Sen. Cory Booker Would Not Use National Emergency Declaration to Deal with Climate Change

Melanie Arter | April 25, 2019 | 3:15pm EDT
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Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

( – Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said Wednesday that he would go through the “normal process” to deal with climate change instead of declaring a national emergency if he is elected president.

Speaking at the “She The People Forum” in Houston, Texas, Booker was asked if he would declare a national emergency to deal with climate change the same way that President Donald Trump used national emergency to deal with the crisis at the border.


“So national emergency is a legal issue as well as sort of triggering certain actions. I’m talking about it is a national emergency now, that we have to act with that sense of emergency. If you look at the United States military reports, they are showing exactly what you are saying,” Booker said.

“The climate crisis is going to cause refugee crises, famines. It’s going to cause instability on the planet Earth like nothing we have seen before within the next decade to two decades, so we need to make sure that we are dealing with it with that same sense of urgency,” the senator said.



“And so to use the levers that we have from aid to make sure that we are empowering people to move from coal to renewable energies and to making sure that we’re dealing with stability in countries, doing the kind of things that don’t destabilize nations but empower nations to have self-determination and deal with their own issues,” he said.

“So through the normal process, not through a national emergency?” the host asked.

“Again, through the normal process,” Booker responded.

When asked how he would address both pollution and poverty, Booker said, “I have come from a black and brown community. I have spent more years as a mayor of Newark, New Jersey, than I have in the United States Senate, and when it comes to environmental issues, climate change, we have 12 years, but the reality is when you live in a community like mine, the environmental urgencies, the life or death issues are happening right now.

“And so, whether it’s toxic water or we have a nation where millions of our children find it easier to unleaded gasoline than unleaded water. Whether it’s asthma rates in communities like mine that are multiple times higher than suburbs and wealthy communities, or even if it’s just knowing that in communities like ours, even planting in your soil, the EPA prevented us from doing. And so, we have an urgency right now to deal with these issues,” he said.

The senator said that the issue is not one he has focused on just as a presidential candidate, he had been fighting for “environmental justice” since he was mayor of Newark, N.J. He said there is “common pain” that demands “urgency.”

“As United States senator, I led the bill for environmental justice – bringing together activists from all around the country to put in teeth so that environmental activists have the power to change their communities, to control their destiny,” he said.

“And as president of the United States, I will make sure that we do what’s necessary for environmental justice, access to clean air, to clean water, and to deal with the urgencies of climate change by making sure we rejoin the Paris Climate Accords, re-up our commitments to clean energy standards and make sure that we are dealing aggressively with a bold, green future,” the senator said.

Booker said that “vulnerable communities” need help right away, because they are “going to feel the impacts” of climate change first.

“And finally, let me just say that with climate change, we have 10 years to deal with it, but vulnerable communities are going to feel the impacts first, and so this cannot be something where we don’t act with a sense of urgency, and we’ve got to be creative in the way we’re going about it – both here by making sure we’re investing in green technologies, giving those kind of tax breaks we’ve given to oil companies and coal companies now to green companies and renewable energy companies,” he said.

“And we have to lead in the globe, because we just produce 14 percent of the problem. Unless we’re starting to get involved in developing nations and give them the assistance and support to make they’re dealing with climate change too, we will not be successful,” Booker added.


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