Big Tent Ideas

TERENCE P. JEFFREY: Biden Is Worried About The Wrong ‘Existential Threat’

REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Font Size:

A 44-year-old senator went down the Senate floor on Jan. 29, 1987, to attack the Reagan administration for running up the debt and to warn the nation about “global warming.”

His name was Joe Biden.

“This nation’s perilous economic situation amply demonstrates the point,” Biden said. “For six years, an administration policy of reflation through massive government borrowing has contributed to a sustained, if uneven, recovery — and has therefore proven politically as well as economically expedient. Unfortunately, the negative effects of an accumulating national and international debt, while slow to manifest themselves, may eventually prove ruinous. Future administrations and future Congresses will be left to cope — while cursing this generation’s lack of economic foresight and responsibility.”

Biden then turned to the issue he called “global warming.”

“Global warming, should it occur in accord with the direst predictions, would be a catastrophe of Biblical proportions for the entire world,” he said. (RELATED: TERENCE P. JEFFREY: Will Speaker Johnson Finally Balance The Budget?)

“The human activities that could bring it about — the inefficient burning of fossil fuels, the atmospheric release of CFCs [chlorofluorocarbons], the destruction of tropical forests — are occurring right now,” Biden said. “And unless these activities are changed in the next few years — through sharply stepped-up energy conservation, restriction on CFC emissions, and preservation of tropical forests — a disastrous and irreversible warming could become inevitable.”

In December 2015, when Biden was vice president, the United Nations held the COP21 climate change conference in Paris that resulted in an international agreement. “The PA [Paris Agreement] requires that nations submit pledges to abate their GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, set goals to adapt to climate change, and cooperate toward these ends, including mobilization of financial and other support,” explained the Congressional Research Service.

The People’s Republic of China is a party to this agreement.

President Barack Obama, however, did not submit it to the Senate for ratification as a treaty. Instead, he unilaterally agreed to it as president. President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2020; Biden rejoined in 2021.

At a Democratic presidential primary debate on Nov. 19, 2019, Biden said of climate change: “I think it is the existential threat to humanity, it’s the number-one issue.”

“I think it is the existential threat of all time,” he said.

In an address to the United Nation’s General Assembly this September, Biden said he wanted to work with China on this “existential threat.”

“But we also stand ready to work together with China on issues where progress hinges on our common efforts,” said Biden. “Nowhere is that more critical than … the accelerating climate crisis.”

“[M]y administration, the United States, has treated this crisis as an existential threat from the moment we took office, not only for us but for all of humanity,” Biden said.

If it is assumed for the sake of argument that Biden is correct, what is his plan for stopping this “existential threat”?

Last week, at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, Vice President Kamala Harris promoted the administration’s efforts to fund wind and solar power.

“President Biden and I made the largest climate investment in the history of our country and, some have said, the world: roughly a trillion dollars over the next 10 years,” Harris said.

“As a result, today, across the United States, we are building and expanding hundreds of solar panel, wind turbine, electric vehicle, and battery manufacturing plants,” she said.

In fact, according to the federal Monthly Energy Review, the United States produced 98.526 quadrillion BTU in energy in 2022. Of that, 82.157 BTU — or 83.38% — came from fossil fuels; and 8.061 quadrillion BTU — or 8.18% — came from nuclear power. Only 8.307 quadrillion — or 8.43% — came from renewable sources, including 1.482 quadrillion (1.5%) from wind and 0.765 (0.78%) from solar.

For combined wind and solar production (2.247 quadrillion) to replace fossil fuels (82.157 quadrillion), it would need to increase by more than 36 times from its 2022 level.

The European Commission’s 2023 report on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions indicated that China led the world by issuing 29.16% of all GHG in 2022.

If the United States (11.19%), India (7.33%) and all nations in the European Union (6.67%) completely eliminated their GHG emissions, as reported by the European Commission, they would not make up for China’s alone.

U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Xie Zhenhua met last month in California. In presenting the agreement they made, the State Department said, “the United States and China reaffirm their commitment to work jointly and together with other countries to address the climate crisis.”

As this column has noted before, the Biden administration itself has affirmed that China is committing genocide against the Uyghur people. But now the administration will count on this genocidal regime to help save humanity from what Biden describes as the “existential threat” of climate change. (RELATED: DAVID GOLDMAN: This China Statement From The Biden White House Reveals That America’s Military Is Falling Behind)

In 1987, when Biden brought up “global warming” on the Senate floor, he also ridiculed President Ronald Reagan for his interactions with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

“At their Geneva summit, President Reagan told Secretary General Gorbachev ‘that if we had an invasion from Mars, both sides would put aside our differences,'” Biden said.

“While not an extraterrestrial threat, global warming could prove no less dangerous,” Biden continued. “Even though decades away, the most serious consequences of global warming could prove unavoidable unless we act now to prevent them. Our failure to show foresight when the dangers are clearly discernible would be an unforgivable dereliction of duty to our children and all mankind not yet born.”

As a result of Reagan’s actions to counter Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989.

Since Biden took office, the federal debt has increased by more than $6 trillion, according to Treasury Department data. When Reagan left office in 1989, he and all the presidents who preceded him had not accumulated $3 trillion in debt.

What are the chances Biden’s dealings with Xi Jinping will cause the collapse of Communist China’s greenhouse gas emissions?

Terence P. Jeffrey is investigative editor for the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact