Tens of thousands of marchers kicked off Climate Week 2023 with a massive rally in New York. Demonstrators demanded an end to fossil fuels and called on President Biden to declare a climate emergency.
It’s been the hottest summer since we began keeping records. And even with months left to go, this year has seen more billion-dollar climate disasters in the United States than any other. In a healthy political system, parties would be falling over each other to propose solutions.
But as the estimated 75,000 demonstrators from 700 organizations recognize, our political system is far from healthy.
During the recent Republican presidential debate, candidates were asked to raise their hands if they believed in consensus climate science. One of them flatly denied the science and nearly all of them refused to endorse it. Only one candidate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, acknowledged the scientific reality — but went on to make the verifiably false statement that China and India were to blame for it.
While they are significant polluters, both China and India have lower per capita emissions than the United States today. And the U.S. is by far the largest cumulative emitter of carbon dioxide, which matters because carbon dioxide lasts in the atmosphere for a long time. The U.S. is the one country that’s most responsible for the climate change impacts we’re already experiencing and our policymakers need to recognize that.