AOC obliterates claim that fighting climate change is ‘elitist’ in stirring speech

"This is not an elitist issue, this is a quality of life issue."

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s signature Green New Deal may not have gained enough votes in the Senate on Tuesday, but that hasn’t stopped a stirring speech of hers from going viral.

The New York Congresswoman spoke on Tuesday at a House Financial Services Committee meeting, slamming the idea that the deal and general concern over the environment is “elitist.”

During the meeting, Republican Congressman Sean Duffy had dramatically argued this very point, saying that the GND would increase the total cost of housing for lower income earners and the homeless.

“If you’re a rich liberal from maybe New York or California, it sounds great because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has zero emissions, that’s energy efficient,” Duffy said.

It didn’t sit well with AOC, who delivered her impassioned speech right back.

“This is not an elitist issue, this is a quality of life issue,” she said. “You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the south Bronx, which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country.

“Tell that to the families in Flint whose kids have their blood ascending in lead levels, their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist.”

One video of the speech, posted above, is sitting at 2 million views on Twitter.

“This is about American lives, and it should not be partisan. Science should not be partisan,” she continued, highlighting the importance of tackling climate change on both sides of the aisle.

“We talk about cost — we’re going to pay for this whether we pass a Green New Deal or not. Because as towns and cities go underwater, as wildfires ravage our communities, we are going to pay. And we’re either going to decide if we’re going to pay to react, or if we’re going to pay to be proactive.”

AOC showed her disappointment with the U.S. government, calling out an unwillingness to act to tackle climate change for her entire lifetime.

“I’m very sad to say that the government knew that climate change was real starting as far back as 1989 when NASA was reporting this. And the private sector knew way back in the 1970s. So, we had until around the time I was born to address this issue.”

“I wish it didn’t have to cost so much, but I’m going to turn 30 this year and for the entire 30 years of my lifetime we did not make substantial investments to prepare out entire country for what we knew was coming.”

It’s moving stuff. Catch the whole session, if you’re keen — the meaty stuff begins around the 2:50 mark.

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