June 30, 2020—As the House Select Committee on Climate prepares to release its highly-anticipated report, many activists are seeing it as a major disappointment and one failing to fully acknowledge the scope and scale of the Climate Emergency and approach it with the urgency necessary to protect Americans – especially marginalized and frontline communities – from the impacts of climate devastation.
“This is not an emergency response,” said Laura Berry, The Climate Mobilization’s Director of Research and Policy. “The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis had the opportunity to put forth a comprehensive plan to protect Americans from climate devastation, but the solutions proposed fail to meet the challenge of the existential planetary crisis we face. Collectively, the proposals in the plan would only cut greenhouse gas emissions by 37% by 2030, and 88% by 2050, and are wholly inadequate to prevent the risk of catastrophic climate disruption,” she added.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on 1.5ºC, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 only gives us a 40-60% chance of staying below 1.5ºC of warming. Current levels of global warming, at only ~1ºC above, pre-industrial levels, have already harmed communities across the United States through extreme weather events like, hurricanes, droughts, and fires, that will only continue to worsen in intensity.
TCM does commend the Committee on its economy-wide and increased focus on direct regulation of industry and public investment — such as clean vehicle mandates, regulations for zero-emissions buildings, and efforts to reduce 2/3rds of national methane emissions by 2025 —as well as its commitment to climate justice and equity issues – yet the lack of urgency is frightening.
Despite the harsh lessons learned with unpreparedness regarding the COVID19 Pandemic, and 2020 on track to be the warmest year in recorded history, many are critical of the Committee’s laissez-faire attitude and hope presidential candidate Joe Biden’s commitment to addressing the Climate Emergency is both more aggressive and urgent.
“The Select Committee’s plan for a leisurely, three-decade transition to a cleaner economy underscores the establishment’s continuing refusal to address this existential crisis with the scale, speed, and intensity required to ensure a future for our next generation. It’s our hope that Biden recognizes the urgency facing our world and commits to declaring a Climate Emergency within the first 100 days of his administration, includes a 2030 deadline for zero emissions and releases a federal mobilization plan necessary to protect our nation,” said Ezra Silk, Deputy-Director of The Climate Mobilization.
Since last January, Climate Emergency declarations jumped from only 233 worldwide to currently 1740 declarations within 30 countries + EU.