Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Warns, 'World Is Going to End in 12 Years,' Reiterating Claims of Recent U.N. Climate Change Report

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrat from New York, called climate change "our World War II" and warned that the world will end in 12 years if we don't address global warming on Monday.

During an interview Monday at the MLK Now event at Riverside Church in New York with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ocasio-Cortez argued that global warming needs to be addressed immediately to avoid the end of human existence.

"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 going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?" the freshman congresswoman said. "This is the war—this is our World War II."

"How are we saying 'Let's take it easy' when 3,000 Americans died last year?" she added. "At some point, these chronic realities do reach a breaking point."

Although she didn't explicitly attribute her source for the 12-year time frame, Ocasio-Cortez was likely citing a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released last October that predicted that there's only a dozen years left to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Any higher, even by half a degree, would significantly increase risks of floods, drought, extreme heat and potential poverty for hundreds of millions.

The authors of the report argued that urgent and unprecedented changes will be required to prevent serious environmental catastrophes. "It's a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now," Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts, said, according to The Guardian. "This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilises people and dents the mood of complacency."

Later on Monday, Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, appeared on CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where she admitted she gives "zero" f***s about some established politicians in Washington, D.C., criticizing her outspoken nature.

"Now, congresswoman, for you and other freshmen members of Congress, you're getting a fair amount of pushback privately and publicly from more established members of even your own party saying, 'Wait your turn, go slow, don't ask for so much so fast right now, you're new, wait your turn for everything and don't make waves,'" Colbert said. "I want to ask this question in a respectful manner, knowing also that you're from Queens, so you will understand this question."

"On a scale from zero to some, how many f***s do you give?" the talk show host asked the 29-year-old freshman congresswoman, who quickly responded: "I think it's, um, zero."

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Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, leaves a photo opportunity with the female Democratic members of the 116th U.S. House of Representatives, in Washington, D.C., on January 4. On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez compared climate change to World War II at a Martin Luther King Day event. Getty/Saul Loeb