U.S.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders Team Up to Tout Green New Deal: ‘We Need a Political Revolution’

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders teamed up this week to promote the Green New Deal to young voters in Washington, D.C.

The two self-described democratic socialists gave speeches promoting climate change action at the last stop of the Sunrise Movement’s Road to the Green New Deal tour at Howard University, a historic African-American college, on Monday evening.

Since Ocasio-Cortez, who once worked for Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, introduced the proposal as a House resolution in February with Democratic Senator Ed Markey, Sanders has been a vocal supporter of the plan, which proposes eradicating all carbon emissions in America within roughly 10 years while creating green jobs.

During his speech, Sanders called for a “political revolution” to tackle the fossil fuel industry. “How do we take on an industry with unlimited wealth, unlimited power and unlimited resources? We need a political revolution. This is what a corrupt political system is about,” he said.

"In the last decade alone, the oil and gas industry has pumped more than 700 million dollars’ worth of campaign contributions into federal, state and local elections. In that same period, they spent more than $1.5 billion lobbying Washington. This is what we are up against," Sanders said.

Ocasio-Cortez echoed Sanders’ attack on big corporations and their lobbying efforts. “Let me tell you what's too much for me. What’s too much for me is politicians looking and allowing babies' blood to get poisoned in Flint, Michigan, for corporate profits. What’s too much for me is coal barons coming up to Washington, D.C., and demanding bailout after tax breaks, after bailout themselves, and then not even paying their own miners' pensions,” the freshman congresswoman said.

Both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly highlighted the urgency for climate action. "When you're dealing with the future of the planet and making sure that our kids and our grandchildren have a healthy and habitable world in which to live, I don't know how you go too far," Sanders said. "This is an existential threat, not just to the United States but to the entire planet."

Ocasio-Cortez renewed criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden’s “middle ground” climate plan after calling it a “dealbreaker” for Democratic progressives on Twitter on Friday.

“What’s too much for me is that Congress was first notified by NASA that climate change was going to threaten my life and everyone here’s life to come, and they did nothing,” she said. “If the same politicians who refused to act then are going to try to come back today and say we need to have a ‘middle of the road approach’ to save our lives, that is too much for me.”

Sanders similarly tweeted opposition to Biden’s plan on Friday. "There is no 'middle ground' when it comes to climate policy," he wrote. "If we don't commit to fully transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels, we will doom future generations. Fighting climate change must be our priority, whether fossil fuel billionaires like it or not."

GettyImages-1148958281 Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a rally at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on May 13. The Sunrise Movement held the event for the final stop of the Road to a Green New Deal tour to "explore what the pain of the climate crisis looks like in D.C. and for the country and what the promise of the Green New Deal means Alex Wong/Getty Images

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