250+ groups call on House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to heed Green New Deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. November 22, 2019 – More than 250 groups today sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) demanding the committee take additional proactive steps in line with a Green New Deal to avert climate catastrophe.

In the letter, the groups challenge the committee to make recommendations that will address the structural inequities that disproportionately impact frontline communities. Further, the groups call for a commitment to phase out fossil fuel production with a just transition.

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“The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis must do more than recommend the same myopic policy solutions that failed to generate enthusiasm a decade ago,” said Nicole Ghio, senior fossil fuels program manager at Friends of the Earth. “Democrats in Congress must embrace the Green New Deal platform and take a comprehensive stance that includes a just transition to phase out fossil fuel production and justice for frontline communities.” 

“Too often, environmental policy-making excludes those directly facing the ravages of the climate crisis, including small farmers, farmworkers, rural communities, and indigenous families affected by drought, downpours, disease, and displacement,” said Navina Khanna, Director of the HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance. “As stewards of the land, these folks know that the best solutions to climate change are in the soil. The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis must center their knowledge and experience if it is serious about our survival as a species.”

“We know what we have to do to stop the ever-worsening effects of our climate crisis — get off fossil fuels,” said Mitch Jones, climate & energy program director at Food & Water Action. “The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis must begin its work there, moving a fair and just transition away from fracking and pipelines and towards robust investments in frontline communities building a thriving renewables manufacturing industry in the United States.”

“The climate crisis has grown more acute during the ten years since Congress last tried — and failed — to pass a comprehensive climate bill. Congress needs to step up and make big structural changes,” said RL Miller, political director at Climate Hawks Vote. “Go bold. Imagine and create an American economy powered by renewable energy. Incrementalism won’t work.”

“Ignoring the platform laid out in the Green New Deal will be done at the peril of the world as we know it, which we are beyond  saving simply by making better personal choices. A Green New Deal, coupled with a Just Transition, could incentivize water and soil conservation and integrated, environmentally friendly, low input agriculture that would drastically reduce the cultivation of monoculture crops and concentrated livestock production. We call on Congressional leaders to use the Green New Deal as a foundation for systemic reform to ensure that farmers and workers are paid fairly for their products and labor and for sequestering carbon in the soil, thereby supporting more vibrant rural economies,” said Jim Goodman, Board President at the National Family Farm Coalition.

“Congress, and particularly the House majority that promised to tackle global warming, must provide action and solutions on par with the severity of the climate crisis itself. As California burns, as our coasts and cities flood, and as U.S. farmers face drought, Americans are already experiencing the devastating impacts of greenhouse pollution chaos,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We call on not only Speaker Pelosi and the relevant House committee chairs to step it up, but also a recalcitrant Senate to wake up and do its job. Half-measures and fake fossil fuel corporate solutions are not the answer.”

“Farmworkers are on the frontlines of climate change,” said Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator at the Farmworker Association of Florida. “Increasingly high temperatures put them at daily risk for heat stress and heat stroke. We have seen farmworkers forced to work during the frightening, unprecedented wildfires in California. Increased pesticide use to counter pests in a changing climate poses real danger to the health of farmworkers and their families. The people who harvest our food and feed the nation are mostly low-income people of color. For farmworkers, climate change is a public health and a justice issue.”