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senate Bill S. Con. Res. 22

Should Congress Declare Climate Change an ‘Existential Emergency’ Similar to WWII?

Argument in favor

Climate change is already threatening both domestic and international communities. Left unchecked, it’ll eventually threaten the survival of our species. Declaring this challenge an emergency is needed to properly frame the challenge and spur ambitious legislation to tackle it. Although it doesn’t prescribe specific policies, this resolution captures this issue’s urgency.

Mindfulness's Opinion
···
08/27/2019
This is the Reality...not reality television. The POTUS is uneducable. This too is a reality. Don’t you agree? Congress do your job.
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jimK's Opinion
···
08/27/2019
We are currently beginning to feel the impact of climate change. Quantitative measures of shifting precipitation patterns and weather are matching climate scientists predictions. New studies in Greenland are showing that the rate of climate change has been under estimated. When for example, the Greenland ice pack melts ocean levels will have risen by 23 feet. Shifting precipitation patterns will threaten water supplies for literally millions of people. (For those who did not realize, our administrations withdrawal from the climate accord and the threat to India’s potable water supply was the the reason why India ‘ceremonially’ levied tariffs against us). The factors driving climate change are essentially a run-away global chemical reaction. Increased CO2 and methane causes greenhouse warming. We have reached the threshold levels required to initiate the self-sustaining chemistry which accelerates the rate of climate change.That warming increases ocean temperatures which disrupts prior stable currents. The disrupted currents and warmer ocean changes weather patterns and increases the release of methane from the huge amounts of methane sequestered in the oceans. The increased methane (which is much more dangerous than CO2) accelerates the process. The longer term effects to humanity are well, catastrophic. If only a fraction of the predicted 20 year impacts were to be realized, the humanitarian costs will be too high for us or the world to ignore. We need to take action now. We have to begin addressing the issues and come up with solutions. Time is running out and we have to do this right the first time. Addressing Climate Change is much more important than politics, and all the bull crap rhetoric associated with politics. For those climate change deniers- I would love to see any consensus view of credentialed scientists that support your view. I hope you can find this. Opinions of uncle bob who done saw a bad storm back in ‘86 are not enough. To those who say #fakenews- I would love to hear what aspects of any of this is fake and what facts you have to support your conclusions. For those who say it’s too late, I guess you’ll just have to blindly kiss your ass goodbye. To those who say it’s not man-made. So what? Who cares about fault? We need to be concerned about potential consequences and meaningful solutions. To those who think the potential threats are overstated, “are you feeling lucky?”- if the impact would even be 20% of that predicted, the monetary and human costs are still way too high to not take action now. Would you not jump out of the way of a truck speeding toward you? From my view, that is what this is all about- meaningful survival of myself and family without being needlessly crippled because I was too blinded by my optimistic beliefs to even attempt to jump out of the way.
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···
08/27/2019
Yes but we are already losing this war. Continuing on this path of sticking your head in the sand will result in not only losing the war but losing human life on this planet.
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Argument opposed

Climate change emergency declarations haven’t done much in other countries, such as Canada, where declaring climate change to be an emergency didn’t stop Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from approving a new oil pipeline the day after the declaration. Congress should focus on advancing the diversity and security of America’s energy supply instead of toothless climate resolutions.

SneakyPete's Opinion
···
08/27/2019
👎🏻👎🏻 HECK NO..... NO WAY IN A YEAR OF SUNDAY‘s 👎🏻👎🏻 Climate change emergency declarations haven’t done much in other countries, such as Canada, where declaring climate change to be an emergency didn’t stop Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from approving a new oil pipeline the day after the declaration. Congress should focus on advancing the diversity and security of America’s energy supply instead of toothless climate resolutions. SneakyPete.......... 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻. 8.27.19..........
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James's Opinion
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08/27/2019
Climate change per the liberal definition does not exist. It is a way to tax and regulate and ultimately affect free enterprise for a made up issue.
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Bill's Opinion
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08/27/2019
Should Congress declare an emergency based on a complete fraud? Kinda like all the other crisis frauds like war on drugs, terror, poverty, war on gun violence? There’s a pretty obvious pattern here.
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concurrent resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
    IntroducedJuly 17th, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. Con. Res. 22?

