Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Proposal Now Backed by 15 House Democrats
Calls for a Green New Deal are gaining traction in the two short weeks after the young climate activists of the Sunrise Movement and Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stormed Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi's Capitol Hill office.
Fifteen members of Congress have now backed Ocasio-Cortez's proposal to establish a "select committee" in the House of Representatives to develop a plan to—basically—reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to transition the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy sources within 10 years of passing the Green New Deal legislation.
Supporters in the House include John Lewis, the civil rights leader and Democratic congressman from Georgia, and trailblazers Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
The science is clear—we need urgent action on climate change now. Actually, we needed it 15 years ago. Now we’re ru… https://t.co/BxivhdMh2h— Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan Omar)1542723100.0
As ThinkProgress reported, Democratic congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine joined the growing list of backers on Tuesday.
"We don't need another report to tell us climate change is a threat to our health, environment and economy," she said in a statement on her website. "We must take urgent action to end our nation's reliance on fossil fuels and stop the damage greenhouse gases have done to our way of life."
Pingree, an organic farmer and member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, said the effects of climate change have greatly impacted her state.
"Look no further than Maine's lobster industry to see the looming economic crisis facing our state due to rapidly warming waters," she said. "Meanwhile rates of asthma and tick-borne illness in Maine have dramatically spiked because of fossil fuel emissions and rising temperatures. I see the crisis of climate change every day in my state and believe a new committee dedicated exclusively to this crisis can support the long-standing work of other House committees and help to fast-track solutions."
Here are the 15 House Democrats supporting the measure:
- Jared Huffman (CA-02)
- Ro Khanna (CA-17)
- Ted Lieu (CA-33)
- John Lewis (GA-05)
- Joe Neguse (CO-02)
- Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
- Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
- Ayanna Pressley (MA-07)
- Rashida Tlaib (MI-13)
- Ilhan Omar (MN-05)
- Deb Halland (NM-01)
- Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)
- José E. Serrano (NY-15)
- Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
The proposal also has the support of nearly 100 environmental, economic and social justice organizations, according to the Sunrise Movement.
To build momentum, the youth climate group is organizing another mass action at the Capitol on Dec. 10, right before Congress breaks for the holidays, "to make sure Ocasio's Select Committee on a Green New Deal makes it on the agenda for 2019," Sunrise Movement founder Varshini Prakash said in an emailed press release.
The group launched the effort only yesterday and 230 people have already signed up to participate. (You can also join the action in DC, or if you're on the West Coast, you can sign up for the action in Nancy Pelosi's office in San Francisco.)
We have until Dec 13 to set the agenda for 2019. A #GreenNewDeal MUST be a priority. Join us in Washington DC on D… https://t.co/diCW7uDIgg— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅)1543434132.0
Last week, the National Climate Assessment report—compiled by 13 federal agencies and more than 300 scientists—warned that climate change could kill thousands of Americans each year and slash the GDP by more than 10 percent by 2100.
President Donald Trump, who is fixated on fossil fuels, dismissed his own government's report by saying "I don't believe it."
"People are going to die if we don't start addressing climate change ASAP. It's not enough to think it's 'important.' We must make it urgent," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted after the report's release. "That's why we need a Select Committee on a Green New Deal, & why fossil fuel-funded officials shouldn't be writing climate change policy."
People are going to die if we don’t start addressing climate change ASAP. It’s not enough to think it’s “important… https://t.co/fzfg6ppv1y— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1543005310.0
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In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
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It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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