This article is slightly liberally biased.
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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A diverse group of supporters–including the resolution’s prime congressional co-sponsors–came together to rally the public behind the Green New Deal, the expansive plan to address climate change and economic inequality.
“The Green New Deal is not just a resolution. The Green New Deal is a revolution that is taking place in this country. The sun is setting. The sun is setting on the dirty energy of the past. Today marks the dawn of a new era of climate action,” said Sen Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who first introduced the Green New Deal with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). “Look at the sunrise. Are you ready to rise up for that victory that we are going to have? Are you ready to rise up and take on the oil and gas and coal and fossil fuel industry? Are you ready to rise up for wind and solar and clean energy? Will you go out and make this happen for our country? Are you ready for this fight against the strongest political force we have ever seen in our history?”
Although Republicans lately have taken to accusing Democrats of socialism, Markey reminded that it has been the Republicans who have supported government-funded tax breaks for giant oil companies.
“What about the oil and gas industry tax breaks that are a permanent part of the tax code? Some of which have been on the books for over 100 years? Republicans only call it socialism when we try to help the things we like,” Markey said said. “Here’s what I say for wind and solar and all electric vehicles and clean energy, give us some of that socialism that the oil and gas industry has had for a century! Green New Deal.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination and a prominent Green New Deal supporter, also took on the power of the oil companies to fight movement toward more-sustainable energy.
“These companies lied to the American people about the very existence of climate change and committed one of the greatest frauds in the history of our country,” Sanders said. “Just as the tobacco industry was ultimately forced to pay for the fraud they committed, the fossil fuel industry must be forced to do the same.
“We well not allow them to destroy this planet with here is the major questions that the American people must answer. How do we take on an industry with unlimited wealth, power and resources? And here is my answer to that question: We need a political revolution,” Sanders added.
While Sanders and several other Democrats running for president have voiced support for the Green New Deal, it’s level of support in Congress is an open question.
Republicans have strongly opposed the Green New Deal, and when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) tried to bring it up for a vote doomed to fail in an effort to politically embarrass Democrats, Democrats voted “present.”
Further, it’s not clear that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi really much cares for it either.
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez each addressed the danger that climate change poses to humans and the planet.
“You know, and I know that the scientific community has been very clear. And that is, if we do not act boldly and aggressively to transform our global energy system away from fossil fuel within the next few years, a very short period of time, there will be irreparable harm done to our planet and we are united in saying we will not allow that to happen,” Sanders said to cheers and applause.
“What the scientists are telling us is that if we do not act boldly and dramatically, there will be more rising sea levels, more flooding, more droughts, more extreme weather disturbances, more acidification of the oceans and more declines in crop production,” Sanders added. “You also know that intelligence and defense agencies in the United States and all over the world see climate change as a major national security issue. Because if people cannot grow the crops they need, if people cannot find clean water to drink, there will be massive migrations off people all over the world, which will put increased pressure on limited natural resources and cause international havoc and war.
“Climate change is a global issue. It impacts not only the United States, but China, and Russia, and India, it impacts Latin America, Africa and the entire planet. Let me be very clear. It is absolutely imperative that we have American leadership that does everything possible to bring the nations of the world to gather to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel into energy efficiency and sustainable energies,” Sanders concluded.
Ocasio-Cortez said solutions won’t necessarily be comfortable.
“We cannot and we will not accept anything less than a solution to save ourselves, and that is exactly what this is,” she said of the Green New Deal. “You know, when we talk about the path forward, I wish that as a leader, I could give you comfort about our future. I wish that as a public servant, I could come here and tell you that everything is going to be all right, but I cannot tell you that today because I am not interested in lying to you. But, frankly, there is no reason for us to be comfortable right now.”