The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
'Bring It On': Green New Deal Champions Welcome McConnell's Cynical Ploy for Up-or-Down Vote
By Jake Johnson
But, confident that the calculated ploy will backfire on the GOP, climate groups and progressive lawmakers are telling the Republican leader: "Bring it on."
After McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that he plans to hold a floor vote the Green New Deal plan unveiled last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), environmentalists and progressive members of Congress argued that rather than revealing deep rifts in the Democratic Party, an up-or-down vote will spotlight the GOP's total opposition to a widely popular policy that represents the best hope of adequately confronting the climate crisis.
"Republicans don't want to debate climate change, they only want to deny it," Markey said in a statement after McConnell's announcement. "They have offered no plan to address this economic and national security threat and want to sabotage any effort that makes Big Oil and corporate polluters pay."
Since the Green New Deal resolution was introduced last week, President Donald Trump, Republican lawmakers, and right-wing pundits have spread hysterical falsehoods about the measure and decried it as a "socialist fever dream" that would be political suicide for Democrats to support.
But, noting that the Green New Deal is extremely popular among the U.S. public—with one survey showing that 57 percent of Republican voters and 81 percent of Americans overall support the ambitious idea—Markey concluded that "Republicans, climate deniers, and the fossil fuel industry are going to end up on the wrong side of history."
Ocasio-Cortez—who has led the congressional push to force the Green New Deal into political mainstream—accused McConnell of attempting to "bully" the Democratic Party by plowing ahead with a vote, and argued that Democrats should embrace the opportunity to go on the record in support of bold climate action.
"[H]e's banking on people not being courageous," Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Post. "I think people should call his bluff."
In response to McConnell's announcement, the youth-led Sunrise Movement scheduled an "emergency mass call" for Wednesday night to discuss plans to make the Senate Majority Leader regret his politically-motivated scheme.
"This vote forces every member of the Senate to make a choice: will you vote for a plan to guarantee every American clean air and water, a stable climate, and a good job? Or will you stand with Mitch McConnell and the fossil fuel billionaires who are willing to put millions of lives in peril so they can pad their profits?" Sunrise declared.
"In the coming weeks," the group concluded, "Sunrise Movement's army of young people will be taking action to expose the moral bankruptcy of GOP elites and invite all Senate Democrats to join Sen. Markey in championing the first-ever resolution to rise to the scale and urgency of the climate crisis."
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey's Green New Deal resolution—which calls for a "national mobilization" to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030—has already garnered the support of 67 House Democrats and 11 senators, including major 2020 presidential contenders like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
While McConnell seems to think that getting Democrats on the record backing the Green New Deal will help the GOP politically, the New Yorker's Osita Nwanevu noted that supporting the bold measure "isn't very fraught with political risk for most Democrats."
On top of polls showing the Green New Deal is extremely popular, Nwanevu pointed to another survey showing "that 66 percent of Americans want to see action on climate change, with a 45 percent plurality favoring 'immediate' action."
An up-or-down vote on the Green New Deal resolution would also be beneficial for grassroots advocates, Nwanevu argued, because it would also force centrist Democrats who oppose the bold and popular policy to go on the record.
"The resolution will surely be opposed by some Democratic centrists," he concluded. "This, perhaps counterintuitively, makes an up-or-down vote extraordinarily convenient for activists supporting the Green New Deal—from groups like the Sunrise Movement, Indivisible, and the Sierra Club—who will be able to put pressure on those who reject the resolution in the months ahead. Broadly speaking, a vote on the resolution will do little more for Republicans than further elevate an issue on which they're deeply at odds with public opinion."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
- Sweeping Green New Deal Resolution Unveiled by Ocasio-Cortez ... ›
- Ocasio-Cortez Fires Back at Trump Over Green New Deal - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Key Questions About the Green New Deal - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Will Sarni
It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.
