‘Beto’ O’Rourke on Climate Change Leadership: ‘Those Who Were on the Beaches in Normandy … Showed Us the Way’

By Patrick Goodenough | March 14, 2019 | 11:53 PM EDT

‘Beto’ O'Rourke campaigns in Muscatine, Iowa on March 14, 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – On his first day on the campaign trail Thursday, Democratic presidential hopeful Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke called for urgent action on climate change, and linked the leadership required to confront the issue with the storming of “the beaches in Normandy” in 1944.

O’Rourke threw his weight behind the “Green New Deal,” warning that the planet faces “catastrophe and crisis … even if we were to stop emitting carbon today.” And in an echo of a comment by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in January, he warned that “we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis.”

In one of several stops in Iowa, O’Rourke asked listeners in Burlington how it was that out of all the nations of the world, the U.S. has “removed itself from any obligation to work with anyone on perhaps the most pressing problem” – the fight against global warming.

“When you think about leadership,” he continued, “those who preceded us, right, those who were on the beaches in Normandy, those who faced an existential threat to Western democracy and our way of life, they showed us the way.”

“We can all come together, we can unite, we can marshal the resources, and we can convene the countries of the world around otherwise unsolvable problems.”

D Day, June 6, 1944, saw more than 160,000 American and allied personnel land on the beaches of northern France, paving the way for the liberation of Europe from the Nazis. Some 2,500 allies were killed on June 6 alone, and many more over the weeks that followed.

At a “meet and greet” in Keokuk earlier, O’Rourke was asked about the Green New Deal, and in a lengthy response shared some of his views on the anticipated effects of climate change, among them:

--“We face catastrophe and crisis on this planet, even if we were to stop emitting carbon today.”

--“Along this current trajectory, there will be people who can no longer live in the cities they call home today.”

--“There is food grown in this country that will no longer prosper in these soils.”

--“There is going to be massive migration of tens or hundreds of millions of people from places that are going to be uninhabitable or under the sea.”

“This is the final chance,” said O’Rourke. “The scientists are unanimous on this. We have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis.”

Some people view the Green New Deal as too bold or unmanageable, he said.

“I tell you what, I haven't seen anything better that addresses this singular crisis we face, a crisis that could at its worst lead to extinction.”

“Not to be dramatic,” he concluded. “But literally, the future of the world depends on us right now, here where we are. Let's find a way to do this.”

The Green New Deal resolution was introduced last month by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.)

A month earlier, Ocasio-Cortez drew derision for saying that “the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

She then doubled down, saying while Republicans viewed her comment as a gaffe, “it’s actually a generational difference. Young people understand that climate change is an existential threat.”

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow

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