Opinion | Jane Fonda: The Climate Emergency Is a Political Emergency – The New York Times

Opinion | Jane Fonda: The Climate Emergency Is a Political Emergency – The New York Times

Despite widespread agreement among the world’s scientists that we are living through a climate emergency requiring profound economic and social change, the United States government is failing to act. It’s not that the American public doesn’t want an end to wars over oil, or a stable climate, clean oceans, safe and abundant water and healthy air.

No. Let’s be clear: Over decades the fossil fuel industry has hijacked our political system, and we have failed to elect enough leaders who are not beholden to the industry’s interests. The Center for Responsive Politics has documented that the oil and gas industry alone has spent some $218 million on lobbying in 2018 and 2019. In addition, oil and gas interests have contributed about $27 million to Senate and House candidates and party committees in the 2020 election cycle. Fossil fuel interests are subverting our democracy.

In just the past year, the United States has experienced deadly wildfires, devastating flooding and the hottest month ever recorded, all driven, at least in part, by climate change. What is President Trump’s response? He’s pulling the United States out of the Paris agreement and rolling back 85 environmental safeguards, including important and consequential climate initiatives. This should not be surprising; he once called climate change a “hoax.” The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is also blocking efforts to deal with the climate crisis.

We have reached a time in this fight when the only way forward is to organize, mobilize and vote politicians who won’t act out of office. We must overcome the power of the fossil fuel industry and elect an environmental champion for president and a congressional leadership ready to move forward aggressively with a Green New Deal to save us and the planet, starting the day they take office.

Winning at the ballot box is how we will succeed in building a more just and equitable economy, one thriving from good clean energy jobs. It’s how we will secure a habitable planet for future generations. It’s how we will protect our cherished public lands and species, and ensure all Americans have safe water and clean air — especially low-income communities and communities of color who for too long have borne the brunt of inaction.

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