Climate protesters occupy Pelosi's office over California fires 

Climate protesters occupy Pelosi's office over California fires 
© Greg Nash

Youth protesters occupied House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks Hillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE’s (D-Calif.) office Wednesday afternoon, demanding climate action as a number of fires continue to rage in California.

During the sit-in, the group of 50 activists from the Sunrise Movement demanded the California Democrat move forward with the Green New Deal. The protesters argued that the legislation is desperately needed as the country begins to feel the effects of climate change, citing intensifying wildfires in the senator's state.

The group also momentarily occupied the office of Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFeinstein pushes for California secretary of state to replace Harris in Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot MORE (D-Calif.).

“We're focusing on the California wildfires because it is one of the predominant examples of how the climate crisis is taking shape and taking immediate form and impacting everyday Americans,” said Gabbi Pierce, 22, of the Sunrise Movement.

“And we think it’s really crucial that we don’t just talk about these wildfires as a natural disaster but a manifestation of the climate crisis and that these are coming as a result of years of negligence to address the climate crisis.”

The protests come nearly a year after activists for the group first occupied Pelosi’s office in November last year along with then-Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHarry Styles hits back at criticism over wearing dress on Vogue cover 'It's not a slogan': Progressives push back on Obama's comments on 'defund the police' movement Obama says Democrats should make sure Ocasio-Cortez has a platform MORE (D-N.Y.).

Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year introduced a Green New Deal resolution in the House that aimed to get the U.S. to net zero emissions by 2030. 

While the Green New Deal and the rhetoric surrounding it has made climate change a key issue for Democrats, the bill has stagnated in the House. A similar resolution introduced in the Republican-led Senate failed to pass on a floor vote.

The Sunrise protesters voiced frustration about the level of congressional inaction on climate change so far. Despite Democrats gaining control of the House in 2018, critics have largely been disappointed by the lack of legislation put forward.

Pierce said that while the Green New Deal may not offer immediate action for the fires, it continues to offer Democrats a strong option on climate action, something important looking to 2020.

“I think the Green New Deal is the government agenda we see in a decade-long overhaul. I don’t think I see it as a single policy plan or tunnel vision but as a solution that meets the climate crisis at the scale of the problem by covering all facets of society,” Pierce said.

Adding: "By tackling all those things under one governing agenda, we have the power to really invigorate the base of the Democratic Party, bring in lots of new voters, mobilize the youth and win this election in 2020."