Rep. Haaland Leads Introduction Of THRIVE Resolution, Adding Covid Response To Green New Deal Agenda

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 17 Sep 2020 21:45:00 GMT

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) has introduced a resolution that calls for a comprehensive justice-based response to the crises facing the nation and the world, from the fossil-fueled climate crisis to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Resolution (H. Res. 1102) is modeled in part after 2019’s Green New Deal resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The resolution is also largely consistent with the 2020 Democratic Party platform and the Biden campaign agenda.

Haaland introduced the agenda at a press conference on September 10 with Markey and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Keya Chaterjee, the director of the U.S. Climate Action Network, an environmental coalition, also participated.

The resolution was formally introduced on September 11th with 76 co-sponsors, all Democrats.

Haaland’s resolution was praised by several other emocratic members of the U.S. Senate, including former presidential candidates Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as well as Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-N.M.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

While the resolution has limited specifics, it does include a call for a national “carbon pollution-free” electricity system by 2035, in line with presidential candidate Joe Biden’s plan.

The resolution calls for the expansion of union protections and increased union density in clean-energy jobs, and investment in “Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities to build power and counteract racial and gender injustice.”

Notably, the resolution says nothing about foreign policy or the military.

Unlike the Green New Deal resolution, the THRIVE resolution does not call for universal employment, housing, or health care.

The resolution is supported by The Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club, Movement for Black Lives, Working Families Party, Service Employees International Union, Indigenous Environmental Network and Center for Popular Democracy.

Full text:

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to implement an agenda to Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (“THRIVE”).

Whereas families and communities throughout the United States share similar hopes and dreams of a good life that is free from worry about meeting basic needs, with reliable and fulfilling work, a dignified and healthy standard of living, and the ability to enjoy time with loved ones;

Whereas the United States faces the stress of multiple, overlapping crises—old and new—that prevent the achievement of these fundamental human rights and needs, in which the COVID–19 pandemic has killed over 180,000 United States residents; tens of millions of United States workers remain unemployed; rising economic inequality has made working families vulnerable; tens of millions of individuals do not get the health care they need; and intensifying climate change increases the threats to our health, economy, and livelihoods;

Whereas these health, economic, and climate crises have magnified centuries-old injustices, causing high rates of death and hardship among Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities due to long-standing systemic racism—a fact spotlighted by an emerging, multiracial movement to end violence against Black people;

Whereas these crises are causing the inequitable workloads of women—particularly women of color—to grow, especially as women of color overwhelmingly make up the essential workforce, bearing the weight of the increased care needs of children, the elderly, and the sick;

Whereas, even before the COVID–19 crisis, many rural communities and independent family farmers suffered from poverty, declining economic opportunity, and alarming rates of farm bankruptcy, including loss of land from Black farmers and the exploitation of Black, Brown, and Indigenous farmers caused by predatory and racist public, private, and governmental institutions and policies;

Whereas the root of our interlocking economic and environmental crises is society’s historical willingness to treat some communities and workers as disposable;

Whereas it is necessary to counteract systemic injustice and value the dignity of all individuals in order to address unemployment, pandemics, or climate change and ensure the survival of the Nation and the planet;

Whereas the choices made in response to these crises will shape the United States direction for the 21st century and beyond, offering an opportunity to reshape our society to provide a good life for each of us and for our children and grandchildren; and

Whereas the United States has the means to support fulfilling livelihoods for millions of people—Black, Indigenous, Brown, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, White, immigrant, urban and rural, old and young, of many faiths, genders, abilities, and talents—while working to heal harms, protect communities, and invest in a future that fosters justice, not crisis: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

