How To Demand Real Climate Leadership

by Tim Donaghy

December 13, 2018

We need millions of activists from across the U.S. to demand real climate leadership from our elected officials. You in? Good! Now here's where we need to start.

The call for a Green New Deal is catching fire right now, thanks to bold tactics from the youth climate movement and smart politics from newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The latest reports on carbon emissions and climate impacts are increasingly grim, but amid the gloom, Capitol Hill is actually bursting with hope and ambition these days. It’s a weird feeling, right?

The call for a Green New Deal is catching fire right now, thanks to bold tactics from the youth climate movement and smart politics from newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Young People Demand a Green New Deal

MASS ACTION AT CAPITOL: Youth climate activists are back at the U.S. Capitol to urge Congressional Democrats to reject fossil fuel money and support a Green New Deal.They’re part of Sunrise Movement, a youth-focused climate justice group that’s calling for large-scale investments in clean energy jobs (via act.tv)

Posted by NowThis Politics on Monday, December 10, 2018

The goal for the moment is to capture that buzz and use it to build institutional power (with the help of people like you!), that can turn the bold concept of a Green New Deal into even bolder legislation to transform our economy and strengthen our communities.

Click on the image to tell Congress that it’s time for a Green New Deal!

That’s the hard part, and that’s exactly why we need millions of activists from communities across the U.S. to demand real climate leadership from our elected officials.

A Line in the Sand

To make the most impact, we need a Green New Deal that includes:

  • 21st Century energy policies that halt the expansion of new oil, gas, and coal, and begin to phase out fossil fuels in a way that’s consistent with the urgent timeline laid out by the IPCC 1.5C Special Report. A crucial first step could be to end all new fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters and to end subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
  • A path to a sustainable economy that runs on 100% renewable energy, decarbonizing our electricity, transportation, industrial and building sectors. Congress should consider enacting public investments in renewable energy infrastructure and putting Americans to work building it.

  • Sufficient funding and plans to ensure a just transition for affected workers and a just recovery for communities impacted by climate change. When communities are harmed by extreme weather, wildfires, superstorms, and flooding they must be rebuilt in a way that incorporates strong labor standards, transitions energy grids to renewable energy, and supports sustainable and equitable communities. Likewise, workers and communities that are reliant on fossil fuel extraction should be at the center of any plan for a fair transition away from dirty energy – and that plan should strengthen economic justice.

We also need politicians who are able to stand up to the fossil fuel industry because they have refused to accept campaign contributions from fossil fuel corporate interests and PACs. Congress should also take steps to hold fossil fuel companies accountable, conduct rigorous oversight of President Trump and the friends of the oil, coal and gas industry he’s put in place to staff federal agencies and reverse the harm that Trump has done to our federal scientific workforce.

Legislation and Lots More

Electing real climate leaders in 2020 provides our first chance at passing ambitious federal laws to decarbonize our economy, and we need to use the next two years to lay the groundwork for that effort to succeed. That means getting candidates for local, state and federal offices on record now and pushing them to support stronger and more specific climate policies — all before the primaries happen. But as important as that push will be, even a wildly ambitious federal climate bill will not be enough to limit climate change to safe levels. The problem is too big and reaches into too many parts of our economy and our communities for a one-and-done fix.

Like the original New Deal, the Green version won’t be the result of just one law or one year of work. We need to elect leaders that will be persistent in confronting the climate threat over the coming decade, demand they pass strong laws and then follow them up with smarter, better, more effective laws. We need leaders who are accountable to the most impacted communities and who won’t rest until the job is done, not just at the federal level, but in states and cities, schools and communities.

Fossil fuel money was able to kill off strong ballot initiatives in Washington and Colorado in the last election, so we know that we have our work cut out for us. But as always, when we build power from the frontlines of climate catastrophe, politicians will follow. They’ll have no choice but to do the right thing because of our strength. We need you to keep up the pressure and demand real climate leadership.

So click on the image below to tell Congress that it’s time for a Green New Deal!

Tim Donaghy

By Tim Donaghy

Tim Donaghy is a Senior Research Specialist with Greenpeace USA. He writes frequently about climate change, offshore oil drilling, energy production, and the Arctic.

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