• May 18th, 2024
  • Saturday, 11:23:09 AM

Great Problems Demand Great Solutions

Photo: Sierra Club Javier Sierra

Javier Sierra


We all have a great problem, perhaps the greatest humanity has ever confronted.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we must reduce the world’s carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and completely eliminate them by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic and irreversible consequences of climate change.

Moreover, the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment, issued by the Trump administration itself in November, also made abundantly clear that failing to act decisively on climate would translate into unfathomable economic and social costs. The report indicates that both extreme weather and sea level rise would inflict more than $400 billion in annual losses in the US.

Yet, we do have a great solution to this greatest of problems: the Green New Deal (GND), a bold plan of massive investments geared at achieving a 100% clean, renewable energy economy that would free us from the climate threat. Moreover, the GND would create millions of new, well-paying jobs that cannot be exported and would address the racial, economic, and social inequities that plague our country.

The scientific consensus is warning that the survival of our species is at stake. They also tell us the solutions to this problem are in our hands. Let’s get to work!

This ambitious initiative considers that the climate crisis magnifies the systemic injustices that force working families and communities of color to suffer the consequences of low wages, toxic pollution, and extreme weather.

We Latinos have been waiting for the GND for decades. Poll after poll has revealed that my community overwhelmingly dreads the climate crisis and expects the federal government to spearhead the clean energy economy that the GND proposes. The initiative not only would boost the sectors of the economy that employ the most of us — such as construction, manufacturing, and agriculture — but would also drastically reduce the emissions that sicken our communities.

Almost the entire nation embraces this deal. According to a poll by Yale and George Mason universities, an overwhelming 80 percent of Americans support it, including 64 percent of Republicans.

Nevertheless, after it was introduced as a parliamentary resolution by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, climate deniers began hyperventilating, rejecting the deal as an abuse of taxpayers’ dollars and a reckless solution to a nonexisting problem. Ironically, all this huffing and puffing comes from the same crew who support the following examples of ransacking the national treasury:

-Donald Trump’s disastrous tax cut for the rich and corporations (cost: $2.3 trillion)

-The exploding national debt, which under Trump has reached record levels (total: $21.7 trillion)

-The fossil fuel industry subsidies (annual cost: $52 billion)

The deniers’ obfuscation fails to hide the fact that the GND is already taking place across the country. California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, has already committed itself to a future of clean, renewable energy. So have Hawaii and the District of Columbia.

Other states, such as Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, New México, Oregon, and Washington, have taken decisive steps to follow suit. And more than 100 cities nationwide have made firm commitments to obtain 100 percent of their energy from clean and renewable sources. Many of those —such as Denver, Orlando, San Diego, San Jose, and Santa Barbara— boast large Latino populations.

The scientific consensus is warning that the survival of our species is at stake. They also tell us the solutions to this problem are in our hands. Let’s get to work!


Javier Sierra es un columnista del Sierra Club. Sígalo en Twitter @javier_SC.


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