Did climate change cause the deadly tornadoes? Biden pushes 'planet is warming' theory
President Joe Biden on Saturday, September 11, addressed the damage caused by the deadly tornadoes that ravaged the Mississippi Valley, killing at least 70 people in Kentucky and several more in four other states. Grieving for the victims, Biden seemed to indicate that climate change was one of the factors responsible for the extreme weather. To offer his condolences, Biden also held a briefing with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.
As the president spoke to reporters and virtually assessed the damage caused by the tornadoes, he was asked whether he "could conclude that these storms and the intensity have to do with climate change." "All I know is that the intensity of the weather across the board has some impacts as a consequence of the warming of the planet and climate change," Biden said. "The specific impact on these specific storms, I can't say at this point." Biden has also signed a Federal Emergency Disaster Declaration, releasing funds for Kentucky, the worst affected state. Emergency funds are also available for the other affected states - Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee and Mississippi - if they needed it, he said.
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"I'm going to be asking the EPA and others to take a look at that," Biden added. "The fact is that we all know everything is more intense when the climate is warming. Everything. And obviously, it has some impact here, but I can't give you a quantitative read on that."
Biden's comments come after a series of destructive tornadoes and storms swept across as many as five states -- Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri in the past few days. The storms injured numerous people and the death toll is expected to rise to over 100. As a result of the storms, more than 2,00,000 customers remained without power as of Saturday morning, December 11, in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The deadly storms caused heavy damage to an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, where at least two people were killed. Several other workers were reportedly trapped inside the building. A nursing home in Arkansas was also hit, with at least two people losing their lives and five getting injured.
Biden promised that he would visit Kentucky. "We're as prepared as any government has ever been for these disasters. What warning was there, was it strong enough and was it heeded? You asked me about whether or not we were gonna be able to do. Part of it is acknowledging that the likelihood of fewer weather catastrophes, absent a continued movement on dealing with global warming, is just not gonna happen," Biden said.
"We always had wildfires, but who in god's name thought we'd see more territory burned to the ground larger than the state of New Jersey," he added. 'We have to act, but the first and most urgent piece here is we have to save anyone who's still alive, we have to care for them and we have to care for those families."