Rep. Gomez Joins Blumenauer, Ocasio-Cortez, and Sanders in Introducing Legislation to Mandate a National Climate Emergency Declaration
Washington, February 10, 2021
Tags: Energy and Environment
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) joined Reps. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (NY-14) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in introducing legislation mandating the declaration of a national climate emergency. The National Climate Emergency Act directs the president of the United States to declare a national climate emergency and mobilize every resource at the country’s disposal to halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of this climate crisis.
“The global threat posed by climate change is one I’ve worked to address throughout my career in public service, from my time in the California State Assembly to my current role as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform,” said Congressman Jimmy Gomez, who is also a cosponsor of the Green New Deal. “During the course of this fight, I’ve used environmental equity as my guide in crafting climate strategies that reflect the urgency of this crisis while also uplifting working Americans and their communities. As a proud cosponsor of the National Climate Emergency Act, we can both strengthen our ongoing efforts to pursue bold and transformative measures in combatting climate change and also ensure the most vulnerable among us – particularly communities of color disproportionately impacted by the global climate crisis – are prioritized above all else.”
The National Climate Emergency Act builds on that resolution by mandating a presidential declaration of a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. The legislation also outlines steps that the president can take to address the climate emergency while centering environmental justice.
To ensure accountability to Congress and the American people, the National Climate Emergency Act requires that the president deliver a report within one year of the bill’s enactment (and then every year thereafter until the emergency sunsets) that details the specific actions taken by the executive branch to combat the climate emergency and restore the climate for future generations. As detailed in the legislation, this should include, but is not limited to, investments in large scale mitigation and resiliency projects, upgrades to public infrastructure, modernization of millions of buildings to cut pollution, investments in public health, protections for public lands, regenerative agriculture investments that support local and regional food systems, and more.
According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, climate change due to global warming has caused – and is expected to continue to cause – substantial interference with, and growing losses to, human health and safety, infrastructure, property, industry, recreation, natural resources, agricultural systems, and quality of life in the United States. Climate-related natural disasters have increased exponentially over the past decade, costing the United States more than double the long-term average during the period of 2014 through 2018, with total costs of natural disasters during that period of approximately $100,000,000,000 per year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are also wide-ranging, acute, and fatal public health consequences from climate change that impact communities across the United States. Notably, the consequences of climate change already disproportionately impact frontline communities and endanger populations made especially vulnerable by existing exposure to extreme weather events, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing disabilities and health conditions.
If the National Climate Emergency Act is signed into law, the United States would join over 1,000 cities and 38 individual countries that have recognized the climate emergency.
The legislation introduced is supported by dozens of environmental groups, including 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, The Climate Mobilization, Food & Water Watch, Labor Network for Sustainability, Progressive Democrats of America, Public Citizen, Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats, Greenpeace, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Align NY, Friends of Earth, and Climate Justice Alliance.
For a PDF of the bill, please click here.