Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in Glasgow, Says She Will ‘Push’ on Climate Change
The New York Democrat arrived Tuesday in Glasgow with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers to appear at the COP26 climate talks.,
GLASGOW — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat, arrived at the United Nations climate summit on Tuesday, saying she was there to push the United States and other developed nations to greater action on global warming.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, was surrounded by security as she walked the cavernous tented hallways of the summit, quickly drawing the attention of a crowd of activists who wore masks declaring themselves “climate feminists.”
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is part of delegation of nearly two dozen House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, which Ms. Pelosi said was the largest group of Congress members to attend a climate summit. They traveled to Glasgow to meet with leaders and lawmakers from other countries and promote what they hope will be the strong role the United States will play in tackling climate change.
“We’re here to push,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s time for us to re-examine our first-world and global governments, to re-examine their priorities about what is possible, and really try to push them on the boundaries of that.”
But the Democrats are struggling to overcome divisions within their own party to pass a budget bill that contains the key elements of President Biden’s climate agenda. The legislation includes $555 billion in tax credits and incentives to promote wind and solar power, electric vehicles, climate-friendly agriculture and forestry programs, and a host of other clean energy programs. Together, those programs could cut the United States’ emissions up to a quarter from 2005 levels by 2030, analysts say.
That’s about halfway to Mr. Biden’s goal of cutting the country’s emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels.
While that would represent the most money ever committed by the United States to fight climate change, it’s a weaker version of the president’s original plan. A mechanism that would have compelled utilities to stop burning coal, oil and gas was cut from the bill largely because of objections by one Democratic senator, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.
One activist who followed Ms. Ocasio-Cortez through the halls at the summit, Pamela Elizarrares, 24, from Mexico, called the congresswoman “an inspiration.” But she also said it had been frustrating to watch the United States Congress fail to pass strong climate legislation.
“They have so much power,” Ms. Elizarrares said of the U.S., adding, “I think it’s really important for them to really step it up.”
It is “gender day” at the summit, and Ms. Pelosi noted that women faced particular dangers in a warming world. Climate change “is the existential threat of our time,” she said. “It’s a threat multiplier that amplifies and accelerates existing inequities. Eighty percent of people displaced by climate change globally are women.”
Outside the climate summit, the streets of Glasgow have been filled with protesters — many of them young women. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said she hoped to spend some time with the activists while in Glasgow.
“It would be a dream,” she said.