Exclusive: Democrats to introduce resolution in House on Tuesday in recognition of extreme threat from global heating
Sanders with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal. Data shows nations are not on track to limit the dangerous heating of the planet significantly enough. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
A group of US lawmakers including the 2020 Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders are proposing to declare the climate crisis an official emergency – a significant recognition of the threat taken after considerable pressure from environment groups.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic congresswoman from New York, and Earl Blumenauer, a Democratic congressman from Oregon, plan to introduce the same resolution in the House on Tuesday, their offices confirmed.
A Sanders spokesperson said: “President Trump has routinely declared phoney national emergencies to advance his deeply unpopular agenda, like selling Saudi Arabia bombs that Congress had blocked.
“On the existential threat of climate change, Trump insists on calling it a hoax. Senator Sanders is proud to partner with his House colleagues to challenge this absurdity and have Congress declare what we all know: we are facing a climate emergency that requires a massive and immediate federal mobilization.”
Climate activists have been calling for the declaration, as data shows nations are not on track to limit the dangerous heating of the planet significantly enough. The UN has warned the world is experiencing one climate disaster every week. A new analysis from the economic firm Rhodium Group today finds the US might achieve less than half of the percentage of pollution reductions it promised other countries in an international agreement.
Blumenauer’s office said he decided to draft the resolution after Donald Trump declared an emergency at the US border with Mexico so he could pursue building a wall between the two countries.
In Congress, Democrats in control of the House might have enough support for the resolution, but Republicans in the majority in the Senate are not likely to approve.
The resolution says: “The global warming caused by human activities, which increase emissions of greenhouse gases, has resulted in a climate emergency” that “severely and urgently impacts the economic and social well-being, health and safety, and national security of the United States”.
It then goes on to say that Congress “demands a national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive-scale.”
Trump and his administration have questioned the science showing that humans are causing the climate crisis. They have downplayed the risks of rising temperatures and gutted government efforts to limit the heat-trapping pollution from power plants, cars and other sources.
Even if the resolution passed and was signed by the president, it would not force any action on climate change. But advocates say similar efforts in Canada and the United Kingdom have served as a leverage point, highlighting the hypocrisy between the government position that the situation is an emergency and individual decisions that would exacerbate the problem.
Several of the Democrats running for president have rolled out partial or full blueprints for cutting emissions. Nearly all have said it is a top issue. Sanders has a history of prioritizing the climate crisis, and has previously suggested specific policy options, but he has yet to release his own proposal.
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