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Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is the latest Democratic presidential hopeful to sign on to the “Green New Deal,” an expansive plan to address climate change, as well as provide economic development. It was put forward by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
O’Rourke, of El Paso, Tex., this week kicked off his presidential campaign at a televised event in the early presidential caucus state of Iowa.
O’Rourke said that he supported the “Green New Deal” when asked about it by an audience member at his Iowa event.
O’Rourke referred to the devastating superstorms like Hurricane Harvey which have ravaged his home state and are predicted to continue to do so. He also mentioned droughts which have gripped West Texas.
“At a town hall like this, I remember a young woman came in with her two children, she was skipping her son’s basketball practice to be there, she was going to talk to a Democrat even though she was a life-long Republican because she told me that what her grandparents planted on their farm, what her parents planted on their farm, that she is now trying to plant does not grow,” O’Rourke said. “She said, ‘Climate change, Beto, is not something that we have to prepare for, it is something that is here.’ Let us all be well aware that life is going to be a lot tougher for the generations that follow us no matter what we do. It is only a matter of degrees.”
The key to effectively controlling climate change effectively will be moving away from dependence on greenhouse gas emissions due to the use of fossil fuels.
The United States began to take on the challenge of climate change by signing on to the Paris Climate Accords during the Obama administration. However, once in office, Donald Trump has deemphasized climate change and took steps to withdraw the United States from those accords.
“And along this current trajectory, there will be people who can no longer live in the cities that they call home today. There is food grown in this country that will no longer prosper in these soils,” O’Rourke said of the effects of climate change. “There is going to be massive migration of tens or hundreds of millions of people from countries that are literally uninhabitable or under water that are above the sea right now. This is our final chance.
“The scientists are absolutely unanimous on this, that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis. My gratitude then for the young people who have stepped up to offer such a bold proposal, to meet such a grave challenge,” O’Rourke added. “They say that we should do nothing less than marshal every single resource in this country to meet that challenge, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, to get to net zero emissions. Which means that not only must we emit less greenhouse gases, we must also plant those things that absorb greenhouse gases and carbon and we must invest in the technology that will allow us to clean some of it that’s in the air right now. Can we make it? I don’t know, it’s up to every single one of us.”