This concurrent resolution would express Congress’s acknowledgment that the climate change crisis is an “existential emergency” similar to the threat posed during World War II. It would also call for aggressive, immediate action to address the climate change challenge.

Specifically, this resolution would acknowledge that: 

  • Massive, comprehensive, and urgent governmental action is required to address climate change;
  • Halting and reversing the climate emergency will require an economically just and managed phase-out of oil, gas and coal;
  • Any action must equitably and actively engage frontline communities, tribal governments and communities, people of color, and labor unions; and
  • The U.S. stands poised to reap substantial economic, social, and health benefits from a climate mobilization which far outweigh the costs of inaction.

Nothing in this resolution would empower the president to invoke authority on this issue under any Act of Congress. Because it’s non-binding, this resolution also wouldn’t institute a national emergency declaration or force the federal government to take any specific actions to combat greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming.

As a concurrent resolution, this legislation is non-binding and wouldn’t advance to the president’s desk if it’s agreed to by Congress.

Impact

Climate change; U.S. legislative position on climate change; and the Senate.

Cost of Senate Bill S. Con. Res. 22

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, introduced this resolution (which also has a House version) to declare that the planet’s climate emergy demands a “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States” in order to “restore the climate for future generations”

“Today, as we face the global crisis of climate change, it is imperative that the United States lead the world in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.  What we need now is Congressional leadership to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short term profits are not more important than the future of the planet. Climate change is a national emergency, and I am proud to be introducing this resolution with my House and Senate colleagues.”

Sen. Sanders says that he’d like to see lawmakers work together on climate change with the same urgency that they did after the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. At that time, Congress quickly passed sweeping legislation in response to the Japanese attack on American soil. He explained:

“In some ways, and I know this sounds a little bit strange, I'm reminded today in terms of the crisis that we face in climate change about where the US was in 1941 when it was attacked at Pearl Harbor. And what happened at that point — having to fight a war on two fronts, in the East and in Europe — the US came together and within three years it had created the type of armaments program that was necessary, in fact, to win the war."

Sen. Sanders added that “[w]e know exactly what has to be done” to address climate change. Instead, he said, “I think the issue here is not that we cannot address this problem [of climate change]. The problem is the lack of political will." 

In a press conference after introducing this resolution, Sen. Sanders said

“The scientific community is telling us in no uncertain terms that we have fewer than 12 years to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy. If we are going to leave this planet in a state that’s healthy and habitable for our children and grandchildren and future generations, this is a moral imperative. We have no choice.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who is the sponsor of this resolution’s House version, says

“To address the climate crisis, we must tell the truth about the nature of this threat. Congressional Republicans have teetered on the brink of ignorance for far too long and now urgent, massive action is needed. This is an emergency. We must act now.” 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who is a cosponsor of the House version of this concurrent resolution, adds

“Today we stand in solidarity with tens of millions of people from around the world in calling for a mass mobilization of our social and economic resources. It is time we began a swift transition away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable renewable energy economy. Climate change represents not only our greatest threat but one of our greatest opportunities. Working to solve the climate crisis will create tens of millions of union jobs, empower communities, and improve the quality of life for people across the globe.”

The Guardian’s Emily Holden notes that even if passed (which is unlikely to begin with), this resolution wouldn’t force any action on climate change

“Even if the resolution passed and was signed by the president, it would not force any action on climate change. But advocates say similar efforts in Canada and the United Kingdom have served as a leverage point, highlighting the hypocrisy between the government position that the situation is an emergency and individual decisions that would exacerbate the problem."

Writing for Grist, Paola Rosa-Aquino puts a finer point on the matter. She argues that declaring a climate emergency “sounds right, but [is] a long way from… actually addressing the problem.” She also points to Canada — where the Liberal Party “en masse to declare a climate emergency in the House of Commons” only for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to approve the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, which will pump almost 600,000 barrels of oil a day, only a day later — as an example of how toothless declarations of climate change as an emergency are.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board argues that this declaration could allow a future Democratic president to “justify extralegal executive actions that Congress has refused to pass” on climate change. It warns that both this and the Trump administration’s attempt to use a national emergency declaration to obtain funds for the president’s proposed southern border wall risk setting a precedent that both sides of the aisle will “exploit” for their own purposes in order to make end-runs around Congress.

