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President Joe Biden implicated climate change when recently discussing extreme weather in the United States. His full comments show he misspoke in saying the government’s response to disasters across the country in 2023 would be to "increase the number and intensity of extreme weather events."
Although scientists are exploring weather modification technology could be useful in combating climate change’s future effects, these efforts so far show limited success and there is no sign that this technology has been employed in any recent wide-scale natural disasters.
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Even though 2023 isn’t over yet, it’s the year the United States endured the largest number of billion-dollar disasters since records have been kept, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That includes 18 severe weather events, two flooding events, and the deadliest wildfire in the country in more than a century in Lahaina, Hawaii.
The Union of Concerned Scientists have warned that many of these disasters "bear the undeniable fingerprints of climate change."
But some social media users have suggested the Biden administration is behind them.
"Biden IN ‘HIS OWN’ WORDS: Convened his entire cabinet as part of a ‘whole of government response … to increase the number and intensity of extreme weather events,’" reads the text of a video in a recent Instagram post.
In the video, Biden can be seen saying: "I also convened my entire Cabinet as part of a whole of government response and that response is to increase the number and intensity of the extreme weather events and be wary we’re going to be — use all the resources available to us as the government to do it. Nobody can deny the impact of climate crises, at least nobody intelligent can deny the impact of the climate crisis anymore."
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The video is authentic but it’s clear from Biden’s full remarks that he is not claiming the government will increase the number and intensity of extreme weather events. He was speaking Sept. 2 from Live Oak, Florida, when he continued the comments shown in the Instagram video.
"Just look around, around the nation and the world for that matter" BIden said. "Historic floods, intense droughts, extreme heat, deadly wildfires — wildfires that have caused serious damage like we’ve never seen before. Just since being president, in two and a half years, I've flown over more land burned to the ground as a consequence of wildfires than occupy the in state — the entire land of the state of Maryland. From down in New Mexico and Alabama all up into Montana and around, it’s been devastating."
He said that when he took office, he directed his team "to raise our game in how to lead and coordinate our response to national disasters" and that in the wake of recent wildfires on Maui, he directed his cabinet to "help the devastated communities recover and rebuild there as it was before."
The White House’s transcript of these remarks includes two words in brackets to clarify what he said in the Instagram post video: "I also convened my entire cabinet as part of a whole-of-government response. And that response is to [the] increase [in] the number and intensity of the extreme weather events and be wary — were going to be — use all the resources available to the government to do it."
This misleading post aligns with other false claims we’ve seen promoting the conspiracy theory that recent natural disasters were planned. Although scientists are exploring weather modification technology that could help combat climate change’s future effects, these efforts so far show limited success and there is no signn that this technology has been employed in these wide-scale natural disasters.
We rate claims this video is evidence Biden is directing the government to "increase the number and intensity of extreme weather events" False.
Instagram post, Sept. 6, 2023
Instagram post, Sept. 8, 2023
YouTube, President Biden Delivers Remarks Reaffirming his Commitment to Supporting the People of Florida, Sept. 2, 2023
The White House, Remarks by President Biden Reaffirming His Commitment to Supporting the People of Florida, Sept. 2, 2023
Axios, NOAA: 2023 worst year on record for billion-dollar disasters, Sept. 12, 2023
Union of Concerned Scientists, Science Agency Confirms 2023 Already Breaking Records for Number of Extreme Weather, Climate Disasters, Sept. 11, 2023
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. saw its 9th-warmest August on record, Sept. 11, 2023
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