‘The pope is on our side’
BOSTON—In order to convince college students to support the Green New Deal, the senior senator from Massachusetts told them it addresses their two favorite subjects: “intersectionality and marginalization.”
Democrat Ed Markey spoke at the University of Massachusetts-Boston Monday to commemorate Earth Day, laying out arguments in favor of the nonbinding congressional resolution on climate change.
It was their concern for intersectionality and marginalization, he said, that led Markey and freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to write the Green New Deal, which aims to fix “systemic racial, regional, social, environmental and economic injustices.”
Markey claimed that “the pope is on our side,” though Pope Francis has not taken a position on the Green New Deal, and warned that the re-election of President Trump, “the denier in chief,” would be a “death sentence for the planet.”
Markey crowed that about a dozen Democratic candidates for president are sponsors of the resolution, which contrasts with the absence of questions about climate change in the 2016 general election debate between Hillary Clinton and Trump.
Yet the senator may be taking his message to college students because his own colleagues aren’t ready to publicly support the far-reaching resolution. It also promises “high-quality health care” to all Americans, guaranteed jobs with “paid vacations,” and free college.
Rather than support the resolution in a Senate vote called by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last month, 43 Democrats voted “present.” This includes prominent Senate Democrats who are campaigning for the presidency: Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Four of their colleagues joined all 53 Republicans to vote against the 14-page resolution.
Resolution ‘does not ban cows’
The university’s John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies sponsored the public event, which was attended by students, faculty, staff and locals.
Markey told students they would become known as the “Green New Deal generation,” taking the frontlines of a “clean energy revolution.”
Climate change is an “existential threat” to the United States and the world at large, and the federal government must react with “well-regulated capitalism,” said the chairman of the Senate’s Climate Change Task Force.
The Green New Deal “enhances the economy while changing our relationship with the environment” and addresses “systemic injustices” against marginalized populations, Markey claimed.
He connected the congressional response to climate change to other moments in American history, including the Revolutionary War, abolitionist movement, moon landing and legalization of same-sex marriage.
The resolution “does not ban cows,” Markey said to audience laughs, alluding to a document released by Ocasio-Cortez’s office that implied the Green New Deal aimed to “get rid of farting cows” eventually.
Markey noted that he and Ocasio-Cortez responded to conservative critics of the “farting cows” line by taking a selfie of themselves eating ice cream outside the U.S. Capitol.
The media buzz that the Green New Deal has generated was certainly successful in injecting the issue of climate change into a wider realm of political conversation, Markey said, claiming that was their goal in writing the resolution.
Beyond the political jab at President Trump, Markey said the oil industry and free-market philanthropists Charles and David Koch* “use [their] wealth to fund education” that provides evidence for climate change deniers.
No sources for statistics
The senator tossed out statistics liberally, though he didn’t give sources for them.
He predicted the average global temperature will rise nine degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. The number of “electric vehicles on the road” has skyrocketed to as many as half a million, Markey said, up from “2,000 people who drove” them in 2008.
This is why the federal government must “increase fuel economy standards” and further incentivize green engineering in the automotive industry, among many “national goals,” according to Markey.
Further down the road, the senator warns of “climate refugees,” meaning communities that will be displaced as a result of rising waters in coastal environments.
The only conclusion is that climate change brings together “national security, economic, environmental and moral” challenges, and that the Green New Deal “telescopes the timeframe to achieve these goals.”
Markey concluded by challenging the president: “Where is your plan, Mr. Trump?”
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