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Sunrise Movement protesters outside then Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s Office – December 10, 2018
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement

 

While our president is fixated on building a wall along our southern border to keep us safe from the invasion of “bad hombres,” he refuses to acknowledge our greatest existential threat: climate change disruption. Young climate change activists, clamoring for bold action, have found a champion in the newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York). At twenty-nine years, she is the youngest member of the US House of Representatives.

On February 7, 2019, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced a nonbinding resolution that sets out the framework for the Green New Deal. The proposal has gathered 64 House and nine Senate Co-Sponsors, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In an interview with Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), not present at the unveiling, referred to the proposal as a mere suggestion.

“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is but they’re for it right?”

The Green New Deal Resolution – List of Co-Sponsors
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement

 

In the preamble, the Green New Deal Resolution cites the critical findings of the October 2018 “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5℃” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States.

With impacts of climate change already being felt in communities across America and the IPCC’s warning that we have just twelve years to limit global warming to 1.5℃ or face catastrophic changes, the Resolution sets out an ambitious ten-year-plan of national mobilization:

  • to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions;
  • to create millions of good, high-wage jobs for all Americans;
  • to invest in US infrastructure and industry;
  • to secure for all Americans clean air and water, climate and community resilience, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment; and
  • to promote justice and equity among all oppressed minority and vulnerable communities.

Projects needed to accomplish these five goals include:

  • Repair and upgrade US infrastructure;
  • Meet 100 percent US power demand through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources;
  • Build or upgrade to “smart” power grids;
  • Upgrade all existing buildings and build new buildings for maximum energy and water efficiency;
  • Spur massive growth in clean US manufacturing to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • Overhaul US transportation systems to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, by investing in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing, as well as clean, affordable, and accessible public transit, and high-speed rail.

You can read the complete Resolution at the government website of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.

That’s a huge undertaking. No way would the Republican-controlled Senate and our climate change denial president agree to such a plan. Where will the money come from to pay for such a total overhaul of our economy and society? The Green Party US estimates that the Green New Deal will cost between $700 billion to $1 trillion annually.

The Sunrise Movement of young activists, formed in 2016, are fierce advocates of the Green New Deal. Believing that it’s possible and practical, they’ve concluded that “for too many decades fear and complacency have kept our leaders – and our nation – frozen. The result is malaise and stagnation, with wealth concentrating ever more densely at the top, poverty overwhelming the bottom, and insecurity menacing the middle. Meanwhile, climate change threatens humanity and most forms of life with extinction. All we’ve awaited throughout this decline is good faith, clear vision, and passionate leadership.”

With plans to make the Green New Deal the defining issue of the 2020 election, Sunrise Movement will launch a 14-city campaign tour through early primary states.

“When you come out to a tour stop,” Varshini Prakash, co-founder of Sunrise Movement, said in an email to Huffington Post, “we’ll give you all the tools you need to spread the word within your own community, build support, and pressure your elected officials to take a stand.”

Are Americans ready to take the bold action now needed to save ourselves from climate change calamity?

 

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