Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) predicted Monday that the world will end in 12 years if something isn’t done about climate change.
She called climate change “our World War II.”
Ocasio-Cortez made her remarks during an interview with journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates at Riverside Church in Harlem, N.Y., for MLK Now.
In her interview, Ocasio Cortez said, “And I think the part of it that is generational is that millennials and people, in Gen Z, and all these folks that come after us are looking up and we’re like, the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.
“Your biggest issue, your biggest issue is how are we going to pay for it? — and like this is the war, this is our World War II. And I think for younger people looking at this are more like, how are we saying let’s take it easy when 3,000 Americans died last year. How are we saying let’s take it easy when the nth person died from our cruel and unjust criminal justice system?” she asked.
“How are we saying take it easy when the America that we’re living in today is dystopian with people sleeping in their cars so they can work a second job without healthcare and we’re told to settle down,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
“It’s a fundamental separation between that fierce urgency of now, the why we can’t wait that King spoke of. That at some point this chronic reality do reach a breaking point and I think for our generation it reached that, I wished I didn’t have to be doing every post, but sometimes I just feel like people aren’t being held accountable. Until, we start pitching in and holding people accountable, I’m just gonna let them have it,” she said.
Coates said he believes Ocasio-Cortez embodies MLK’s vision.
On Tuesday, in response to criticism over her remarks, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “For some reason GOP seems to think this is a gaffe, but it’s actually a generational difference. Young people understand that climate change is an existential threat: 3,000 Americans died in Hurricane María. The UN says we’ve got 12 years left to fix it.”
She then linked to an Oct. 8, 2018, article in the Guardian newspaper, titled, “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN,” which cites the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday say urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target, which they say is affordable and feasible although it lies at the most ambitious end of the Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C.”