  1. it is the duty of the Federal Government to respond to the crises of racial injustice, mass unemployment, a pandemic, and climate change with a bold and holistic national mobilization, an Agenda to Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (“THRIVE”) (referred to in this resolving clause as the “Agenda”), to build a society that enables—
    1. greater racial, economic, and gender justice;
    2. dignified work;
    3. healthy communities; and
    4. a stable climate; and
  2. such Agenda shall be assessed upon its ability to uphold its foundational pillars, including—
    1. creating millions of good, safe jobs with access to unions by—
      1. investing in projects including—
        1. upgrading our broken infrastructure to expand access to clean and affordable energy, transportation, high-speed broadband, and water, particularly for public systems;
        2. modernizing and retrofitting millions of homes, schools, offices, and industrial buildings to cut pollution and costs;
        3. investing in public health and care work, including by increasing jobs, protections, wages, and benefits for the historically unpaid and undervalued work of caring for children, the elderly, and the sick;
        4. protecting and restoring wetlands, forests, and public lands, and cleaning up pollution in our communities;
        5. creating opportunities for family farmers and rural communities, including by untangling the hyper-consolidated food supply chain, bolstering regenerative agriculture, and investing in local and regional food systems that support farmers, agricultural workers, healthy soil, and climate resilience; and
        6. developing and transforming the industrial base of the United States, while creating high-skill, high-wage manufacturing jobs across the country, including by expanding manufacturing of clean technologies, reducing industrial pollution, and prioritizing clean, domestic manufacturing for the aforementioned investments;
      2. prioritizing the mobilization of direct public investments, while excluding false solutions that—
        1. increase inequality;
        2. privatize public lands, water, or nature;
        3. violate human rights;
        4. expedite the destruction of ecosystems; or
        5. decrease union density or membership;
      3. driving investment toward real full employment, where every individual who wishes to work has a viable pathway to a meaningful and dignified job with the right to form a union, including by establishing new public employment programs, as necessary; and
      4. subjecting each job created under this Agenda to high-road labor standards that—
        1. require family-sustaining wages and benefits, including child care support;
        2. ensure safe workplaces;
        3. protect the rights of workers to organize; and
        4. prioritize the hiring of local workers to ensure wages stay within communities to stimulate economic activity;
    2. building the power of workers to fight inequality by—
      1. reversing the corporate erosion of workers’ organizing rights and bargaining power so that millions of new clean energy jobs, as well as millions of existing low-wage jobs across the economy, become the family-supporting union jobs that everyone deserves, including by—
        1. passing the bipartisan Protecting the Right to Organize Act;
        2. repealing the ban on secondary boycotts;
        3. requiring employer neutrality with regard to union organizing;
        4. ensuring that “franchising” and other corporate structures may not be used to hinder collective bargaining on a company-wide, regional, or national basis;
        5. advancing sectoral bargaining in certain economic sectors; and
        6. ensuring that no workers are misclassified as “independent contractors;”
      2. expanding union representation for all workers; and
      3. creating ladders of opportunity, particularly for women and people of color, to access registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in communities of all sizes across the country;
    3. investing in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities to build power and counteract racial and gender injustice by—
      1. directing at least 40 percent of investments to communities that have been excluded, oppressed, and harmed by racist and unjust practices, including—
        1. communities of color;
        2. low-income communities;
        3. deindustrialized communities; and
        4. communities facing environmental injustice;
      2. ensuring that investments in these communities enable—
        1. the creation of good jobs with family-sustaining wages;
        2. economic ownership opportunities that close the racial wealth gap;
        3. pollution reduction;
        4. climate resilience;
        5. small business support;
        6. economic opportunities for independent family farmers and ranchers; and
        7. the expansion of public services;
      3. ensuring that affected communities have the power to democratically plan, implement, and administer these projects;
      4. prioritizing local and equitable hiring and contracting that creates opportunities for—
        1. people of color;
        2. immigrants, regardless of immigration status;
        3. formerly incarcerated individuals;
        4. women;
        5. LGBTQIAP+ individuals;
        6. disabled and chronically ill individuals; and
        7. marginalized communities; and
      5. providing access to quality workforce training, including through registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships to ensure real pathways to good careers, including those that have historically been inaccessible;
    4. strengthening and healing the nation-to-nation relationship with sovereign Native Nations, including by—
