OCASIO-CORTEZ AND SANDERS WILL INTRODUCE RESOLUTIONS TO CONGRESS DECLARING CLIMATE EMERGENCY

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8 july 2019

[4C Note: the Guardian article by Emily Holden on this subject (referred to in the second paragraph below) also contains a pdf of the Senate resolution introduced by Bernie Sanders. You can see it here. Following this article, we also post Jake Johnson's follow-up report in Common Dreams, which contains additional information on the support for the Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez initiative.]

AOC, Bernie Sanders to Introduce Resolution Calling 'Existential Threat' of the Climate Crisis an 'Emergency'

"We are facing a climate emergency that requires a massive and immediate federal mobilization."


Eoin Higgins, staff writer, Common Dreams, July 8, 2019

A cohort of progressive Democrats plan to introduce a resolution declaring a climate emergency Tuesday in Congress, a move that could open the door to decisive action on the crisis.

The Guardian's Emily Holden reported Monday afternoon that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) are expected to introduce a resolution calling for naming the climate crisis an "emergency" on Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, also plans to introduce the resolution in the upper chamber, according to the reporting.

In comment to The Guardian, Blumenauer's office said that the congressman "decided to draft the resolution after Donald Trump declared an emergency at the U.S. border with Mexico so he could pursue building a wall between the two countries."

In her reporting, Holden urged caution.

"Even if the resolution passed and was signed by the president, it would not force any action on climate change," wrote Holden. "But advocates say similar efforts in Canada and the United Kingdom have served as a leverage point, highlighting the hypocrisy between the government position that the situation is an emergency and individual decisions that would exacerbate the problem."

A spokesperson for Sanders said the senator was moving forward on the resolution because President Donald Trump's policies are making things worse.

"On the existential threat of climate change, Trump insists on calling it a hoax," said the spokesperson. "Senator Sanders is proud to partner with his House colleagues to challenge this absurdity and have Congress declare what we all know: we are facing a climate emergency that requires a massive and immediate federal mobilization."

The news came just before Trump delivered a climate address dismissed by the Environmental Working Group as an "utter fantasy."

On Twitter, Sanders leveled criticisms on the president donning the mantle of a climate advocate.

"We don't have time for more lies," said Sanders. "We must address the climate crisis now."

News of the upcoming resolution was welcomed by progressive organizations.

"The climate crisis is a true emergency, and it must be dealt with as such," the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee tweeted, thanking the lawmakers for their action.

The Democratic Socialists of America said on Twitter that Sanders understands "this isn't just climate change, it's a climate emergency."

"The solution is to reorganize our economy so it works for both people and the planet, not the profit of fossil fuel companies," the group added.

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'Time to Act for the Future of Our Planet': Other Lawmakers Urged to Join Fight as Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Unveil Climate Emergency Declaration

"Instead of remaining complicit in worsening the effects of climate change, members of Congress in both the House and Senate must respond to this resolution with the urgency and support that this moment demands."
by
Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common DreamsJuly 9, 2019

Climate activists and NYC Council members holding a banner as they held a rally on the steps of City Hall, New York. (Photo: Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

After Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday introduced a resolution declaring the climate crisis a national emergency, grassroots environmental groups pressured members of Congress to back the declaration and heed its call for transformative action.

"Instead of remaining complicit in worsening the effects of climate change, members of Congress in both the House and Senate must respond to this resolution with the urgency and support that this moment demands," said climate group Extinction Rebellion, which is holding a rally in Washington, D.C. Tuesday evening to urge lawmakers to sign on to the emergency declaration.

"Today we stand in solidarity with tens of millions of people from around the world in calling for a mass mobilization of our social and economic resources," Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. "Working to solve the climate crisis will create tens of millions of union jobs, empower communities, and improve the quality of life for people across the globe."

"What we need now is congressional leadership to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short term profits are not more important than the future of the planet"
—Sen. Bernie SandersThe resolution (pdf), also sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), states "there is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes."

Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, told reporters during a press call Tuesday that while there are "many, many challenges" facing the United States, "at the top of the list must be the existential threat to our planet in terms of the damage that climate change is doing."

"What we need now," Sanders said in a later statement, "is congressional leadership to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short term profits are not more important than the future of the planet. Climate change is a national emergency, and I am proud to be introducing this resolution with my House and Senate colleagues."

Varshini Prakash, founder of the youth-led climate group Sunrise Movement, said during Tuesday's press call that everything in the climate emergency resolution must become "the governing mandate for a generation" if the worst of the planetary emergency is to be averted.

"Nothing in here is controversial," said Prakash. "It is a simple declaration of the truth of this moment and what is needed to confront it. It should be a consensus position for all of our politicians to recognize the emergency for what it is."

Read the full resolution:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, expressed her support for the emergency declaration in a tweet on Tuesday.

"We should call our climate crisis what it is: an emergency," Warren wrote. "That's why I support a climate emergency resolution, a Green New Deal, protecting our public lands and coasts from drilling, and other big, bold actions to tackle it."

In addition to Warren, Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and 19 members of the House co-sponsored the climate emergency declaration, according to Sanders's office.

The resolution comes just hours after President Donald Trump delivered a speech touting his "environmental leadership," which critics said was full of distortions and "outright lies." The president did not once mention the climate crisis in his address.

Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement Tuesday that, "With an unhinged climate denier in the White House, it's on Congress to steer us away from climate suicide."

"Mounting a World War II-style mobilization against the climate emergency will have lifesaving and economic benefits that far exceed its costs," Snape said. "Responding to the climate crisis with any less urgency would spell disaster for current and future Americans, and for the planet."

As of this writing, over 740 local governments and four nations have declared a climate emergency.

Mitch Jones, Climate and Energy Program director at Food & Water Watch, applauded Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and Blumenauer for leading the push for a climate emergency declaration and said it is "past time" for the government to treat the crisis with the urgency it deserves.

"We need bold, comprehensive legislation to move us off fossil fuels and onto a clean energy revolution," Jones said. "This resolution lays out the scope of what we need to do. It's time to act for the future of our planet."


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