President Joe Biden’s message to Colorado: Act on climate change now

America cannot wait any longer to make large investments in clean energy and combat climate change, President Joe Biden said Tuesday in Jefferson County.

“Climate change is here today, not next year or 10 years from now. We have to make changes to slow climate change now, not in 10 years,” he said in remarks after touring the National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus in Arvada, which is home to the National Wind Technology Center.

“We know what’s causing climate change: human activity. This is no longer a subject of debate. Might I add, windmills do not cause cancer,” the Democratic president said in a mocking nod to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

Biden said that because of research at NREL, the wind and battery technology needed to reduce the effects of climate change “are not science fiction.” He added that “extreme weather we’re seeing is only going to come with more frequency and more ferocity.”

“In Denver, we’re going to help Mayor (Michael) Hancock achieve his goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 80%,” Biden said, referring to one of the many prominent Democrats who greeted him Tuesday on his first trip to the state as president.

Gov. Jared Polis, Reps. Joe Neguse, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter and some statehouse Democrats were also in attendance at NREL.

Climate change factored into the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill that the U.S. Senate passed last month — including $917 million for Colorado’s public transportation systems and $57 million to expand the state’s network of electric vehicle charging stations. The bill has not yet been voted on in the U.S. House.

Biden said the bill “contains the largest federal investment in power transition in our history, so that our grid is more reliable and can carry more renewable energy, so we can create good union jobs building that new energy grid while also making dramatic investments in public transit.”

The president’s Colorado stop was the last leg of a two-day western tour, following appearances in Idaho and California on Monday. In those states, he discussed wildfire mitigation and campaigned with California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose recall election was Tuesday.

Hours before the president’s arrival, protesters lined the road leading to NREL, holding American flags and banners that read “Trump Won” and “(Expletive) Biden.”

Biden’s remarks come at a time when Congress is crafting what he hopes will be legislation that helps define his presidency — a $3.5 trillion expansion of social safety net programs funded by higher taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans. But the plan faces an uncertain fate because all Republicans in Congress and some moderate Democrats oppose its massive price tag.

“Rising gas prices, skyrocketing inflation, trillions in unnecessary spending, abandoning Americans and allies in Afghanistan — that is the real record of the Biden-Harris administration,” Colorado Republican Party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown said in a statement Tuesday.

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