      1. making systemic changes in Federal policies to honor the environmental and social trust responsibilities to Native Nations and their Peoples, which are essential to tackling society’s economic, environmental, and health crises;
      2. strengthening Tribal sovereignty and enforcing Indian treaty rights by moving towards greater recognition and support of the inherent self-governance and sovereignty of these nations and their members; and
      3. promulgating specific initiatives that reflect the nuanced relationships between the Native Nations, including—
        1. the confirmation by Congress that Tribal nations can exercise their full and inherent civil regulatory and adjudicatory authority over their own citizens, lands, and resources, and over activities within their Tribal lands;
        2. the codification of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent as it relates to Tribal consultation; and
        3. the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, without qualification;
    5. combating environmental injustice and ensuring healthy lives for all, including by—
      1. curtailing air, water, and land pollution from all sources;
      2. removing health hazards from communities;
      3. replacing lead pipes to ensure clean water is available to all;
      4. remediating the cumulative health and environmental impacts of toxic pollution and climate change;
      5. ensuring that affected communities have equitable access to public health resources that have been systemically denied, which includes—
        1. upgrading unhealthy and overcrowded homes, public schools, and public hospitals;
        2. ensuring access to healthy food, mental health support, and restorative justice; and
        3. investing in universal childcare, care for individuals with disabilities, senior care, and a robust care workforce; and
      6. focusing these initiatives in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities that have endured disproportionately high death rates from COVID–19 due to higher exposure to air pollution and other cumulative health hazards as a result of decades of environmental racism;
    6. averting climate and environmental catastrophe, including by—
      1. contributing to a livable climate and environment for today and for future generations, including by—
        1. staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming;
        2. building climate resilience to keep communities safe; and
        3. ensuring sustainable resource use;
      2. deploying investments and standards in the electricity, transportation, buildings, manufacturing, lands, and agricultural sectors to spur the largest expansion in history of clean, renewable energy, emissions reductions, climate resilience, and sustainable resource use;
      3. transforming the power sector in order to move the country, by not later than 2035, to carbon pollution-free electricity that passes an environmental justice screen to prevent concentrating pollution in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities;
      4. prioritizing materials and parts that meet high labor, environmental, and human rights standards throughout the supply chain;
      5. supporting sustainable, domestic production of healthy, nutritious food that pays independent farmers and ranchers a fair price for their land stewardship; and
      6. ensuring that funding under this Agenda goes to workers and communities affected by the economic and environmental crises, not to corporate fossil fuel polluters;
    7. ensuring fairness for workers and communities affected by economic transitions by—
      1. guaranteeing that workers and communities in industries and regions in economic transition due to COVID–19, climate change, and other economic shocks receive—
        1. stable wages and benefits, including full pension and health care;
        2. early retirement offerings;
        3. crisis and trauma support; and
        4. equitable job placement; and
      2. investing in transitioning areas to support—
        1. economic diversification;
        2. high quality job creation;
        3. community reinvestment;
        4. retooling and conversion;
        5. reclamation and remediation of closed and abandoned facilities and sites;
        6. child and adult care infrastructure; and
        7. funding to shore up budget shortfalls in local and State governments; and
    8. reinvesting in public sector institutions that enable workers and communities to thrive by—
      1. rebuilding vital public services and strengthening social infrastructure in cities and counties, health care systems, schools, the postal service, and other services;
      2. investing in equitable public education opportunities, including career and technical education pathways that prepare youth—especially girls; Black, Brown, and Indigenous students; students with disabilities; students from low-income families; and other students from marginalized groups—for high-quality jobs of the future, and state of the art technology and schools, so that from the beginning students are prepared to transform society and preserve democracy;
      3. investing in the workers who provide care to children, the elderly, and communities burdened by neglect;
      4. creating new public institutions, inspired by and improving upon New Deal-era institutions, to ensure universal access to critical resources and to strategically and coherently mobilize and channel investments, in line with the above priorities, at the scale and pace that these times require; and
      5. coupling this institutional renewal with democratic governance and accountability to correct the systemic misallocation of resources and representation that prevents families and communities from meeting fundamental human needs and pursuing fulfilling lives.