This resolution is endorsed by 15 organizations, including Food & Water Watch, 350 Action, Public Citizen, Oil Change U.S., Climate Justice Alliance, The Climate Mobilization, Greenpeace USA, Mothers Out Front, Extinction Rebellion, the Progressive Democrats of America, and Justice Democrats. Additionally, over 450 elected officials, including mayors and state representatives from 40 states, have also called for declaring climate change an emergency.

This resolution has six Democratic Senate cosponsors. Its House version, sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), has 53 Democratic House cosponsors. Neither resolution has received a committee vote. This resolution is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate. It does, however, have a reasonable shot at passing the Democrat-controlled House.


Of NoteCanada’s House of Commons, Britain and Ireland have approved measures declaring climate change an emergency. Similarly, several U.S. cities — including New York and San Francisco — have done so at the local levels. According to The Climate Mobilization, over 700 local governments in 16 countries have declared climate change to be an emergency.

Weather and climate disasters in both the U.S. and abroad, including deadly wildfires, increased flooding, intensifying storms, heat waves, an increase in insect-borne diseases and dangerous algae growth, have all been attributed to climate change. With these events in mind, Sen. Sanders says, “There are many, many challenges facing this country. But at the top of the list must be the existential threat to our planet in terms of the damage that climate change is doing and will do."

In an August 2019 Special Report on Climate Change and Land by the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Geneva, experts highlighted how rising global temperatures are increasing pressures on fertile soil and potentially jeopardizing the planet’s food security. Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of one of three Working Groups that contributed to the 1,200-page report, also noted that people are already suffering the effects of climate change, saying, “Today 500 million people live in areas that experience desertification. People living in already degraded or desertified areas are increasingly negatively affected by climate change.” Working Group Co-Chair Hans-Otto Pörtner stressed that there is “no possibility for anybody to say, ‘Oh, climate change is happening and we (will) just adapt to it.’ The capacity to adapt is limited.”

Due to climate change, the past half-decade is likely to become the warmest five-year stretch in recorded history. On a global scale, even small temperature increases can have major impacts on climates and ecosystems: for example, for every 1ºC increase, air’s moisture carrying capacity increases approximately 7% — leading to an uptick in extreme rainfall events. Those events can in turn trigger landslides, increase soil erosion rates and damage crops — and that’s only one example of how climate change can cause chain reactions.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / piyaset)

AKA

A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that there is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes.

Official Title

A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that there is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes.

