Democrats Propose a ‘Climate Emergency’ Resolution, Calling for ‘Massive-Scale Mobilization’

One day after President Donald Trump delivered an environmental
policy speech devoid of the mention of climate change, Democrats in
Congress are introducing a resolution seeking to declare a
climate
emergency
” in the United States, one requiring a
“massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its
consequences and causes.”

U.S. Senator and Democratic
presidential candidate
 Bernie Sanders plans to introduce the
resolution in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it will face
an uphill battle against a party led by a president who has called
human-caused global warming a “hoax.” But in the
Democrat-controlled House, the same resolution, to be introduced
by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore),
may have a better change of passage. 

“The scientific community is telling us in no uncertain terms
that we have fewer than 12 years to transform our energy system
away from fossil fuels, and toward energy efficiency and
sustainable energy,” Sanders said in a Tuesday morning press
conference. “If we are going to leave this planet it a state
that’s healthy and habitable for our children and grandchildren
and future generations, this is a moral imperative. We have no
choice.”

Even if passed, the resolution would not institute a national
emergency declaration, or force the federal government to take any
specific actions to combat greenhouse gas emissions that are
causing global warming.

But its supporters call it an important step in focusing
national attention on the dire effects of global warming, ranging
from increases in extreme storms, flooding, drought, heat waves and
sea level rise, to the potential for massive human suffering as a
result — particularly for the poorest and most marginalized
populations.

“In order for us to enact the scale of the solution, we have to
recognize the scale of the problem,” Ocasio-Cortez said in
Tuesday’s press conference. “That’s exactly what this climate
emergency does.”

Specifically, the resolution calls for “a national, social,
industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of
the United States at a massive-scale to halt, reverse, mitigate,
and prepare for the consequences of the climate emergency and to
restore the climate for future generations.”

The resolution doesn’t detail the terms of this massive
mobilization. But Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are both supporters of
the
Green New Deal
, an aggressive and wide-ranging plan to combat
climate change proposed by Democrats in Congress, which could be
taken as a template for the efforts required. The resolution,
introduced in February,  calls for 100 percent clean energy to
supply all U.S. power through a decade-long national mobilization
on the scale of that undertaken to fight World War II.

“The green new deal is that framework,” Blumenauer said in
Tuesday’s press call, before catching a plane to Washington D.C. to
submit the resolution in the House of Representatives. “I think
that declaring this emergency is a first step.”

Ocasio-Cortez mentioned a few potential policy efforts in
support of the climate emergency resolution, such as lawsuits
against oil companies, or public funding mechanisms to serve as an
alternative to Wall Street. But “we cannot begin to have these
conversations until we declare a climate emergency,” she
said. 

The latest resolution follows similar declarations by more than
700 local government in 16 countries, according to the nonprofit
group The Climate Mobilization. These include the UK’s May
declaration
, followed by Ireland, France and Canada since then,
as well as hundreds of cities including New
York City in June

Tuesday’s move comes amidst a rising push from activists to
force governments to reduce carbon emissions far faster than
current policies are achieving, including in the United States. On
Monday, the Rhodium
Group
 released a report indicating the U.S. will miss its 2020
greenhouse gas reduction targets set in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord,
the predecessor to the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016, which the
U.S. withdrew
from under Trump’s direction
 in 2017. 

An October 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) found that limiting global warming to 1.5°C,
the goal of the Paris agreement, will require a 45-percent
reduction in human-caused carbon dioxide emissions from 2010 levels
by 2030 – a rate of decarbonization that will require “rapid
and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings,
transport and cities.” 

Tuesday’s resolution was welcomed by environmental groups
pushing for big changes in environmental policy. “There’s no
doubt that we’re in a climate emergency, and it’s time all of
our elected officials started acting like it,” Greenpeace USA
Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman said in a prepared
statement. 

Despite this warning from the world’s top climate scientists,
Trump’s speech on Monday, purporting to extol his
administration’s environmental policy record, made no mention of
“global warming” and “climate change.” Instead, Trump
claimed credit for improvements in air and water quality that began
far before he took office, and have in some cases worsened under
his administration. 

Trump’s speech also contained several lies.

Trump claimed that U.S. air quality has improved since he took
office, but carbon emissions and air pollution have increased
during his term, according to analyses from the
Rhodium Group
 and the Associated
Press
. Trump said that over the past decade, U.S. carbon
emissions from energy production have declined “more than any other
country on Earth,” but more than a dozen countries, many of them in
Europe, have achieved
more than double the U.S. rate
of reduction. And Trump repeated
a false claim that the Green New Deal will cost $100 trillion — a
figure that its initial promoters have conceded lacks
any basis in reality
, and which exceeds the economic output of
all countries on Earth. 

Trump’s speech also failed to mention that his
proposed Affordable
Clean Energy rule
, his administration’s replacement of the
Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, will result in far
higher greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants over
the coming decades.  It did not mention the Department of
Energy’s
so-far unsuccessful efforts
to force utilities and energy
markets to buy electricity from money-losing coal and nuclear power
plants at above-market rates. 

The speech also left out the administration’s efforts to
undermine current fuel economy standards for motor vehicles through
its Safer
Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles
proposal, or its efforts to
weaken efficiency standards for appliances, furnaces, water
heaters, consumer electronics, light bulbs and other
equipment. 

Sanders singled out Trump, whom he called “dangerously
ignorant,” and the fossil fuel industry, which he accused of lying
“every single day” about their impact on global warming, as key
opponents to carbon reduction efforts. 

“No plan will be implemented unless we have to courage to take
on the greed and dishonesty of the fossil fuel industry,” he said.
“They lie every single day, they try to obfuscate what they’re
doing in terms of carbon emissions and what that’s doing to the
planet.”

 

 

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Democrats Propose a ‘Climate Emergency’ Resolution, Calling for ‘Massive-Scale Mobilization’