The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ellen Sciales,

Sunrise Movement Responds to IPCC Report: This Report is Apocalyptic, Politicians Must Pass a Green New Deal


Today, following the latest IPCC report which details irreversible harm to the planet, Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement, released the following statement:

"Today, I, and so many other young people, wake up enraged -- the IPCC report is apocalyptic, catastrophic, and nothing we haven't been screaming from the rooftops for years. Our politicians shouldn't need a report to tell them how bad things are. We're already living it. Fires are burning forests the size of US states. Buildings are collapsing into the sea. Power is getting shut off as hundreds die from heat waves. And that's all from the last few months alone. What more do our politicians need to realize the climate crisis is here and they're not doing enough?

"This latest IPCC report must be a wake up call for Biden and Congress that the half measures they've proposed are not nearly enough to end the climate crisis. Even if we act now with the boldest possible action, there is still irreversible damage locked in from decades of fossil fuel use: sea levels will continue to rise, ice sheets will melt rapidly, and many coastal cities will cease to exist.

"Let's be clear: this was avoidable. These severe, nearly irreversible impacts are due to inaction from our politicians - starting with the President of the United States letting climate-denying Republicans scale back already insufficient climate pledges for the sake of "bipartisanship." It is because of their failure to act that the IPCC warns the places we love and call home will one day cease to exist. They call us unreasonable when we ask for what we need, but they are unreasonable for ignoring what they see outside in their districts, and putting politics over the future of our civilization.

"In the coming months, Biden and Congress have the chance to pass historic legislation that could begin the decade of the Green New Deal. If Biden really wants to be a world leader on climate, he'll heed this call and pass the boldest reconciliation bill possible. The IPCC report is clear - the stakes are high and we're running out of time. Anything less than delivering the full scope of climate action in reconciliation is ignoring science, ignoring the IPCC report and failing our generation."

Sunrise Movement's top reconciliation priorities are as follows:

A fully-funded Civilian Climate Corps

  • $132 billion to train a new workforce in long-term careers to tackle the climate crisis and improve community resilience, in line with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey's Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act.

Bold investments towards public housing, schools, transit, and renewable energy

  • $172 billion towards retrofitting existing public housing and building new units to expand safe, affordable housing, in line with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Sanders' Green New Deal for Public Housing.

  • $446 billion towards retrofitting America's public schools, in line with Rep. Bowman's Green New Deal for Public Schools.

  • $573 billion towards electrifying and expanding public transit, in line with Sen. Schumer and Brown's Clean Transit for America Plan, and Reps. Andy Levin and Ocasio-Cortez and Sens. Markey & Warren's BUILD GREEN Infrastructure and Jobs Act.

  • $250 billion towards funding climate projects and jobs in every local and tribal government in line with Reps. Bush and Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal for Cities Act.

  • $1.1 trillion to transition the power sector towards 100% renewable energy through a Clean Energy Standard that prioritizes renewable energy and excludes fossil fuels including natural gas, in line with Reps. Clarke and Welch's American Renewable Energy Act, as well as through other incentives and direct investments towards new renewable construction and deployment.

Worker protections as outlined in the PRO Act

  • Every project of the Green New Deal must be driven by union labor. Congress must enact the largest labor law reform since the New Deal to protect and expand union organizing, in line with the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

At least 40% of investments to frontline communities

  • All climate investments must work towards reversing systemic racial and economic injustice and actively advance environmental justice. In order to ensure this is the case, Congress must utilize a robust mapping tool, such as what is outlined in Rep. Bush and Sens. Markey and Duckworth's Environmental Justice Mapping and Data Collection Act, to help identify frontline, environmental justice communities who have borne the brunt of fossil fuel and other toxic industry pollution, impacts of the climate crisis, and decades of disinvestment and environmental racism, and direct at least 40% of all investments towards those communities. Every committee of jurisdiction must ensure at least 40% of funds are being granted to environmental justice communities, and Congress and the public must have oversight to hold the federal government accountable and ensure the funds reach communities justly and directly.

An end to fossil fuel subsidies

  • Congress must stop spending public money as a lifeline for the fossil fuel industry. Congress must repeal fossil fuel subsidies, in line with Rep. Omar and Sen. Sanders' End Polluter Welfare Act, and invest in all of the above priorities to tackle the climate crisis rather than continue to fund the industry that created it.

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