Green New Deal Represents Unrelenting Youth-led Demand for Climate Action

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Dec 21, 2018

WASHINGTON (December 21, 2018)—Young people around the world are demanding climate action on an unprecedented scale. The Sunrise Movement’s Green New Deal proposal has created a wave of energy that has young people calling for just and equitable climate policies, risking arrest on Capitol Hill and providing momentum to congressional newcomers. The energy behind the proposal, which is being presented to local and state governments, as well as Congress, shows that the country is waking up to the dangers of climate change and won’t be silenced until this dire problem is addressed. 

 Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

 “Building on the concept of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal that helped end the Great Depression, the Green New Deal proposal is a bold call for transitioning to a clean energy economy, creating millions of jobs and cleaning up pollution in the process. And just as FDR’s New Deal sought to help Americans who were hardest hit, the Green New Deal seeks to provide a just transition, with a priority on providing resources to workers displaced from the fossil fuel industry, as well as low-income communities and communities of color most impacted by climate change.

 “Two reports were released this year that couldn’t make it clearer that we are quickly running out of time to keep the worst impacts of climate change in check. The federal National Climate Assessment stated that climate change is happening right now in every part of the country—contributing to dangerously high temperatures, rising seas, deadly wildfires, torrential rainfalls and devastating hurricanes. The report concluded that these climate-related impacts will only get worse and their costs will mount dramatically if carbon emissions continue unabated. Meanwhile, a United Nations report found the world has only a dozen years to take drastic action to respond to the threat if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“The Green New Deal reflects that urgency. It calls for a rapid transition to clean energy; energy efficiency retrofitting; a national electricity grid that brings renewable energy to population hubs where it’s needed; clean transportation; sustainable, soil-building farming systems; and the prioritization of resources for climate resilience to frontline communities who are most at risk.

 “By centering economic and racial justice in its platform, the Green New Deal points the way towards addressing climate change and many other societal challenges in a just and equitable way.

 “We are excited to see this youth-led movement and welcome the opportunity to work alongside the Sunrise Movement and all who understand the urgency of this moment on durable, effective solutions.  While we may not always agree on the details of policy or strategy, we will stand together and demand bold climate action at all levels of government and society.”