Solving the Climate Crisis to Save the Planet
Climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet. The debate is over, and the scientific jury is in: global climate change is real, it is caused mainly by emissions released from burning fossil fuels and it poses a catastrophic threat to the long-term longevity of our planet.
98% of scientists agree we have 12 years to lower carbon emissions 45% and that we need to be off carbon by mid-century or it gets catastrophic. Please check out this Sanders Institute panel on climate change video from their Gathering of progressive leaders in Nov. 2018.
If we do nothing, the planet will heat up five to ten degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. That would cause enough sea level rise from melting glaciers to put cities like New York and Miami underwater – along with more frequent asthma attacks, higher food prices, insufficient drinking water and more infectious diseases.
Why haven't we solved it yet?
Solving this should be straightforward. After all, the majority of Americans understand the seriousness of climate change, and they demand action. 97 percent of scientists agree about the urgent need to act and the vocal minority who don’t are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry. More and more countries around the world are beginning to do their part, by stepping up to significantly curb their use of fossil fuels to become part of the solution. If our democracy worked the way it’s supposed to, that would be enough – the debate would be over, the facts would be heard and lawmakers would obey the will of the people.
But that’s where the billionaire class comes in. Instead of engaging on this issue in good faith and allowing democracy to play out, executives and lobbyists for coal, oil, and gas companies have blocked every attempt to make progress on climate change, and thrown unprecedented amounts of money at elected officials to buy their loyalty. Recent reporting even shows that executives at Exxon pioneered the research on climate change before anyone else did, but may have deliberately lied about it to spread disinformation and confusion to protect their bottom line. It’s eerily reminiscent of the fight over tobacco regulation, when executives from the tobacco companies repeatedly testified before Congress that cigarettes don’t cause cancer. Recently leaked internal documents show that even they knew they were lying.
Let’s be clear: the reason we haven’t solved climate change isn’t because we aren’t doing our part, it’s because a small subsection of the one percent are hell-bent on doing everything in their power to block action. Sadly, they have deliberately chosen to put their profits ahead of the health of our people and planet.
Understanding a Green New Deal and the Climate Crisis
As you heard in the Sanders Institute panel, the strategy is to use the time between now and 2020 organizing a select committee and writing the most comprehensive piece of legislation we can, to include scientist, social and political justice advocates, infrastructure changes, tax reform, transforming our power grid, investing in railways, solar, wind, creating jobs, ending environmental poisoning of poor and disproportionately people of color, and getting off carbon by 2050 so we don't all die. Its a good plan.
This idea is not hers originally nor is it originally a Democratic proposal, but none of that has anything to do with the fact that its the only piece of legislation out there matching the urgency of what science demands to transform. Let's just make it happen.