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More than 40 youth climate activists who support the Green New Deal resolution were arrested for staging a sit-in at the Washington, DC office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). on Monday. Sunrise Movement

By Jessica Corbett

Hundreds of Kentucky high school students and climate campaigners with the youth-led Sunrise Movement descended on the Capitol Hill office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday to deliver 100,000 petition signatures and stage a sit-in to make clear to lawmakers that young people want a Green New Deal for their communities and futures.

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One of the demonstrators at the Women's March in 2019 held a sign that read "Green New Deal" while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addressed the crowd in Manhattan, NYC on Jan. 19. Ira L. Black / Corbis News / Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced on Thursday their highly anticipated joint resolutions on a Green New Deal.

The sweeping 10-year plan aims to "mobilize every aspect of American society ... to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all," according to the resolution's FAQs section from Ocasio-Cortez's office posted by NPR.

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Trump did not mention climate change while delivering the State of the Union address Tuesday night. Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address Tuesday night, focusing on his signature issues like the economy and immigration and warning lawmakers that the ongoing investigation into his conduct posed a threat to national security, The New York Times reported. But there was one real major threat to the nation, and the world, that he declined to mention at all: climate change.

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ZeroHour Climate March in Pittsburgh. Mark Dixon / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A sea of students are taking part in climate strikes around the world, and on March 15, young activists in the U.S. will add their voices to the escalating #FridaysForFuture movement.

Ever since 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg called for the first global climate strike last month, it has become a weekly routine for students to skip class on Fridays to march for their futures and those of future generations.

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Sen. Kamala Harris held a news conference after announcing her bid for president on Jan. 21. PBS NewsHour / YouTube screenshot

Kamala Harris on Monday became the latest Democratic presidential contender to back a Green New Deal, in what has become a "litmus test" for 2020 hopefuls, according to the youth-led Sunrise Movement that helped launch the ambitious economic and climate proposal.

"I support a Green New Deal and I will tell you why," the California Senator said during a CNN town hall in Iowa. "Climate change is an existential threat and we have got to deal with the reality of it."

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By Ronnie Cummins

"The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan … Half measures will not work … The time for slow and incremental efforts has long past [sic]." - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, then-candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Huffington Post, June 26, 2018

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House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) speaks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a ceremonial mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill on January 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi received a standing ovation after calling for action on climate change during her first address to the 116th session of Congress Thursday, according to a video shared by Newsweek.

"We must also face the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis, a crisis manifested in natural disasters of epic proportions. The American people understand the urgency. The people are ahead of the Congress. The Congress must join them," she said.

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Activists call for a Green New Deal at a protest in House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's office. Michael Brochstein / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Congressional Democratic leaders have tapped Florida Representative Kathy Castor to chair a renewed climate change committee, the congresswoman confirmed to E&E News Thursday, dampening the hopes of activists and progressive Democrats that the committee would focus on drafting a Green New Deal to provide jobs while transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy in 10 years.

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Sit-in at Rep. Hoyer's office. Sunrise Movement

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.

The protesters demanded Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim McGovern support Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal of a "select committee" for a Green New Deal before the winter recess.

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Backers of a proposal for a select committee for a Green New Deal. Sunrise Movement

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.

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Minnesota candidate Ilhan Omar is poised to become the first Somali-American elected to Congress. Sunrise Movement / Facebook

With record-breaking hurricanes, furious wildfires and an ominous report from the United Nations that forecasts catastrophic climate change, it's more important than ever to vote for leaders who are defenders of the environment.

Thankfully, we have candidates running for all levels of government who will take a stand on these critical issues and are promising ambitious climate policies if elected.

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