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Vice President Kamala Harris tours Kennedy Airport amid climate initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) — Vice President Kamala Harris visited New York City Monday, touring John F. Kennedy International Airport as part of an effort to see how climate action can create jobs.

“To meet our climate commitment, we must, we must, I say to my fellow Americans, put in the work,” she said.

Harris was joined at JFK Airport by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, as they touted two new initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.

“First, a new partnership between our government and private companies to drive innovation in electric heat pumps,” Harris said.

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One of the companies, BlocPower, was founded by Donnel Baird. He explained the technology to the vice president.

“We’re going to rip out the gas, rip out the oil, replace them with an all-electric heating and cooling system,” he said. “We need workers across America to learn how to install these things. They’re going to save every building owner money. They’re going to help us save the planet, because 30% of greenhouse gases in America come from our buildings.”

Another key contributor to climate change is gas vehicles, especially big ones.

“Second, we are putting $127 million to speed up the development of large electric trucks,” Harris said.

It has been a challenge, but the tech is finally catching up.

“We are doing it, going 400, 500, 600 miles on a charge,” Granholm said. “Because of battery technology and hydrogen fuel cell technology.”

According to truck driver Pat Brandon, zero emission is not the only benefit.

“When I drive down the highway, I can hear every noise you all make out there,” Brandon said. “I don’t even have to have the windows down. I don’t have to turn off the motor to hear you guys talk. This truck is our future because it’s so quiet.”

The initiatives are part of the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better framework, which was announced last week.

“This framework, together with the bipartisan infrastructure deal, represents the largest effort to combat climate change in our nation’s history,” Harris said.

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It comes to the tune of $550 billion devoted to reducing greenhouse gases domestically as the U.S. tries to put the brakes on a global climate crisis.

On Monday night, Harris will participate in a celebration marking the 30th anniversary of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

Harris will deliver the keynote address at the event at Carnegie Hall for the civil rights organization. Also attending are Governor Kathy Hochul, director Spike Lee, and Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels.

Former President Barack Obama will deliver a video address.

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