Full Transcript: Joe Biden Remarks On Climate Change And Wildfires

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 14 Sep 2020 19:53:00 GMT

This afternoon, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made an extended speech in Delaware about global warming and climate disasters, outlining his vision for “net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.” This speech was reminiscent of then-candidate Barack Obama’s climate speech of 2007.

Good afternoon.

As a nation, we face one of the most difficult moments in our history. Four historic crises. All at the same time.

The worst pandemic in over 100 years, that’s killed nearly 200,000 Americans and counting.

The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, that’s cost tens of millions of American jobs and counting.

Emboldened white supremacy unseen since the 1960s and a reckoning on race long overdue.

And the undeniable, accelerating, and punishing reality of climate change and its impact on our planet and our people — on lives and livelihoods — which I’d like to talk about today.

Jill and I continue to pray for everyone in California, Oregon, Washington, and across the West as the devastating wildfires rage on — just as we’ve held in our hearts those who’ve faced hurricanes and tropical storms on our coasts, in Florida, in North Carolina, or like in parts of New Orleans where they just issued an emergency evacuation for Hurricane Sally, that’s approaching and intensifying; Floods and droughts across the Midwest, the fury of climate change everywhere — all this year, all right now.

We stand with our families who have lost everything, the firefighters and first responders risking everything to save others, and the millions of Americans caught between relocating during a pandemic or staying put as ash and smoke pollute the air they breathe.

Think about that.

People are not just worried about raging fires. They are worried about breathing air. About damage to their lungs.

Parents, already worried about Covid-19 for their kids when they’re indoors, are now worried about asthma attacks for their kids when they’re outside.

Over the past two years, the total damage from wildfires has reached nearly $50 Billion in California alone.

This year alone, nearly 5 million acres have burned across 10 states — more acres than the entire state of Connecticut.

And it’s only September. California’s wildfire season typically runs through October.

Fires are blazing so bright and smoke reaching so far, NASA satellites can see them a million miles away in space.

The cost of this year’s damage will again be astronomically high.

But think of the view from the ground, in the smoldering ashes.

Loved ones lost, along with the photos and keepsakes of their memory. Spouses and kids praying each night that their firefighting husband, wife, father, and mother will come home. Entire communities destroyed.

We have to act as a nation. It shouldn’t be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an orange sky and are left asking if doomsday is here.

I know this feeling of dread and anxiety extends beyond just the fires. We’ve seen a record hurricane season costing billions of dollars. Last month, Hurricane Laura intensified at a near-record rate just before its landfall along Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

It’s a troubling marker not just for an increased frequency of hurricanes, but more powerful and destructive storms. They’re causing record damage after record damage to people’s homes and livelihoods.

And before it intensified and hit the Gulf Coast, Laura ravaged Puerto Rico — where, three years after Hurricane Maria — our fellow Americans are still recovering from its damage and devastation.

Think about that reality.

Our fellow Americans are still putting things back together from the last big storm as they face the next one.

We’ve also seen historic flooding in the Midwest — often compounding the damages delivered by last year’s floods that cost billions dollars in damage.

This past spring Midland, Michigan experienced a flood so devastating — with deadly flash flooding, overrunning dams and roadways, and the displacement of 10,000 residents — that it was considered a once-in-500-year weather event.

But those once-in-many-generations events? They happen every year now.

The past ten years were the hottest decade ever recorded. The Arctic is literally melting. Parts are on fire.

What we’re seeing in America — in our communities — is connected to that.

With every bout with nature’s fury, caused by our own inaction on climate change, more Americans see and feel the devastation in big cities, small towns, on coastlines and farmlands.

It is happening everywhere. It is happening now. It affects us all.

Nearly two hundred cities are experiencing the longest stretches of deadly heat waves in fifty years. It requires them to help their poor and elderly residents adapt to extreme heat to simply stay alive, especially in homes without air conditioning.

Our family farmers in the Midwest are facing historic droughts.

These follow record floods and hurricane-speed windstorms all this year.

It’s ravaged millions of acres of corn, soybeans, and other crops. Their very livelihood which sustained their families and our economy for generations is now in jeopardy.

How will they pay their bills this year? What will be left to pass on to their kids?

And none of this happens in a vacuum.

A recent study showed air pollution is linked with an increased risk of death from COVID-19.

Our economy can’t recover if we don’t build back with more resiliency to withstand extreme weather — extreme weather that will only come with more frequency.

The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single one of us. But too often the brunt falls disproportionately on communities of color, exacerbating the need for environmental justice.

These are the interlocking crises of our time.

It requires action, not denial.

It requires leadership, not scapegoating.

It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack – seen and unseen. Always and without exception. Every time.

Because here’s the deal.

Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid “blue states.” Wildfires don’t skip towns that voted a certain way.

The impacts of climate change don’t pick and choose. That’s because it’s not a partisan phenomenon.

It’s science.

And our response should be the same. Grounded in science. Acting together. All of us.

But like with our federal response to COVID-19, the lack of a national strategy on climate change leaves us with patchwork solutions.

I’m speaking from Delaware, the lowest-lying state in the nation, where just last week the state’s Attorney General sued 31 big fossil fuel companies alleging that they knowingly wreaked damage on the climate.

Damage that is plain to everyone but the president.

As he flies to California today, we know he has no interest in meeting this moment.

We know he won’t listen to the experts or treat this disaster with the urgency it demands, as any president should do during a national emergency.

He’s already said he wanted to withhold aid to California — to punish the people of California — because they didn’t vote for him.

This is yet another crisis he won’t take responsibility for.

The West is literally on fire and he blames the people whose homes and communities are burning.

He says, “You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests.”

This is the same president who threw paper towels to the people of Puerto Rico instead of truly helping them recover and rebuild.