The Past is No Longer a Guide to the Future
We get ever closer to "day zeros" — the point at when municipal water supplies are switched off — and tragedies such as Flint. These are not isolated stories. Instead they are becoming routine, and the public sector and civil society are scrambling to address them. We are seeing "day zeros" in South Africa, India, Australia and elsewhere, and we are now detecting lead contamination in drinking water in cities across the U.S.
"Day zero" is the result of water planning by looking in the rear-view mirror. The past is no longer a guide to the future; water demand has outstripped supplies because we are tied to business-as-usual planning practices and water prices, and this goes hand-in-hand with the inability of the public sector to factor the impacts of climate change into long-term water planning. Lead in drinking water is the result of lead pipe service lines that have not been replaced and in many cases only recently identified by utilities, governments and customers. An estimated 22 million people in the US are potentially using lead water service lines. This aging infrastructure won't repair or replace itself.
One of the most troubling aspects of the global water crisis is that those least able to afford access to water are also the ones who pay a disproportionately high percentage of their income for it. A report by WaterAid revealed that a standard water bill in developed countries is as little as 0.1 percent of the income of someone earning the minimum wage, while in a country like Madagascar a person reliant on a tanker truck for their water supply would spend as much as 45 percent of their daily income on water to get just the recommended daily minimum supply. In Mozambique, families relying on black-market vendors will spend up to 100 times as much on water as those reached by government-subsidized water supplies.
Finally, we need to understand that the discussion of a projected gap between supply and demand is misleading. There is no gap, only poor choices around allocation. The wealthy will have access to water, and the poor will pay more for water of questionable quality. From Flint residents using bottled water and paying high water utility rates, to the poor in South Africa waiting in line for their allocation of water — inequity is everywhere.
Water Inequity Requires Global Action — Now.
These troubling scenarios beg the obvious question: What to do? We do know that ongoing reports on the 'water crisis' are not going to catalyze action to address water scarcity, poor quality, access and affordability. Ensuring the human right to water feels distant at times.
We need to mobilize an ecosystem of stakeholders to be fully engaged in developing and scaling solutions. The public sector, private sector, NGOs, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and civil society must all be engaged in solving water scarcity and quality problems. Each stakeholder brings unique skills, scale and speed of impact (for example, entrepreneurs are fast but lack scale, while conversely the public sector is slow but has scale).
We also urgently need to change how we talk about water. We consistently talk about droughts happening across the globe — but what we are really dealing with is an overallocation of water due to business-as-usual practices and the impacts of climate change.
We need to democratize access to water data and actionable information. Imagine providing anyone with a smartphone the ability to know, on a real-time basis, the quality of their drinking water and actions to secure safe water. Putting this information in the hands of civil society instead or solely relying on centralized regulatory agencies and utilities will change public policies.
Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry.
Note: This post also appears on the World Economic Forum.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Circle of Blue.
- Newark Water Filters Are Working, Tests Suggest - EcoWatch ›
- Newark's Lead Crisis Escalates - EcoWatch ›
- Mice exposed to nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor developed lung cancer within a year.
- More research is needed to know what this means for people who vape.
- Other research has shown that vaping can cause damage to lung tissue.
A new study found that long-term exposure to nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor increases the risk of cancer in mice.
Six months: That's how much time Mexico now has to report on its progress to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) from extinction.
It may seem innocuous to flush a Q-tip down the toilet, but those bits of plastic have been washing up on beaches and pose a threat to the birds, turtles and marine life that call those beaches home. The scourge of plastic "nurdles," as they are called, has pushed Scotland to implement a complete ban on the sale and manufacture of plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, as the BBC reported.
By Tim Radford
Scientists in the U.S. have added a new dimension to the growing hazard of extreme heat. As global average temperatures rise, so do the frequency, duration and intensity of heatwaves.
Oscar-award winning actress and long-time political activist Jane Fonda was arrested on the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Friday for peacefully protesting the U.S. government's inaction in combating the climate crisis, according to the AP.
By Caroline Hickman
I'm up late at night worrying that my baby brothers may die from global warming and other threats to humanity – please can you put my mind at rest? – Sophie, aged 17, East Sussex, UK