Ocasio-Cortez: 'World will end in 12 years' if climate change not addressed

Ocasio-Cortez: 'World will end in 12 years' if climate change not addressed
© Greg Nash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez, Thunberg, Rapinoe make BBC's 100 most inspiring women of 2019 Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey endorses Biden Democratic strategist on Sanders debate performance: 'I just think he might've topped out' MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday said she thinks that there is an urgency needed in addressing man-made climate change, warning that it will "destroy the planet" in a dozen years if humans do not address the issue, no matter the cost.

During an interview at the MLK Now event in New York City honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Ocasio-Cortez told interviewer Ta-Nehisi Coates that younger Americans are looking for bold solutions to climate change, and are not concerned about the cost.

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“Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?' " Ocasio-Cortez asked Coates.

Her comments are in reference to a United Nations-backed climate report, published late last year, that determined the effects of climate change to be irreversible and unavoidable if carbon emissions are not reined in over the next 12 years.

In the same interview, Ocasio-Cortez took aim at the Trump administration and some Democrats on Capitol Hill for "abdicat[ing]" their responsibilities to govern and address the issue. She added that activists have a “responsibility” to be vocally opposed to the administration and "breathe fire" when necessary.

"Right now, with the current administration, with the current circumstances, with the abdication of responsibility that we've seen from so many powerful people, even people who abdicate that responsibility by calling themselves liberal or a Democrat, or whatever it is, I feel a need for all of us to breathe fire," she said.

The freshman Democratic congresswoman drew a national following last year with her shocking primary upset of longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), who was a member of House Democratic leadership.

The 29-year-old has since leveraged her impressive social media following into influence among the Democratic caucus and hosted a social media workshop for Democratic lawmakers last week.