We know his disdain for his own military leaders and our veterans.

Just last year, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a direct threat to more than two-thirds of our military’s operationally critical installations. And this could well be a conservative estimate.

Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused the record fires, record floods, and record hurricanes.

But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating, and more deadly.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. That’s ridiculous.

But you know what’s actually threatening our suburbs?

Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. And hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coasts.

If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?

If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?

If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is under water?

We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here, and, unless we take urgent action, will soon be more catastrophic.

A president who recognizes, understands, and cares that Americans are dying.

Which makes President Trump’s climate denialism — his disdain of science and facts — all the more unconscionable.

Once again, he fails the most basic duty to this nation.

He fails to protect us.

And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.

What he doesn’t get is that even in crisis, there is nothing beyond our capacity as a country.

And while so many of you are hurting right now, I want you to know that if you give me the honor of serving as your President, we can, and we will, meet this moment with urgency and purpose.

We can and we will solve the climate crisis, and build back better than we were before.

When Donald Trump thinks about climate change he thinks: “hoax.”

I think: “jobs.”

Good-paying, union jobs that put Americans to work building a stronger, more climate resilient nation.

A nation with modernized water, transportation and energy infrastructure to withstand the impacts of extreme weather and a changing climate.

When Donald Trump thinks about renewable energy, he sees windmills somehow causing cancer.

I see American manufacturing — and American workers — racing to lead the global market. I also see farmers making American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, and gaining new sources of income in the process.

When Donald Trump thinks about LED bulbs, he says he doesn’t like them because: “the light’s no good. I always look orange.”

I see the small businesses and master electricians designing and installing award-winning energy conservation measures.

This will reduce the electricity consumption and save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in energy costs.

While he turns us against our allies, I will bring us back into the Paris Agreement. I will put us back in the business of leading the world on climate change. And I will challenge everyone to up the ante on their climate commitments.

Where he reverses the Obama-Biden fuel-efficiency standards, he picks Big Oil companies over the American workers.

I will not only bring the standards back, I will set new, ambitious ones — that our workers are ready to meet.

And I also see American workers building and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country and American consumers switching to electric vehicles through rebates and incentives.

Not only that, the United States owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles — and we’re going to harness the purchasing power of our federal government to make sure we are buying electric vehicles that are made and sourced by union workers right here in the United States of America.

All together, this will mean one million new jobs in the American auto industry.

And we’ll do another big thing: put us on a path of achieving a carbon-pollution free electricity sector by 2035 that no future president can turn back.

Transforming the American electricity sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be the greatest spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st Century. Not to mention the positive benefits to our health and our environment.

We need to get to work right away.

We’ll need scientists at national labs and land-grant universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to improve and innovate the technologies needed to generate, store, and transmit this clean electricity.

We’ll need engineers to design them and workers to manufacture them. We’ll need iron workers and welders to install them.

And we’ll become the world’s largest exporter of these technologies, creating even more jobs.

We know how to do this.

The Obama-Biden Administration rescued the auto industry and helped them retool.

We made solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy, and weatherized more than a million homes.

We will do it again — bigger and faster and better than before.

We’ll also build 1.5 million new energy-efficient homes and public housing units that will benefit our communities three-times over — by alleviating the affordable housing crisis, by increasing energy efficiency, and by reducing the racial wealth gap linked to home ownership.

There are thousands of oil and natural gas wells that the oil and gas companies have just abandoned, many of which are leaking toxins.

We can create 250,000 jobs plugging those wells right away — good union jobs for energy workers. This will help sustain communities and protect the environment as well.

We’ll also create new markets for our family farmers and ranchers.

We’ll launch a new, modern day Civilian Climate Corps to heal our public lands and make us less vulnerable to wildfires and floods.

I believe that every American has a fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. But I know that we haven’t fulfilled that right.

That’s true of the millions of families struggling with the smoke created by these devastating wildfires right now.

But it’s also been true for a generation or more in places — like Cancer Alley in Louisiana or along the Route 9 corridor right here in Delaware.

Fulfilling this basic obligation to all Americans — especially Black, Brown, and Native American communities, who too often don’t have clean air and clean water — is not going to be easy.

But it is necessary. And I am committed to doing it.

These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams. These are concrete, actionable policies that create jobs, mitigate climate change, and put our nation on the road to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Some say that we can’t afford to fix this.

But here’s the thing.

Look around at the crushing consequences of the extreme weather events I’ve been describing. We’ve already been paying for it. So we have a choice.

