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Sanders: Climate change is ‘the existential threat to our planet’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Independent US Senator Bernie Sanders (File photo by Bloomberg)

Independent US Senator Bernie Sanders has sounded the alarm in regard to the severity of the global warming crisis, saying that climate change is “the existential threat to our planet.” 

“Climate change is the existential threat to our planet at this moment. And we are seeing it with our own eyes right now,” Sanders tweeted on Friday.

“My colleagues ask if we can afford to act as boldly and aggressively as the situation demands — I ask, how can we afford not to?” he said.

Sanders warned last month that the situation was getting worse each day.

“For the sake of the future generations we must act now,” the Vermont senator tweeted. 

He added that every day that “we delay bold action on climate change is one day closer for more droughts and forest fires, more heat waves, more flooding, more sea rising, more extreme weather. The clock is ticking.”

US President Joe Biden has pledged to transition the US economy towards clean energy and reduce emissions from coal, natural gas and oil. Biden brought the US back into the Paris climate accord in January after Trump said in 2017 he was pulling the country out.

Biden has asked Congress to approve a $36 billion budget for fighting global warming in 2022. 

The lion share of the budget will be allocated to clean energy initiatives, innovations and research, while a lesser share will go to the building infrastructures for storage and transmission of clean energy, as well as retrofitting homes and federal buildings.

Sanders and Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer in February introduced legislation that required Biden to declare a national emergency on climate change.

Former US President Donald Trump had labeled climate change a hoax, defying widening international support for the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. He argued that the concept of global warming had been “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”

In June 2017, Trump announced that he was pulling out of the 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, characterizing the decision as "a reassertion of American sovereignty."

The move drew rebuke from Democrats at home and world leaders who had pressed Trump not to abandon the 197-nation accord. He argued that remaining in the deal would hurt the US economy.

A report by US national security and intelligence experts warned that climate change could become a “catastrophic” security threat on both national and global levels.

Global warming “will pose catastrophic, and likely irreversible, global security risks over the course of the 21st century,” experts wrote in a report released by the National Security, Military and Intelligence Panel of the Center of Climate and Security as quoted by the Hill in February 2020.

The report warned that all regions across the globe faced “serious implications,” adding that global warming could bring “catastrophic security impacts across the globe.”

The US is the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China. Russia is the fourth-largest emitter.

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