Sanders: U.S. Needs to Declare 'Planetary Crisis' on Climate Change
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said this morning that the U.S. needs to declare a "planetary crisis" on climate change and added that the CIA is stressing about it.
Sanders was asked on MSNBC about Republican lawmakers' comments that the science is far from settled. Organizing for America gathered some of these into a video to slam the GOP over the issue, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) saying "I understand that people say there's a significant scientific consensus on that issue, but I've actually seen reasonable debate on that principle."
"I think it's very clear that the scientific community, the people who have most studied this issue, overwhelmingly believe that, (A), global warming is real; (B), that it is caused by human activities; (C), that it is already causing severe damage in the United States on all -- and all over the world. And (D), when we're talking about the possibility -- and this is what the predictions are -- that by the year 2100 this planet may have a temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is right now. What we're looking at is real catastrophe unless we begin to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy," Sanders said.
"It saddens me very much, and I know people are totally frustrated with what goes on in Congress right now for 100 different reasons. But the idea that you have a major political party that is rejecting -- rejecting all of the science out there, and it's preventing us from going forward in the kind of ways that we have got to go forward to save this planet, is enormously distressing."
Sanders recently told Playboy in an interview that global warming is a more serious threat than al-Qaeda.
He says he doesn't expect much to come out of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, staring today in Warsaw, Poland, and running through Nov. 22. "The United States will also host more than 40 side events for the nearly 10,000 attendees to learn more about U.S. leadership to curb climate change and participate in discussions with leading experts," the State Department said of the convention.
"What we need to do as a nation is say, 'Look, we have a planetary crisis.' We've got to break our dependence on fossil fuel. We have to invest significantly in energy efficiency and sustainable energy. We have to work with China, India, and the rest of the world to make this transformation as soon as possible," Sanders said.
"We've spent -- just the federal government -- spent $60 billion helping New Jersey and the other states impacted by Hurricane Sandy. We spent hundreds of millions of dollars helping Vermont and other states hit by Hurricane Irene. You're talking about forest fires. You're talking about drought. A recent report came out recently from the scientific community worrying very much about food production because of drought in years to come," he continued. "The rising price of food, hunger, political dislocation, because countries and people are fighting over limited resources. Ask the CIA. They worry very much about the long-term implications from a national security perspective about global warming."
"So, all over the world, the evidence is very clear, we have got to act. It is literally beyond comprehension how little we are doing and that you have -- again, I don't mean to be overly political here, but when you have a major political party rejecting what the overwhelming scientific evidence is, it is pretty scary."