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:
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