1,000+ Youth Activists Storm Capitol to Demand Green New Deal
More than 1,000 climate activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington and participated in sit-ins at Democratic leaders' offices on Monday.
"Any politician who wants to be taken seriously by our generation needs to support solutions that match the scale and urgency of the climate crisis," said Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash in a press release sent to EcoWatch. "If the Democrats want the youth vote in 2020, they need to get to work on a Green New Deal in 2019."
Organizers said 143 young people were arrested during the sit-ins.
The select committee in the House of Representatives will basically develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to transition the United States to 100 percent renewable energy sources within 10 years of passing the Green New Deal legislation.
The number of Congresspeople who are backing Ocasio-Cortez's proposal of a select committee has now grown to 22 House Democrats since the first Sunrise-led protest last month.
During that demonstration, 200 young activists and the rising political star from New York swarmed Pelosi's office demanding that the Democratic leader support the Green New Deal.
Climate Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins Hundreds of Activists in Pelosi’s Office to Call for a Green New Deal https://t.co/htOnDH5S66— 350NYC.org (@350NYC.org)1542204965.0
Monday's protest has already resulted in a commitment from Rep. McGovern (D-Mass), the incoming chair of the powerful House Rules Committee.
"I want to make sure that it happens," McGovern said to rapturous cheers and applause. "I am committed to the House Select Committee on a Green New Deal to deal with the issue of climate change."
"But we have to work out the details. We shouldn't get hung up on every little detail," he added.
ICYMI: Here is the moment that @RepMcGovern committed to support a House Select Committee on a #GreenNewDeal! Our m… https://t.co/ILYo2cQyfB— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅)1544468337.0
Hoyer, the Democratic whip, tweeted on Monday that he was "happy to hear" from the protesters and called climate change "one of the most pressing issues of our time."
But in response, Prakash said: "We need you to do more than listen. We need you to take the #NoFossilFuelMoney pledge and support the proposed Select Committee on a Green New Deal by the end of the year. We're doing our job, will you do yours?"
The group said that Rep. Hoyer has received more than $250,000 from fossil fuel executives, lobbyists and PACs during his 20-year career in Congress.
More than 140 environmental, economic and social justice organizations have backed the Green New Deal, according to the Sunrise Movement.
Pelosi—who is poised to take over as House Speaker—has not yet issued remarks regarding today's protests.
More than 1,000 youth activists lobbied 50 Congressional offices on Monday. Sunrise Movement
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
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