Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

sunrise banner

Climate experts and campaigners responded to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday night with demands for a Green New Deal. (Photo: Sunrise Movement/Twitter)

Green New Dealers Call for Turning 'Rage Into Action' After Trump Refuses to Even Say Word 'Climate' in SOTU

"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."

Jessica Corbett

"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.

"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.

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.).

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."

"They chanted USA USA. The kind of arsonists who hang around the fire to watch it burn," added 350.org cofounder Bill McKibben.

"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:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Top US Nurses Union Urges Senators to Suspend Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"Reproductive health services," says National Nurses United, are "fundamental to ensuring economic justice for women across the country."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Grave Injustice': Judge Rules Against West Virginia Community Devastated by Opioids

Three pharmaceutical companies distributed 81 million opioid painkillers in a West Virginia county over an eight-year period, but the federal judge ruled they were not liable for the damage done by the opioid epidemic.

Julia Conley ·


Nearly Two Dozen GOP States Attempting to Use Covid Relief Funds for Tax Cuts

Numerous Republican states, having benefited from federal coronavirus aid funds, are "pushing for income tax cuts that would deliver outsized gains to wealthy residents and profitable corporations."

Jake Johnson ·


'Congress Must Do More NOW,' Sanders Says After Mass Shooting at July 4th Parade

"Today's terrible shooting in Highland Park is the latest reminder of our nation's deadly gun violence epidemic," the Vermont senator said. "Grocery stores. Schools. Churches. Fourth of July parades."

Jake Johnson ·


'Bloodbath': At Least 6 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Mass Shooting at Illinois July 4th Parade

"What freedom do we have if we fear being gunned down at a parade?" asked one progressive politician horrified by the reported carnage.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo