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Climate change is an existential threat to our country and the entire planet
May 14 at 4:46 PM
Sign my petition: Tell Congress no more subsidies to the fossil fuel companies who lied to the American people and are destroying our planet for profit.
ADD YOUR NAME
We are custodians of the earth, and it would be a moral disgrace if we left to future generations a planet that was unhealthy, unsafe, and uninhabitable.
Last night I joined my friend Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others to speak about climate change at an event sponsored by the Sunrise Movement.
And what I told the crowd was that climate change is an existential threat to our country, to the entire world, and that if we do not act boldly and aggressively to transform our global energy system away from fossil fuels within the next few years, there will be irreparable harm done to the planet.
What significant temperature increases will mean is more drought, more crop failures, and more famine. Drinking water, already a precious commodity in many areas, will become even scarcer. Millions of people will be displaced by rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and flooding. Tropical diseases like malaria, dengue, and yellow fever will spread into parts of the world where they don’t currently exist.
All of this will likely lead to increased human suffering and death, but the results will be even more dire than that. The growing scarcity of basic human needs could well lead to perpetual warfare in regions around the world, as people fight over limited supplies of water, farmland, and other natural resources.
I want to stress something I was laughed at for saying during the 2016 campaign, and that is that climate change is the greatest national security threat facing our country today.
And if we are going to be honest about combating climate change, it is necessary for us to understand that we have an economy that is rigged and a political system that is profoundly corrupt.
In other words, we have a small number of incredibly powerful billionaires who exercise enormous influence over the economic and political life of the country.
There are a lot of parallels between what the fossil fuel industry is doing today and the tobacco industry of 50 years ago. Decades ago, large profitable corporations denied that cigarette smoking causes cancer and other diseases. Today, the fossil fuel industry, making billions every year, denies what carbon emissions are doing to our planet. They lie, lie and lie, and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy politicians who echo their lies.
In the last decade alone, the oil and gas industry has pumped more than $700 million worth of campaign contributions into federal, state and local elections. In that same time, they spent more than $1.5 billion lobbying in Washington, D.C.
The fossil fuel industry has been well rewarded for their spending. An IMF report found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015.
Maybe providing massive support to an industry that is destroying our planet makes sense to some people, but it damn well does not make sense to me.
And here is even more. As a result of Trump's tax cuts, nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies that paid zero in taxes last year were in the fossil fuel and utility industry.
Let's be clear: it is time to end all subsidies and tax breaks for the oil and gas companies.
These companies lied to the American people about the very existence of climate change and committed one of the greatest frauds in the history of our country.
Add your name if you agree: Congress should no longer provide subsidies to the fossil fuel companies who lied to the American people and are destroying our planet for profit.
And just as the tobacco industry was ultimately forced to pay for the fraud they committed – the fossil fuel industry must be forced to do the same.
They cannot destroy this planet with impunity.
So here is the major question that we must answer: How do we take on an industry with unlimited power and resources?
And here in my view, is the answer.
We need a political revolution. We need millions of people from one end of this country to the other to stand up and fight back to create environmental policy that works for all of us and not just the one percent.
We have got an enormous amount of work in front of us. We’ve got to educate. We've got to organize. And we've got to fight for political power.
The one percent has unlimited wealth and influence, but at the end of the day they are just one percent. And if my arithmetic is right, there are a lot more people in the 99 percent than in the one percent.
Let's bring our people together. Let's transform our energy system and let's save the planet.