Beto O’Rourke has thrown his support behind the Green New Deal along the campaign trail, comparing the “existential threat” of climate change to that of the Second World War at a recent event.
Speaking at the University of Virginia Tuesday, the 2020 presidential hopeful praised Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her proposal, which seeks to address global warming’s potentially extensive adverse impacts on the global economy, national security and public health.
“One of the reasons I like Representative Ocasio-Cortez's proposed Green New Deal is that it calls to mind another time in this country's past when we faced an existential challenge," the former El Paso congressman said Tuesday.
“In that case, it was to our way of life to the western democracies, to our allies in Europe, to our fellow Americans,” he continued. “In the midst of the Great Depression, this country was willing to sacrifice men and women all over the United States to make sure that we defeated Germany, and we won that war and for the following 75 years that we made this world safe for democracy.”
The Democrat concluded, “The Green New Deal calls that sacrifice and service in scale of commitment when it talks about the challenges that we face today.”
The Green New Deal has served as a lightning rod on both sides of the political aisle: while Washington newcomers like Ms Ocasio-Cortez and progressive 2020 candidates like Mr O’Rourke have sought to make the far-reaching proposal a legislative reality, centrist Democrats have pushed back, seeking reforms for climate change on less of a grand scale.
Republicans have largely derided the resolution as a supposedly unrealistic measure, however, while the far-right has used it to claim Democrats are trying to take away cars and cows. The resolution does not actually call for a removal of either.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to serve in the US House of Representatives, similarly described climate change as a “systemic threat to our country” during a town hall on MSNBC last month.
“First all of, we've been here before. We've been here before with the Great Depression. We've been here before with World War II, even the Cold War," she said at the time. "And the answer has been an ambitious and directed mobilisation of the American economy to direct and solve our problem, our biggest problem."
She continued, “To get us out of the situation, to revamp our economy, to create dignified jobs for working Americans, to guarantee health care and elevate our educational opportunities and attainment, we will have to mobilise our entire economy around saving ourselves and taking care off this planet.”
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