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Nearing Biden Climate Summit, Sunrise Movement Joins Senator Markey and Rep Ocasio-Cortez in Introduction of Civilian Climate Corps and GND Resolution

WASHINGTON - Today, Sunrise Movement joined Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as they introduced the Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act of 2021, alongside a reintroduction of the Resolution for a Green New Deal, marking a historic step forward in the fight towards stopping the climate crisis, ensuring racial and economic justice, and guaranteeing good jobs for all. 

“In 2019 we made it our mission to pass a Green New Deal. Three years later, we are still facing the ticking time bomb of the climate crisis, but now alongside the highest levels of joblessness since the Great Depression. We are in a civilization altering moment in our history and it’s time for America’s political leaders to muster the courage and moral clarity to pass the Green New Deal, launching America’s biggest job creation program in a century while combating climate change,” said Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement. “At a crucial moment like this, politicians have a choice to make: they can heed the call demanded by science and justice to build back better through a Green New Deal, or they can cower to the fossil fuel industry and force us down a path of destruction, towards the fires that burned our homes to rubble and the floods that took our family and friends with them. Young people have made our choice clear – and now we demand politicians join us by passing a robust Civilian Climate Corps and ushering in the decade of the Green New Deal.”

Sunrise Movement brought the idea of a Civilian Climate Corps to Biden during the Biden-Sanders climate task force last summer and has fought for its adoption ever since. Since then, Biden has adopted the idea, but has come nowhere near the magnitude FDR employed: Roosevelt’s original CCC employed around 300,000 young Americans per year at a time when the US population was ~40% what it is now. Biden’s proposed CCC would invest $10 billion, equating to about 10-20,000 jobs a year.

“The Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act forges a new, visionary era of civic collaboration in this country by empowering and employing Americans of all walks of life to rebuild and revitalize their communities,” Prakash continued. “What if we ensured people had good jobs teaching, taking care of our elderly, and restoring public parks, and expanding renewable energy instead of working a shitty job at Amazon making Jeff Bezos even richer? Young people are ready and excited to get to work. If Biden really wants to build back better and make strides towards tackling climate change and putting our country back to work, the CCC must be strengthened to the scale, scope and speed outlined in this bill and passed as part of his jobs and infrastructure package.”

Senator Markey and Rep. Ocasio Cortez’s proposed Civilian Climate Corps is supported by dozens of racial, economic, climate justice, and labor groups and would employ a diverse group of 1.5 million Americans within five years to complete clean energy, climate resilience, environmental remediation, conservation, and sustainable infrastructure projects, while providing education, training, and career pathways in good union jobs. The CCC will provide a $15 minimum wage, ensure mandatory health and educational benefits for participants, and foregrounds racial justice and Tribal sovereignty protections. This is a concrete first step towards the longer-term vision of the Green New Deal. 

The reintroduction comes just days before Biden’s climate summit, reminding the administration that the movement for the Green New Deal and transformative change at home is only gaining momentum.

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Sunrise Movement is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.

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