[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. Con. Res. 22 Introduced in Senate (IS)]


  1st Session
S. CON. RES. 22

  Expressing the sense of Congress that there is a climate emergency 
   which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and 
                  address its consequences and causes.



                             July 17, 2019

Mr. Sanders (for himself, Mr. Merkley, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Booker, Mrs. 
    Gillibrand, Ms. Warren, and Ms. Harris) submitted the following 
     concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on 
                      Environment and Public Works


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

  Expressing the sense of Congress that there is a climate emergency 
   which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and 
                  address its consequences and causes.

Whereas 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 were the 4 hottest years on record and the 20 
        warmest years on record have occurred within the past 22 years;
Whereas global atmospheric concentrations of the primary heat-trapping gas, or 
        greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide--

    (1) have increased by 40 percent since preindustrial times, from 280 
parts per million to 415 parts per million, primarily due to human 
activities, including burning fossil fuels and deforestation;

    (2) are rising at a rate of 2 to 3 parts per million annually; and

    (3) must be reduced to not more than 350 parts per million, and likely 
lower, ``if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which 
civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted,'' according 
to former National Aeronautics and Space Administration climatologist, Dr. 
James Hansen;

Whereas global atmospheric concentrations of other greenhouse gases, including 
        methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons, have also increased 
        substantially since preindustrial times, primarily due to human 
        activities, including burning fossil fuels;
Whereas current climate science and real-world observations of climate change 
        impacts, including ocean warming and acidification, floods, droughts, 
        wildfires, and extreme weather, demonstrate that a global rise in 
        temperatures of 1 degree Celsius above preindustrial levels is already 
        having dangerous impacts on human populations and the environment;
Whereas the 2018 National Climate Assessment found that climate change due to 
        global warming has caused, and is expected to cause additional, 
        substantial interference with and growing losses to infrastructure, 
        property, industry, recreation, natural resources, agricultural systems, 
        human health and safety, and quality of life in the United States;
Whereas the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has determined that 
        climate change is already increasing the frequency of extreme weather 
        and other climate-related disasters, including drought, wildfire, and 
        storms that include precipitation;
Whereas climate-related natural disasters have increased exponentially over the 
        past decade, costing the United States more than double the long-term 
        average during the period of 2014 through 2018, with total costs of 
        natural disasters during that period of approximately $100,000,000,000 
        per year;
Whereas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found wide-ranging, 
        acute, and fatal public health consequences from climate change that 
        impact communities across the United States;
Whereas the National Climate and Health Assessment of the United States Global 
        Change Research Program identified climate change as a significant 
        threat to the health of the people of the United States, leading to 

    (1) temperature-related deaths and illnesses;

    (2) air quality impacts;

    (3) extreme weather events;

    (4) numbers of vector-borne diseases;

    (5) waterborne illnesses;

    (6) food safety, nutrition, and distribution complications; and

    (7) mental health and well-being concerns;

Whereas the consequences of climate change already disproportionately impact 
        frontline communities and endanger populations made especially 
        vulnerable by existing exposure to extreme weather events, such as 
        children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing disabilities 
        and health conditions;
Whereas individuals and families on the frontlines of climate change across the 
        United States, including territories, living with income inequality and 
        poverty, institutional racism, inequity on the basis of gender and 
        sexual orientation, poor infrastructure, and lack of access to health 
        care, housing, clean water, and food security are often in close 
        proximity to environmental stressors or sources of pollution, 
        particularly communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-
        income communities, which--

    (1) experience outsized risk because of the close proximity of the 
community to environmental hazards and stressors, in addition to colocation 
with waste and other sources of pollution;

    (2) are often the first exposed to the impacts of climate change; and

    (3) have the fewest resources to mitigate those impacts or to relocate, 
which will exacerbate preexisting challenges;

Whereas, according to Dr. Robert Bullard and Dr. Beverly Wright, ``environmental 
        and public health threats from natural and human-made disasters are not 
        randomly distributed,'' therefore a response to the climate emergency 
        necessitates the adoption of just community transition policies and 
        processes available to all communities, which include policies and 
        processes rooted in principles of racial and socio-economic equity, 
        self-determination, and democracy, as well as the fundamental human 
        right of all people to clean air and water, healthy food, health care, 
        adequate land, education, and shelter;
Whereas climate change holds grave and immediate consequences not just for the 
        population of the United States, including territories, but for 
        communities across the world, particularly those communities in the 
        Global South on the frontlines of the climate crisis, which are at risk 
        of forced displacement;
Whereas communities in rural, urban, and suburban areas are all dramatically 
        affected by climate change, though the specific economic, health, 
        social, and environmental impacts may be different;
Whereas the United States Department of State, Department of Defense, and 
        intelligence community have identified climate change as a threat to 
        national security, and the Department of Homeland Security views climate 
        change as a top homeland security risk;
Whereas climate change is a threat multiplier--

    (1) with the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges the United 
States already confronts, including conflicts over scarce resources, 
conditions conducive to violent extremism, and the spread of infectious 
diseases; and

