Return to Transcripts main page
At This Hour
Biden Calls On World Leaders To Combat Climate Crisis; U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Texas Abortion Law. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired November 01, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By well over a gigaton by 2030, while making it more affordable for consumers to save on their own energy bills with tax credits for things like installing solar panels, weatherizing their homes. Lowering energy prices will also deliver cleaner air and water for our children, electrifying fleets of school buses, increasing credits for electric vehicles and addressing legacy pollution.
It will incentivize clean energy manufacturing, building the solar panels and the wind turbines that are growing energy markets of the future. Which will create good paying union jobs for American workers and something that none of us should lose sight of.
When I talk to the American people about climate change I tell them it's about jobs. It's about workers who will lay thousands of miles of transmission lines of clean, modern, resilient power grid. The auto workers who will build the next generation of electric vehicles and electricians who will install a nationwide network of 500,000 vehicle stations to power them throughout my country.
The engineers who will design new carbon capture systems and the construction workers who will make them a reality. The farmers will not only help fight global hunger, but also use the soil to fight climate change. The communities that were vitalize in themselves around new industries and opportunities.
And because we are taking all these actions, the United States will be able to meet the ambitious target I set in the leader summit and climate back in April, reducing U.S. emissions by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
We'll demonstrate to the world, the United States is not only back at the table but hopefully leading by the power of our example. I know it hasn't been the case, and that's why my administration's working overtime to show that our climate commitment is action not words.
On my very first day in office, I took action and returned the United States to the Paris Agreement. Since then, our administration has been hard at work on locking clean energy breakthroughs to drive down the cost of technologies that will require us to achieve net zero emissions and working with the private sector on the next generation of technologies that will power clean economy of the future.
Over the next several days, the United States will be announcing new initiatives to demonstrate our commitment to providing innovative solutions across multiple sectors from agriculture to oil and gas, to combating deforestation, to tackling hard and to abate industries. We're planning for both short term sprint to 2030, that will keep 1.5 degrees celsius in reach and for a marathon that will take us, take us to the finish line and transform the largest economy in the world into a thriving, innovative, equitable, and just clean energy engine of net zero for a net zero world.
That's why today I'm releasing the U.S. long term strategy, which presents a vision of achieving the United States goal of net zero emissions economy wide by no later than 2050, and reinforces an absolutely critical nature of taking bold action with the decisive decade. We're also going to try to do our part when it comes to helping the rest of the world take action as well.
We want to do and more to help countries around the world, especially developing countries, accelerate their clean energy transition, address pollution, and ensure the world we all must share a cleaner, safer, healthiest planet. We have an obligation to help.
At the United Nations at the United States in September, I announced that my administration is working with Congress to quadruple our climate finance support for developing countries by 2024, including significant increase in support for adaptation efforts. This commitment is made possible to each of our collective goals and mobilizing a hundred billion annually for climate finance, but mobilizing finance at the scale necessary to meet the incredible need is an all hands on deck effort.
As other speakers today mentioned, governments in the private sector and multi-lateral development banks must also do the work to go from millions to billions to trillions the necessary effect of this transition. Today, I'm also submitting a new adaptation and communication laying out how we'll implement the global goal of adaptation as well as announcing our first ever contribution to the adaptation fund.
But our commitment is about more than just financing, that's a critical piece of it, but we're also going to support solutions across the board. In a lead up to this gather in the United States, joined our G7 partners to launch a Build Back Better World Initiative.
We also reconvened the major economies forum on energy and climate to launch transformative actions and to raise ambition. And together with the European Union, we're launching a Global Methane Pledge to collectively reduce methane emissions, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, by at least 30 percent by the end of the decade.
More than 70 countries have already signed a up to support rapid reduction in methane pollution, and I encourage every nation to sign on. It's the simple most effective strategy we have to slow global warming in the near term. My friends, if we're to recognize that a better, more hopeful future, every nation has to do its part with ambitious targets to keep 1.5 degrees in reach and specific plans of how to get there, especially the major economies.
It's imperative we support developing nations so they can be our partners in this effort. Right now we're still falling short. There's no more time to hang back or sit in the fence or argue amongst ourselves. This is a challenge of our collective lifetimes, the existential threat to human existence as we know it.
And every day we delay the cost of inaction increases. So let this be the moment that we answer history's call, here in Glasgow. Let's this be the start of a decade of transformative action that preserves our plan and raises the quality of life for people everywhere.
