Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the surprise winner of the NY-14 Primary upset has just proven that the problem with establishment Democrats is they just aren’t committed enough.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is the Climate Change Hardliner the Planet Needs
Jun 28 2018, 1:01am
Ocasio-Cortez upset the NY-14 primary with a progressive agenda that included transitioning the US to renewables by 2035.
Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th district (Bronx/Queens) on Tuesday, beating out her incumbent opponent Joe Crowley, who has been a member of Congress since 1999. The victory was a surprising upset and a key victory for progressives, who are eager to pull the Democratic Party left in spite of hand-wringing from its current moderate leadership.
“This is the start of a movement,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to her win. “Thank you all.”
Cleverly branding her plan to confront climate change as “a Green New Deal,” Ocasio-Cortez set an ambitious goal to fully transition the United States to renewable energy sources by 2035. Crucially, she spotlighted the economic and social justice impacts of climate change, and warned of the “worldwide refugee crisis” that will result from continuing to marginalize the issue.
“Right now, the economy is controlled by big corporations whose profits are dependent on the continuation of climate change,” her platform reads. “This arrangement benefits few, but comes at the detriment of our planet and all its inhabitants.”
From Alexandria’s campaign website;
Mobilizing Against Climate Change
In order to address runaway global climate change, Alexandria strongly supports transitioning the United States to a carbon-free, 100% renewable energy system and a fully modernized electrical grid by 2035. She believes renewable fuels must be produced in a way that achieves our environmental and energy security goals, so we can move beyond oil responsibly in the fight against climate change. By encouraging the electrification of vehicles, sustainable home heating, distributed rooftop solar generation, and the conversion of the power grid to zero-emissions energy sources, Alexandria believes we can be 100% free of fossil fuels by 2035.
Furthermore, Alex believes in recognizing the relationship between economic stability and environmental sustainability. It’s time to shift course and implement a Green New Deal – a transformation that implements structural changes to our political and financial systems in order to alter the trajectory of our environment. Right now, the economy is controlled by big corporations whose profits are dependent on the continuation of climate change. This arrangement benefits few, but comes at the detriment of our planet and all its inhabitants. Its effects are life-threatening, and are especially already felt by low-income communities, both in the U.S. and globally. Even in NY-14, areas like Throgs Neck, College Point, and City Island are being affected by erosion and rising sea levels. Rather than continue a dependency on this system that posits climate change as inherent to economic life, the Green New Deal believes that radically addressing climate change is a potential path towards a more equitable economy with increased employment and widespread financial security for all.
Climate change is the single biggest national security threat for the United States and the single biggest threat to worldwide industrialized civilization, and the effects of warming can be hard to predict and self-reinforcing. We need to avoid a worldwide refugee crisis by waging a war for climate justice through the mobilization of our population and our government. This starts with the United States being a leader on the actions we take both globally and locally.
I agree with Alexandria that the current Democrat leadership, whoever they are at this point in time, don’t seem to be taking climate change seriously.
Imagine for a moment that you truly believed anthropogenic global warming was an imminent deadly threat. If climate change really was an existential crisis, it simply wouldn’t make sense to campaign for or support the adoption of half measures. If you truly believed the future of your children depended on giving up your car, that your kids would all die if you and your neighbours continued to use fossil fuels, wouldn’t you demand everyone immediately give up their car? Wouldn’t you feel anger and frustration towards the self serving complacency of establishment politicians who kept trying to buy you off by offering tiny upward increments to their unambitious renewable targets?
The obvious explanation for mainstream Democrat moderation on climate issues is that most Democrat establishment politicians don’t really believe climate change is a serious issue. They offer a few token measures to win the votes of climate believers, while trying to avoid frightening off rich industrialists who are attracted to some of their other policies.
But hardcore climate fanatics aren’t complete fools. They might be wrong about climate change, but people know when they are just being used by politicians who don’t really care about their concerns.
It was inevitable that someone like Alexandria would arise – a true believer, someone who speaks to the hearts of fellow climate true believers, people who are fed up with being lied to and betrayed by the establishment.