    (2) because climate change has the potential to produce new, 
unforeseeable challenges in the future;

Whereas, in 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
        projected that the Earth could warm 1.5 degrees Celsius above 
        preindustrial levels as early as 2030;
Whereas the climatic changes resulting from global warming above 1.5 degrees 
        Celsius above preindustrial levels, including changes resulting from 
        global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial 
        levels, are projected to result in irreversible, catastrophic changes to 
        public health, livelihoods, quality of life, food security, water 
        supplies, human security, and economic growth;
Whereas, in 2019, the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform 
        on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found that human-induced climate 
        change is pushing the planet toward the sixth mass species extinction, 
        which threatens the food security, water supply, and well-being of 
        billions of people;
Whereas, according to climate scientists, limiting warming to no more than 1.5 
        degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, and likely lower, is most 
        likely to avoid irreversible and catastrophic climate change;
Whereas, even with global warming up to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial 
        levels, the planet is projected to experience--

    (1) a significant rise in sea levels;

    (2) extraordinary loss of biodiversity; and

    (3) intensifying droughts, prodigious floods, devastating wildfires, 
and other extreme weather events;

Whereas, according to climate scientists, addressing the climate emergency will 
        require an economically just and managed phase-out oil, gas, and coal to 
        keep fossil fuels in the ground;
Whereas the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has 
        determined that limiting warming through emissions reduction and carbon 
        sequestration will require rapid, and immediate, acceleration and 
        proliferation of ``far-reaching, multilevel, and cross-sectoral climate 
        mitigation'' and ``transitions in energy, land, urban and rural 
        infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial 
Whereas, in the United States, massive, comprehensive, and urgent governmental 
        action is required immediately to achieve the transitions of those 
        systems in response to the severe existing and projected economic, 
        social, public health, and national security threats posed by the 
        climate crisis;
Whereas the massive scope and scale of action necessary to stabilize the climate 
        will require unprecedented levels of public awareness, engagement, and 
        deliberation to develop and implement effective, just, and equitable 
        policies to address the climate crisis;
Whereas failure to mobilize to solve the climate emergency is antithetical to 
        the spirit of the Declaration of Independence in protecting 
        ``unalienable Rights'' that include ``Life, Liberty and the pursuit of 
Whereas the United States has a proud history of collaborative, constructive, 
        massive-scale Federal mobilizations of resources and labor in order to 
        solve great challenges, such as the Interstate Highway System, the 
        Apollo 11 Moon landing, Reconstruction, the New Deal, and World War II;
Whereas the United States stands uniquely poised to substantially grow the 
        economy and attain social and health benefits from a massive 
        mobilization of resources and labor that far outweigh the costs of 
Whereas millions of middle class jobs can be created by raising labor standards 
        through project labor agreements and protecting and expanding the right 
        of workers to organize so that workers in the United States and the 
        communities of those workers are guaranteed a strong, viable economic 
        future in a zero-emissions economy that guarantees good jobs at fair 
        union wages, with quality benefits;
Whereas frontline communities, Tribal governments and communities, people of 
        color, and labor unions must be equitably and actively engaged in the 
        climate mobilization and prioritized through local climate mitigation 
        and adaptation planning, policy, and program delivery so that workers in 
        the United States, the communities of those workers, are guaranteed a 
        strong, viable economic future;
Whereas a number of local jurisdictions and governments in the United States, 
        including New York City and Los Angeles, and across the world, including 
        the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Portugal, and Canada, have 
        already declared a climate emergency, and a number of State and local 
        governments are considering declaring a climate emergency in response to 
        the massive challenges posed by the climate crisis;
Whereas State, local, and Tribal governments must be supported in efforts to 
        hold to account actors whose activities have deepened and accelerated 
        the climate crisis and who have benefitted from delayed action to 
        address the climate change emergency and to develop a fossil fuel-free 
Whereas a collaborative response to the climate crisis will require the Federal 
        Government to work with international, State, and local governments, 
        including with those governments that have declared a climate emergency, 
        to reverse the impacts of the climate crisis; and
Whereas the United States has an obligation, as a driver of accelerated climate 
        change, to mobilize at emergency speed to restore a safe climate and 
        environment not just for communities of the United States, including 
        territories, but for communities across the world, particularly those on 
        the frontlines of the climate crisis who have least contributed to the 
        crisis, and to account for global and community impacts of any actions 
        it takes in response to the climate crisis: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), 
That it is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) the global warming caused by human activities, which 
        increase emissions of greenhouse gases, has resulted in a 
        climate emergency that--
                    (A) severely and urgently impacts the economic and 
                social well-being, health and safety, and national 
                security of the United States; and
                    (B) demands a national, social, industrial, and 
                economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the 
                United States at a massive-scale to halt, reverse, 
                mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of the 
                climate emergency and to restore the climate for future 
                generations; and
            (2) nothing in this concurrent resolution constitutes a 
        declaration of a national emergency for purposes of any Act of 
        Congress authorizing the exercise, during the period of a 
        national emergency or other type of declared emergency, of any 
        special or extraordinary power.