Feb 05, 2019
"How can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention--not one word about--climate change when the leading scientists of the world tell us that climate change is real, that climate change is caused by human activity, and that climate change is already causing devastating harm in the United States and in much of the world?"
"Don't call them deniers, they are arsonists."
-- Naomi Klein, author & activist
That's the question Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) asked in his rebuttal to President Donald Trump's address on Tuesday night, as climate experts and campaigners warned that Trump's bragging about U.S. fossil fuel production spells doom for the planet and a more liveable future.
\u201cIt's nice that Trump is honoring the contributions of @TheRealBuzz & @NASA to American science.\nBut he dishonors them by refusing to accept the the basic science conducted by @NASA today addressing human-caused climate change.\nAnd he endangers all of us with this science denial.\u201d— Prof Michael E. Mann (@Prof Michael E. Mann) 1549419380
"The scientists tell us that we have a very short 12 years--not a lot of time--in order to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy if we are going to have a planet that is healthy and habitable for our children and our grandchildren," Sanders noted, referencing a U.N. report released in October. "Somehow or another, Donald Trump just forgot to talk about that."
Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the Georgia gubernatorial race last November, delivered the Democratic Party's official response to Trump on Tuesday night. She too highlighted the need to take swift action to address the climate crisis.
\u201cOne more time for the people in the back:\n\nWe need action on climate change.\nWe need action on climate change.\nWe need action on climate change.\n\nThank you, @staceyabrams, for naming the simple fact that Trump refused to in his #SOTU tonight. \ud83d\udc4f #GreenNewDeal\u201d— 350 dot org (@350 dot org) 1549425050
The president's annual speech, meanwhile, didn't feature any mention of "climate change" or "global warming"--but he did acknowledge rising U.S. oil and gas production, a move that was met with applause from many members of Congress, including Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.).
\u201c"We have unleashed a revolution in American energy. The United States is now the number one producer of oil & natural gas anywhere in the world. For the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy"\n\nWatch #SOTU live: https://t.co/GQuvyLydMK\u201d— KUSI News (@KUSI News) 1549420037
Given that fossil fuels are the top source of greenhouse gas emissions, author and activist Naomi Klein tweeted: "They cheered for the knowing destabilization of the planet. Don't call them deniers, they are arsonists."
"Trump may tout the surge in oil and gas production in the United States because his oil and gas boosters tell him to, but the reality is that continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry will lead us off the cliff and unleash a climate of chaos," said David Turnbull, strategic communications director at Oil Change USA.
Calling the speech "a wake-up call to all who care about our climate," Turnbull emphasized the importance of campaigners fighting for a Green New Deal "as Donald Trump pushes ahead with his catastrophic energy dominance agenda."
May Boeve, 350.org's executive director, also used the moment to promote a Green New Deal--as activists and federal lawmakers prepare for legislation currently being drafted by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.), due out as early as this week.
"The only energy revolution America needs is a massive economic transformation at the scale of the climate crisis--that's a Green New Deal," Boeve said. "Real climate leaders must join forces against Trump's xenophobic, fossil-fueled agenda, and put their weight behind bold legislation that takes our economy out of the hands of Big Oil."
Sunrise Movement, the youth-led organization that has spearheaded grassroots organizing in favor of a Green New Deal, urged those enraged by the president's speech to channel it into action:
\u201cHope y'all are channelling your #SOTU rage into action \ud83d\udc40\n\nHint: you can start here, by getting support for a #GreenNewDeal https://t.co/foKQaQWEts\u201d— Sunrise Movement \ud83c\udf05 (@Sunrise Movement \ud83c\udf05) 1549423789
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