We can invest in our infrastructure to make it stronger and more resilient, while at the same time tackling the root causes of climate change.

Or, we can continue down the path of Donald Trump’s indifference, costing tens of billions of dollars to rebuild, and where the human costs — the lives and livelihoods and homes and communities destroyed — are immeasurable.

We have a choice.

We can commit to doing this together because we know that climate change is the existential challenge that will define our future as a country, for our children, grandchildren, and great-children.

Or, there’s Donald Trump’s way — to ignore the facts, to deny reality that amounts to full surrender and a failure to lead.

It’s backward-looking politics that will harm the environment, make communities less healthy, and hold back economic progress while other countries race ahead.

And it’s a mindset that doesn’t have any faith in the capacity of the American people to compete, to innovate, and to win.

Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership.

It requires a president for all Americans.

So as the fires rage out West on this day, our prayers remain with everyone under the ash.

I know it’s hard to see the sun rise and believe today will be better than yesterday when America faces this historic inflection point.

A time of real peril, but also a time of extraordinary possibilities.

I want you to know that we can do this.

We will do this.

We are America.

We see the light through the dark smoke.

We never give up.

Always.

Without exception.

Every time.

May God bless our firefighters and first responders.

May God protect our troops.

In 1957, Climate Scientist Warned Congress That Fossil-Fueled Global Warming Could Turn California Into A Desert

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 10 Sep 2020 17:18:00 GMT


Dr. Roger Revelle (seated, far right) testifies before Congress, May 1, 1957. (Roger Revelle papers, UCSD)

Unprecedented heat and wildfires driven by fossil-fueled global warming are ravaging the forests of California and the Pacific Northwest – in line with scientific predictions to the U.S. Congress from the 1950s.

Over sixty-three years ago, physical oceanographer Roger Revelle testified to Congress that fossil-fueled climate change could turn southern California and most of Texas into “real deserts.”

On May 1, 1957, Dr. Revelle testified at the hearing on appropriations for the International Geophysical Year, Independent Offices Subcommittee, House Committee on Appropriations:

The last time that I was here I talked about the responsibility of climatic changes due to the changing carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere and you will remember that I mentioned the fact that during the last 100 years there apparently has been a slight increase in the carbon dioxide because of the burning of coal and oil and natural gas.

If we look at the probable amounts of these substances that will be burned in the future, it is fairly easy to predict that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere could easily increase by about 20 percent. This might, in fact, make a considerable change in the climate. It would mean that the lines of equal temperature on the earth would move north and the lines of equal rainfall would move north and that southern California and a good part of Texas, instead of being just barely livable as they are now, would become real deserts.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in 1957 were 315 parts per million. It reached 378 ppm, Revelle’s cautioned 20 percent increase, in 2004. As of September 2020, the planet is now at 410 ppm, a 30 percent increase.

Revelle’s testimony in the previous year in support of federal funding to monitor atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide levels was the first time that manmade global warming was discussed in the Congressional record.

“We are making perhaps the greatest geophysical experiment in history,” he said on March 8, 1956, “an experiment which could not be made in the past because we didn’t have an industrial civilization and which will be impossible to make in the future because all the fossil fuels will be gone.”

Revelle also noted that regional shifts in climate in the past led to “the rise and fall and complete decay of many civilizations.”

In response to questions from Rep. Sydney Yates (D-Ill.) and Rep. Albert Thomas (D-Texas), Dr. Revelle elucidated further:

People talk about making fresh water out of sea water. God does that for them far better than any man ever could. He evaporates three feet of water on every square foot of the ocean every year. The problem is that the distribution system is bad. The water coming from the ocean moves over the land but mostly over the northern and southern parts of the land, and this circulation pattern, or transport of water vapor from the sea to the land and the precipitation on the land, apparently shifts with the temperature; at least we think it does, and there seems to be a broad belt called the horse latitudes between the equatorial regions and the belt of cyclonic storms where the precipitation is minimal.

If you increase the temperature of the earth, the north latitude belt, which covers most of the western part of the United States and the Southwest, would move to the north.

“Only God knows whether what I am saying is true or not,” Revelle concluded. But his understanding of the science of fossil-fueled global warming has now been proven correct. The climate of southern California has undergone a phase shift to a persistently hotter, drier regime — a permanent shift if action is not taken to end the burning of fossil fuels and reduce the concentration of industrial greenhouse pollution in the atmosphere.