Biden Says Northwest ‘Heat Dome’ Shows Need for Resilient Grid

President Joe Biden said extreme heat in the Pacific northwest shows the need for U.S. to build more resilient power grids, calling the record temperatures a consequence of global warming.

“As climate change induces extreme weather events more and more frequently, we need to make investments to build a more resilient grid,” Biden said in a speech in La Crosse, Wisconsin, aimed at building momentum for an infrastructure deal he struck with a bipartisan group of senators.

He also cited an unusual winter storm in Texas that caused the state’s power grid to nearly collapse. “That’s why we need to act,” he said.

A weather pattern called a “heat dome” over the Pacific northwest has led to record-smashing temperatures from Portland, Oregon, to British Columbia. Heat domes occur naturally and are not necessarily tied to climate change, though the warming climate is raising both average and extreme temperatures everywhere.

“Anybody ever believe you’d turn on the news and see it’s 116 degrees in Portland, Oregon? 116 degrees!” Biden said.

Portland hit 116 Fahrenheit (47 Celsius) on Monday, following a 112 degree high on Sunday. The previous record high in the city was 107, last reached in 1981.

In a sarcastic jab at some Republicans who deny that humans have caused climate change, Biden added: “Don’t worry, there’s no global warming. It only exists as a figment of our imagination.”

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