Energy & Environment

Environmental group says ‘time is up’ for Democrats to act on climate change

Climate protesters stage a sit-in outside the U.S. Capitol on Friday, October 15, 2021. The group ‘People vs Fossil Fuels’ want President Biden to end fossil fuel projects and to declare climate change a national emergency.
Greg Nash

A top climate group is pressuring President Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill to make good on their biggest environmental promises or suffer irreversible damage to the planet.

In a new digital ad, first obtained by The Hill, progressive organization Evergreen Action is calling for Senate Democrats to pass the climate-related portions of “Build Back Better” (BBB) in order to address an existential global crisis. 

Organizers are making the case that “our time is up.”  

“Democrats spent the last year talking about climate action,” begins the ad, titled, “Democrats Have A Choice.” It pans to footage of Biden, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), using their own words pledging to attack the problem.

“Now, they have a choice: Allow climate change to wreak havoc on our communities, and our economy, or forge a new path,” the narrator says.

The 30-second spot, which features images of disasters from extreme temperatures, is part of a barrage of activity among climate activists growing impatient with Washington’s inability to move Biden’s signature spending package. 

That inaction is particularly frustrating to those who thought Democrats at the helm of Congress and the White House would have already passed and signed the bill.

“Over a decade ago, we watched federal climate legislation stall out in Congress. Today, we are feeling the impacts of the climate crisis more intensely than ever before,” said Evergreen Action Executive Director Jamal Raad. “Our time to act is running out”

The group announced that it is spending six figures on the campaign, which will run in Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn, N.Y. 

After months of public hype from most corners of the party, moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) effectively froze the Senate Democratic caucus’s plans to pass BBB as a bulk package, saying as recently as last week that it was “dead” before suggesting on Sunday that he would possibly consider taking up parts individually. 

However, Democratic leaders, who are looking to move the legislation through budget reconciliation to sidestep a Republican filibuster, say a piecemeal approach won’t work. 

Climate advocates are now turning to Schumer for direction. 

“This is his moment to usher his party forward on a climate deal that we so desperately need,” Raad said, adding that more stagnation would be a “catastrophic failure.”

The bill has already passed in the House, with key progressive lawmakers and liberal organizers calling on the Senate to a new version of the bill by March 1, when Biden is scheduled to deliver his State Of The Union address.

“Failure simply isn’t an option here; our future depends on it,” said Raad.

Tags Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Joe Biden Joe Manchin Nancy Pelosi
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