Saying “Green New Deal” over and over in a stump speech is not enough. Here’s what we really need to elect more climate champions.

By Marianne Lavelle, Inside Climate News

For U.S. voters who care deeply about climate change, the 2022 elections are about more than control of Congress and leadership of most states.

The results will, in a real sense, determine whether the U.S. can fulfill its pledge to be a leader in the drive to stave off the most catastrophic consequences of global warming.

Candidates elected this year will steer the direction of U.S. policy in the lead-up to 2025—a significant deadline set out in this month’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That’s when the IPCC said greenhouse gas emissions need to peak if the world hopes to meet the Paris climate accord goal of holding the post-industrial temperature increase close to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

More climate champions like AOC

President Joe Biden’s first year in office has made clear that the world’s #1 oil and gas producer won’t be able to curb its reliance on fossil fuels without more climate leadership in Congress and at every level of government. Despite the ambitious climate goals Biden has embraced, much of his climate agenda is stalled in the closely divided Senate. And he faces mounting pressure to maintain and expand fossil fuel production, both to rein in inflation and to address energy security concerns amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“I think people are really scared,” said RL Miller, co-founder and political director of the advocacy group Climate Hawks Vote. “People see that if we lose the House, as the pundits are telling us we will, and we are unable to pick up more seats in the Senate, then everything is just going to slip away. There’s going to be no more chance for climate action in a generation, and I don’t know how many more generations we’ve got left.”

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