PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A group of U.S. lawmakers including Oregon’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic congresswoman from New York, and 2020 Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders are proposing to declare the climate crisis an official emergency.
They introduced this resolution in Congress Tuesday.
Blumenauer said people’s lives are on the line, from threatened food systems, to communities’ infrastructure and clean water sources.
“It is a national emergency. We need to act like it,” Blumenauer said.
Blumenauer said he decided to draft the Climate Emergency Resolution after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to build a wall at the US-Mexico border, following Congress’ refusal to fund it.
“The national emergency is not the border, it’s the climate. It’s time for Congress to formally acknowledge the scale and depth of climate change,” Blumenauer said.
The resolution states: “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.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders expanded on this, saying climate change is a global issue .
“What we need is American leadership, demanding countries that all over the world work together to transform our energy system,” Sanders said.
Sen. Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said lawmakers need to fight the fossil fuel industry to move toward a renewable clean energy system.
Ocasio-Cortez told said that declaring a national emergency is a good first step that would make way for large policy packages like her Green New Deal to be enacted.
“It’s going to take political will and political courage in order for us to treat this issue with the urgency the next generation needs, in order for us to preserve our way of life, and in order for us to preserve our planet as much as we possibly can,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The resolution compiled data from the scientific community, showing the risks inaction poses to the human race. The lawmakers stressed that scientists are telling us that the entire planet, including the U.S., has 12 years to reverse the direction of green house gases.
The resolution states the need for a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address the consequences of climate change.
“It cannot be understated scientifically what needs to be done politically,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Sixteen countries and 700 local governments, including New York City last month, have declared a climate emergency already, according to the advocacy group the Climate Mobilization.
Lawmakers said this resolution is the first step toward restoring the climate. Together, they hope to preserve the planet for future generations.