We can do this. We just have to make a choice to do it. So let's get to work and thank you. Those of us who are responsible for much of the deforestation and all the problems we have so far have overwhelming obligations in the nations, who in fact were not there, have not done it, and we have to help much more than we have thus far. God bless you all, and may God save the planet. Thank you.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, we've been watching President Biden declaring that the eyes of history are upon us as he addresses world leaders at this major U.N. Climate Summit calling for action, not just words to address the climate crisis our planet is currently even experiencing.
Joining me now, CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Kaitlan Collins, are live in Edinburgh, Scotland. And CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir is live in Glasgow. Wolf, let me ask you first, just what you -- what your reaction to what we just heard from the President.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I thought it was very significant, very powerful. He did not mince any words as far as the U.S. is concerned, the U.S. during the Biden administration, as compared to during the Trump administration, when the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords immediately.
And as the President said on the first day of his administration, the U.S. went back to the Paris Climate Accords. And he was very blunt and saying the United States bears an enormous amount of responsibility for what's going on as far as the world's climate is concerned.
The U.S. having been one of the great polluters over the years and he was willing to acknowledge that and to take the next steps that he thinks are necessary steps that Congress will have to pass but also executive orders that he alone can determine. But he's going to need the cooperation of the rest of the world, he's going to need not only the developing countries to get involved in, they will be requiring enormous amounts of financial assistance to get the job done from their perspective, but the wealthier nations as well.
And certainly one of the great disappointments as far as the U.S. is concerned is that two of the biggest polluters we're talking about Russia and China, their leaders, Putin and President Xi of China decided not to attend this conference for whatever reason. And to President Biden, as you know, Kate, that's a huge, huge disappointment, because the whole world is going to have to get involved in this project, if there's going to be significant success.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, And Kaitlin, we know that the White House, I mean, the President laid out kind of what the overarching long term vision and plan is, when it comes to the United States, its role in combating the climate crisis. But what are you hearing behind the scenes because this is taking -- going to take much more than political speak, this is going to take a lot of political will to get any movement on.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. It's about actually delivering on these promises, not just having these nice remarks at these climate summits actually talking about it. And I think the White House is well aware of that. And you could hear undertones of that in President Biden's speech there. And that's why so much of what we're told he's going to be pushing here is not just focusing on those 2050 targets, which you know, so many nations have talked about China, setting its own goals, which some critics have said is very similar to the ones that they set in 2015.
But the President is saying that this is the decade that is going to matter the most and that is something that was echoed by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier today when he was arriving here saying that the moment is not in 2015. It's not setting this goal. It is what actions we take in this decade.
We mean, of course, all these nations that are gathered here at this summit, that is going to be the most important and you've heard the President there saying that developed nations, oh, developing nations a lot here. And they have not done enough he believes in the last several decades.
But Kate, I think what stood out the most in the President's remarks was even talking about where the U.S. has been on this and U.S. leadership saying, essentially a reference to his predecessor by saying that the United States is now back at the table. Of course, it very much was not when former President Trump was in office after he exited the Paris Climate Accords.
And that has been a big overarching theme to the President at the G20 in the President here, which is how good is America's word, if how quickly these leaders have seen leadership in the United States can change and swing from one end to the other.
And, of course, that has been a big goal of President Biden's to restore these alliances, to restore trust in the United States. But you can understand why some of them are skeptical, given, of course, how quickly the priorities of administration can change and the effect that they can have on the world if you're out of the game for four or five years, potentially eight years, depending, of course, on a president's term. And so he was saying there that they are back, and he wants to make sure that the United States is not just about words here. It's also about action.
BOLDUAN: And Bill when it comes to these pledges, what do these pledges look like in real life? What is it going to take to get there, especially when you look at the reality that the President is facing currently, which is $555 billion in this Build Back Better Plan that is currently still being debated on Capitol Hill in terms of just the U.S. commitment in this moment?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, all of that is, you know, the grand ambition of what they originally wanted to do has been watered down so much that what you really have now is just a bunch of incentives for people to clean up their day to day lives, get a more efficient stove or car, what has been stripped away, thanks to the Joe Manchins of the world would have the biggest effect that is incentivizing and punishing giant utility companies to switch away from coal and natural gas into the clean renewables, which are now hugely competitive from a price standpoint, right there.
And so he actually changed his language, instead of saying, we're going to reduce by a certain percentage by 2030, he said, will be reduced it by well over a gigaton of carbon. So to put that in perspective, in 2020, despite the COVID shutdown, the world emitted 31 tons, gigatons of carbon. So his pledge is, in the next, you know, less than 10 years 1/30 of the problem will be cut back on.
