Ocasio-Cortez Joins Climate Change Protest Outside Pelosi's Office

New York congressional candidate and Democratic Socialists of America member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Getty Images
November 13, 2018

Soon-to-be congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) joined a protest Tuesday outside the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) as a part of a demand for legislative action on climate change.

Pelosi appears poised to again become speaker of the House after Democrats won the House of Representatives in last week's midterm election. Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist who became a progressive star after stunning Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) in June's primary and easily won election in New York's heavily Democratic 14th district, joined climate activists calling for a "Green New Deal."

She was greeted with an ovation and high-fives as she joined the protest.

"I just want to let you all know how proud I am of each and every single one of you. For putting yourselves and your bodies and everything on the line to make sure we save our planet," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We do not have a choice. We have to get to 100 percent renewable energy in 10 years. There is no other option."

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about accepting their invitation and said she had spoken with Pelosi "about how our commitments to climate change should take shape in the 116th Congress."

"[Pelosi's] office has responded quickly, and she has recommended the reinstatement of the Select Committee on Climate Change," she tweeted.

Protesters from Justice Democrats and the environmental group Sunrise comprised the protest, which called on Pelosi to take immediate action on climate change when she likely takes the gavel.

Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid said in a statement that Pelosi and the party's leadership "must get serious about the climate and our economy," The Intercept, a progressive website, reported.

"Anything less is tantamount to denying the reality of climate change," Shahid said. "The hopeful part is that we’re ushering in a new generation of leaders into the Democratic Party who understand the urgency and will help build a movement to create the political will for bold action."

Ocasio-Cortez made climate change one of the cornerstones of her campaigning, ripping the Trump administration as cowardly for not addressing the issue. She compared it to the existential threat of Nazi Germany and called for the government to mobilize all its forces to achieve 100 percent renewable energy.

Pelosi had already told the New York Times last week that she will push for a special House committee on climate change:

Ms. Pelosi said that she would urge her caucus to revive a select committee focused on climate change, similar to the one that Democrats financed from 2007 to early 2011, to "prepare the way with evidence" for energy conservation and other climate change mitigation legislation. Republicans defunded the panel when they took the majority, but Ms. Pelosi said it was clearly still needed to educate the public about the impact of more frequent extreme weather events.

According to The Guardian, another progressive website, the protest of Pelosi was to bash the committee Democrats initially financed as "toothless," saying it "resulted in weak cap-and-trade legislation passing the House in 2009 before failing in the Democratic-controlled Senate."