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Democrats 'Wasting Time While Our Climate Burns' With Insufficient Resolution

A scathing response from Friends of the Earth to a climate resolution from Senate Democrats says that moderation is not the answer on the environment.

More than 1,000 young protesters lined the halls of Congress and lobbied at congressional offices on Monday to demand that their elected representatives back the Green New Deal. (Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A climate change resolution from Senate Democrats "fails the laugh test" and is insufficient to meet the challenges posed by environmental catastrophe, according to environmental groups.

"This resolution sets a low bar at a time when the fundamental transformation of our economy that delivers on the promise of a Green New Deal is the only real climate solution worth discussing," Nicole Ghio, the fossil fuel program manager at Friends of the Earth, said in response to the resolution put forth by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works ranking member.

The Schumer and Carper resolution only asserts that climate change is real, caused by humans, and requires action from Congress.

Nowhere in the short document is there a call for action by a certain time nor did the resolution present any solutions, according to Ghio.

"This resolution is wasting time while our climate burns," she said. "The window for moderate action on climate change has closed."

The entire 47-strong Senate Democratic delegation (including Independents Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont) support the Schumer-Carper resolution, giving the document an air of progressive unanimity that was cited by Carper in a floor speech Tuesday. 

"We as Democrats may not agree about exactly how to address climate change, but we all agree it’s happening," said Carper. "We agree human activity is the main cause and we agree we must act now."

Schumer concurred, telling POLITICO that the GOP didn't have "much standing" in the climate conversation and that it behooved Democrats to act in their stead. But that reasoning was dismissed out of hand by Friends of the Earth.

"A symbolic critique of Republicans for having no plan rings hollow if centrist Democrats lack the courage to press for real solutions," Ghio said. 

The debate on climate change has intensified over the past few months, with a Green New Deal resolution by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) picking up supporters by the day and a more intense and cross generational grassroots is becoming more assertive on the issue.

A push from youth activists in the Sunrise Movement against both Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is letting politicians know that their choices on the environment aren't being ignored.

"The spirit, tenor and terms of the climate debate have changed," noted Guardian columnist Julian Brave NoiseCat on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans narrowly confirmed ex-coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday. Read about that vote—and the reaction from progressive groups—here

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