Meanwhile, China, they say they will hit peak emissions in the same year. So as the United States tries to shave it and bend the curve, reasonably dramatically, China will still be going up, there are experts who say they could do it sooner if they want to. But that's what's the rub here is you've got democracies that are hugely messy and difficult to get things down, who are struggling to meet these promises. You've got one party governments like China, because of a power crunch there is tripled their coal capacity in recent years.
And so it could be argued that the fate of life as we know it, is in the hands of Joe Manchin and President Xi of China, largely, but the hope here for the 30,000 delegates, presidents, prime ministers, scientists, even corporations hoping to put a green face on themselves these days, is we have to that humanity has no choice, but to learn from the unintended consequences of the industrial revolution and stop using fuels that burn ASAP.
BOLDUAN: Yes, and Wolf as Bill is getting at when he was talking about China, China and Russia not showing up at all, you mentioned it as well. So with that in mind, what do these leaders do?
BLITZER: Because if Russia and China are not fully on board and other countries, as well, the Saudi leadership had decided not to attend this climate summit here, you know, here either, and that was a disappointment, because for Saudi Arabia exports so much oil, and that potentially could be a long-term problem down the road. So, all of this represents an enormous problem because you got to get the whole world involved.
This is an issue that doesn't just focus in on just the geography of nation states. It focuses it on the entire planet. You need everyone involved. And I guess what they're doing now is you have so many other countries who are deeply involved in making powerful statements here that maybe that will put the pressure on some of these other countries who are more hesitant more reluctant to invest and do what needs to be done to deal with this issue maybe they'll come up aboard. But it's an important step. This is a COP26 summit here, and I sense there will be some progress emerging, but it's going to take time, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Yes, it's good to see you, Wolf. Kaitlin, thank you. Bill, thank you so much for being there.
So that is a message from Joe Biden to the rest of the world on what the U.S. is committed to doing to address the climate crisis. And as we've mentioned, that's one big part of his domestic agenda, the very same domestic agenda that is still up for debate among his own party back home. Progressive Democrats though are now signaling they will likely support both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the social spending bill that we've been discussing, so much.
A vote is expected this week. We've said multiple times, though, Lauren. Lauren Fox joining us now. We've said multiple times, though a vote is expected this week. What is the very latest that you're hearing, what's changed?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A major breakthrough really over the weekend, Kate, with progressives saying privately that they do think that they can support both the bipartisan infrastructure bill, as well as that bigger social safety net bill last week when a vote had been planned on or at least tentatively planned on progressive stood in the way because they felt like they did not have the assurances that they needed for moderate senators.
Now, we are calling Manu Raju just caught up with Joe Manchin, one of those key voices, who said that he does plan to provide some clarity later today, on where everyone stands. Now, I think that it's very unclear what he means by that statement, if he's going to put come out in support, or in opposition of some of the programs that they're discussing right now. But there was a feeling this morning that everything was moving full steam ahead.
Now, whether or not that's a deal that can be voted on by the end of the week, a lot of sources that I was talking to were saying that was still up in the air, but they were saying that they were making a lot of significant progress on a couple of the remaining sticking points. One of them is the issue of prescription drug pricing, and trying to give the government a way to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower some prescription drug prices on a small number of drugs.
I'm told that over the weekend, Senator Sinema and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked about that issue over the telephone and that there are some hope that they might be able to find some kind of agreement on that. But again, Kate, a lot of moving pieces here, as we still are waiting to see whether the House could vote on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill this week, and that larger social safety net bill that they're trying to finish up details on. Kate? BOLDUAN: All right. Much more to come and definitely learn a little bit more today if Joe Manchin will be signaling wherever he stands. Thank you, Lauren. Coming up for us, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments right now on the Texas abortion ban. We're taking a live look right now at pictures from outside the high court, the battle over abortion rights. That's next.
BOLDUAN: We're following breaking news. The U.S. Supreme Court is right now hearing oral arguments over the controversial Texas law that bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. This is a huge moment for the courts and the country. CNN's Jessica Schneider is live at the Supreme Court. She's been listening in to all of this. Jessica, what have you heard so far from the justices?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, these justices are actively engaged here. They've been peppering both sides with questions. We're now going into the second hour of arguments. But crucially here the Conservatives are actually casting some skepticism about the way that Texas has structured this law.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the newest justice here even asked some questions to abortion providers to her bewilderment that when in if an abortion provider is sued under Texas law, the abortion provider cannot provide the constitutionality of abortion as it stands right now as a defense.
Of course, Roe v. Wade establish that abortion is constitutional later cases set up to viability 22 to 24 weeks before states can put on restrictions. So that's just as Amy Coney Barrett, Justice Brett Kavanaugh also asked some questions basically saying if Texas can pass this law, stopping abortions, what's to stop other states from passing laws that might restrict other constitutional rights, perhaps gun rights.
