Standing amid and near the damage done by Hurricane Ida, the evidence starkly and tragically underscored his comments that climate change was real. “This is code red,” he said in Queens on Tuesday. “The nation and the world are in peril.”

“Climate change poses an existential threat to our lives,” the president continued. “A threat to our lives, to our economy, and the threat is here. It’s not going to get any better.”

For several minutes Biden expounded on the dangers we face: “The question, can it get worse? We can stop it from getting worse. And when I talk about building back better—and Chuck is fighting for my program [noting Sen. Schumer]—our program on the hill.”

Biden is fighting an uphill battle on climate change, voter suppression and restriction, and getting a $3.5 trillion bill passed through Congress. And the surge of COVID-19, especially the increasing number of children being hospitalized, is at the top of the president’s crowded agenda. He seemed particularly unnerved at the sites of destruction upon hearing some protesters reminding him of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the loss of lives there.

But he kept on script about the hurricane and his determination to keep climate change fully in view. “And so, folks, we’ve to listen to the scientists and economists and the national security experts,” Biden insisted. “They all tell us this is code red. The nation and the world are in peril.”

He said, “That’s not hyperbole. This is a fact. They’ve been warning us the extreme weather will get more extreme over the next decade, and we’re living in real time now.”