Less than a decade remains to avoid potentially catastrophic impacts of a warming planet, according to the latest report from the world’s top scientists.
Hilda Nucete, organizer with the Sunrise Movement’s Denver hub, said proposals making their way through Congress would be a good start. Plans call for cutting climate pollution by 50%, and converting 80% of the energy sector to renewable sources, by 2030.
Nucete said time is running out to address warnings in the report viewed as a code red for Humanity.
“There’s not a lot of time, but our movement is not letting up,” said Nucete. “We’re organizing, we’re demanding people in power to step up and pass bold legislation to stop this climate crisis.”
This month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment projects that if fossil fuels continue to burn, global temperatures could rise to three degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the turn of the century, a scenario that would render the planet unlivable for large numbers of species and lead to mass migrations and resource wars.
Critics of the proposals say they are too costly, and claim reducing emissions would hurt the economy.
Ashik Siddique, research analyst with the National Priorities Project, said the Pentagon has known for years that climate change poses one of the greatest threats to national security, yet over the past two decades Americans have seen $6.4 trillion of their tax dollars funneled into foreign wars.
Siddique said even greater investments will be needed to stop fossil-fuel emissions in time.
“To shift our entire electricity grid in the United States to renewable energy,” said Siddique, “one cost estimate has that at $4.5 trillion, which is expensive. But again, it’s less than the $6 trillion that we spent on war.”
When enough Americans viewed the rise of fascism as an existential threat during World War II, the U.S. government directed private industries to switch from producing cars, appliances and children’s toys to make tanks, planes and ships.
Siddique noted that the Defense Production Act still can be used today to shift industrial capacity to meet vital public needs against threats such as pandemics or the climate crisis.
By Eric Galatas
Eric Galatas is a Producer with Public News Service.
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