So those are a crucial line of questioning from conservatives. It points to the fact that they might go to the heart of this Texas law and allow these challenges to proceed, which is exactly what the Justice Department and these abortion providers want. Of course, this is a Texas law that has sparked outrage all over the country here at the Supreme Court. We are seeing protests on both sides.
We've been seeing protests in Texas for the entire two months that this law has been in effect, effectively stopping abortions across the state of Texas. That's because the law prohibits providers from performing abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That's usually at six weeks, often before women even know she's pregnant and crucially, Kate, it's a law that allows the enforcement power to be -- to private citizens, private citizens are allowed to sue.
State officials do not technically enforce this law. And that is what has led to this two month legal challenge courts really unclear about how they can stop this law. That's the big question here at the Supreme Court today.
Can challengers even move forward here if the Supreme Court says yes, the challengers will then be able to move forward in their efforts to block this law, Kate, this is a case that has been expedited and we're expecting potentially that the Supreme Court could pretty quickly after these arguments wrap in the next hour or so, could issue a decision maybe in the next few weeks, Kate. A lot at stake here, this Texas abortion law has really affected thousands of women in the state of Texas, Kate?
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, Jessica, thank you so much for that. Joining me right now for more on this is CNN chief legal analyst, former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey, what's your reaction to what you've heard in the courtroom so far? As I was listening, I mean, you know, it's an oral argument it gets, there's a lot of nuance, and it gets deep into legal theory that's far above my head. What's your reaction to what you've heard so far?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. The one thing that I think all nine justices would probably agree on is when Justice Kagan said, we're in a procedural morass here, because this -- the procedural setting of this law intentionally is so bizarre and unusual.
As Jessica said, the issue before the court today is when you have a law like this where the state doesn't enforce the law, but individuals anywhere in the 50 states can sue an abortion clinic and say, You're violating the law. Who do you sue? Who is the defendant? What is the procedure for challenging this law? Do you sue the judges who are hearing the case? Do you hear -- sue the court clerks in Texas who agree to accept the complaints in this case?
It's a very difficult technical problem. And what is interesting to me is that there were examples of some of the conservatives who are generally against abortion rights, who were concerned about the structure of the law. Amy Coney Barrett asked questions along those lines. Brett Kavanaugh asked what I think is a very important question to conservatives.
And there's an amicus brief from a gun group concerned about this issue is OK. Texas says anyone in the world anyone in the country can sue an abortion provider. What if New York or California or some liberal state passes a law that says anyone in the whole country can sue a gun manufacturer or a gun dealer for a crime that was committed in New York? Is that OK with you, Texas?
And the lawyer for Texas said, yes, that would be OK. I think conservatives may be very concerned about that. Kavanaugh certainly sounded concerned about that. And that may give the plaintiffs the chance to win this procedural case. But it's important to point out even if the Biden administration and the abortion providers win, that doesn't mean they will succeed in --
BOLDUAN: Well, that's exactly right. TOOBIN: -- striking down the law.
BOLDUAN: That's exactly right.
TOOBIN: It means only that they get into the -- they get -- they'll get a ruling on the merits.
BOLDUAN: So then talk to me about the Mississippi law that's coming before this same court next month. It is as opposed to what we're talking about here with Texas with the Mississippi law, is a direct challenge to the constitutional right to abortion.
TOOBIN: In that case, is not a procedural morass. That case is very clear on what's gone on, basically, Mississippi has said we are prohibiting abortions after the 15th week, Roe v. Wade. And then the K.C. decision in 1992 said the no state can impose an undue burden on the right to abortion before viability which is around 24 weeks.
So this 15 week law that Mississippi passed and is going to be argued on December 1st is a clear challenge to Roe v. Wade, and Mississippi has filed a brief with the court saying we think you should simply overturn Roe v. Wade, and allow states once again to ban abortion like what we're doing.
That case is going to be argued December 1st no matter what. What's somewhat unclear at the moment is the Texas case, which limits abortion even more to a six week approximately of pregnancy, whether there will be a ruling on the merits at the same time before after the Mississippi case. What the Mississippi case is quite clear that that is when the court is going to decide whether Roe v. Wade is still good law in this country.
BOLDUAN: These are again, as I said, an important moment for this court what we're seeing today and those oral arguments coming up in one month from today and a very important moment for this country. It's good to see Jeffrey, thank you for letting it out.
TOOBIN: All right, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Coming for us, it's the last day for candidates to win over voters in the most contentious governor's race in America who will leave Virginia we're going to discuss, next.