Oct 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden says events like Hurricane Ian end climate change debate

US President Joe Biden speaks in a neighborhood impacted by Hurricane Ian at Fishermans Pass in Fort Myers, Florida, on October 5, 2022 as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looks on.

President Biden speaks in a neighborhood impacted by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Fla., on Oct. 5 as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis looks on. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Wednesday during a visit to survey damages from the deadly Hurricane Ian in Florida that "the one thing this has finally ended is the discussion about whether or not there's climate change, and whether we should do something about it," referencing devastating weather events in recent months.

Driving the news: Biden met with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who during earlier remarks praised state, local and federal coordination in the wake of the storm making landfall in his state last week.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Climate change is leading to wetter storms, with a rapid analysis showing that Hurricane Ian likely dropped 10% more rain on Florida due to human-induced climate change than it would have otherwise.

  • In addition, studies show a link between rapidly intensifying hurricanes such as Ian and global warming, due to warming sea and air temperatures, among other factors.

Biden also reaffirmed the federal government's commitment to aid following one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S.

  • At least 80 people have died as a result of Ian.

The widespread damage caused by Hurricane Ian has renewed discussion on building hurricane-resistant communities as well as on the difficult — and often emotional — choices people face when deciding whether to leave their homes or stay and rebuild in the face of devastating storms.

  • While DeSantis and other Republican politicians in Florida have historically objected to major climate policy, "those leaders want federal help to rebuild their state — but don’t want to discuss the underlying problem that is making hurricanes more powerful and destructive," The New York Times reported.

Of note: The White House and DeSantis have appeared conciliatory as southwest Florida reels from Ian. That dynamic has drawn media attention given their past tension, as recently as weeks ago when DeSantis sent a group of migrants to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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