    This is the Reality...not reality television. The POTUS is uneducable. This too is a reality. Don’t you agree? Congress do your job.
    Like (108)
    Follow
    Share
    👎🏻👎🏻 HECK NO..... NO WAY IN A YEAR OF SUNDAY‘s 👎🏻👎🏻 Climate change emergency declarations haven’t done much in other countries, such as Canada, where declaring climate change to be an emergency didn’t stop Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from approving a new oil pipeline the day after the declaration. Congress should focus on advancing the diversity and security of America’s energy supply instead of toothless climate resolutions. SneakyPete.......... 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻. 8.27.19..........
    Like (51)
    Follow
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    We are currently beginning to feel the impact of climate change. Quantitative measures of shifting precipitation patterns and weather are matching climate scientists predictions. New studies in Greenland are showing that the rate of climate change has been under estimated. When for example, the Greenland ice pack melts ocean levels will have risen by 23 feet. Shifting precipitation patterns will threaten water supplies for literally millions of people. (For those who did not realize, our administrations withdrawal from the climate accord and the threat to India’s potable water supply was the the reason why India ‘ceremonially’ levied tariffs against us). The factors driving climate change are essentially a run-away global chemical reaction. Increased CO2 and methane causes greenhouse warming. We have reached the threshold levels required to initiate the self-sustaining chemistry which accelerates the rate of climate change.That warming increases ocean temperatures which disrupts prior stable currents. The disrupted currents and warmer ocean changes weather patterns and increases the release of methane from the huge amounts of methane sequestered in the oceans. The increased methane (which is much more dangerous than CO2) accelerates the process. The longer term effects to humanity are well, catastrophic. If only a fraction of the predicted 20 year impacts were to be realized, the humanitarian costs will be too high for us or the world to ignore. We need to take action now. We have to begin addressing the issues and come up with solutions. Time is running out and we have to do this right the first time. Addressing Climate Change is much more important than politics, and all the bull crap rhetoric associated with politics. For those climate change deniers- I would love to see any consensus view of credentialed scientists that support your view. I hope you can find this. Opinions of uncle bob who done saw a bad storm back in ‘86 are not enough. To those who say #fakenews- I would love to hear what aspects of any of this is fake and what facts you have to support your conclusions. For those who say it’s too late, I guess you’ll just have to blindly kiss your ass goodbye. To those who say it’s not man-made. So what? Who cares about fault? We need to be concerned about potential consequences and meaningful solutions. To those who think the potential threats are overstated, “are you feeling lucky?”- if the impact would even be 20% of that predicted, the monetary and human costs are still way too high to not take action now. Would you not jump out of the way of a truck speeding toward you? From my view, that is what this is all about- meaningful survival of myself and family without being needlessly crippled because I was too blinded by my optimistic beliefs to even attempt to jump out of the way.
    Like (94)
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    Yes but we are already losing this war. Continuing on this path of sticking your head in the sand will result in not only losing the war but losing human life on this planet.
    Like (67)
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    It is the biggest emergency this planet is experiencing in the last million years!
    Like (54)
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    I’m not a fan of non-binding resolutions that don’t necessarily lead to any action on the issues that they’re addressing, but climate change is a 100% existential threat to human civilization and it needs to be taken much more seriously because it has the potential to destroy all the aspects of our lives that we take for granted. We’ll see food shortages, more devastating storms and massive flooding, and forced migration due to lands that have become no longer inhabitable just to name a few. Should we sail full steam ahead towards this future or should we do something about it?
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    YES, now that the Amazon burns!, we are headed down a path of an extreme emergency. EVERYTHING must be pushed FORWARD!!!! HUMANS are the “cancer” of the earth....Look at that “nut job” in Brazil, with his child like tantrums. He’s not even interested in saving the Amazon.
    Like (36)
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    The world is burning. If only we had men and women with grit, power, and integrity on this!!!
    Like (34)
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    Climate change per the liberal definition does not exist. It is a way to tax and regulate and ultimately affect free enterprise for a made up issue.
    Like (33)
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    To millennials and GenZs this reads as “should water be classified as a liquid?”
    Like (30)
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    BOUT TIME!! DO SOMETHING!!!!
    Like (29)
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    Should Congress declare an emergency based on a complete fraud? Kinda like all the other crisis frauds like war on drugs, terror, poverty, war on gun violence? There’s a pretty obvious pattern here.
    Like (24)
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    The New Green Deal is our best chance to address this existential crisis that threatens all human life, while creating millions of jobs and strengthening our economy for the future. Only politicians who take donations/bribes from Big Polluters oppose this common sense bill. Pass it now!
    Like (23)
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    Congress should be guiding all the processes and Trump has overstepped his authority and taken Congress out of the picture. I want McConnell censured for his role in destroying our democratic process. The people need a voice in this and Trump and McConnell need to be gagged so we can get back to normal legislative processes.
    Like (22)
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    This is the biggest existential threat to ever face humanity. Every day we waste putting off aggressive changes is critical. WE ARE OUT OF TIME.
    Like (21)
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    Not only no but hell no
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    The climate crisis is an existential threat to the entire human race. DO SOMETHING!!! We need a carbon tax. We need to end fossil fuel subsidies.
    Like (20)
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    Climate change is a real problem, but this President doesn’t think it exists and will veto any bill. This is a lose lose situation, but we at least need to try.
    Like (19)
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    ABSOLUTELY AND NOW!
    Like (18)
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    The climate crisis is the most important issue facing our world today
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