to future generations.  That’s why we have such a large, distinguished delegation, chairs of the committees working on this issue.  We’ve had already 100 hearings already on this subject, on the subject of climate.  We are preparing legislation, as we go forward. 

We are here to listen and learn from all of you, as to how we can do better.

Thank you all very much for the opportunity.