The resolution argues that climate change has a disproportionate impact on children, and demands a government-led response
By Patrick Hauf
Dozens of House Democrats put forward legislation last week that claims the sea level will rise as much as 30 feet by the year 2100 if the government does not act to counter climate change.
The non-binding resolution from 65 Democrats argues there is a disproportionate impact of climate change on children, and warns that the warming climate is a threat to the fundamental rights and mental health of children around the world. A government acknowledgment and solution to the “threat to national security” posed by climate change is needed to counter potentially irreversible harms to the environment, they wrote.
“The best scientific information available projects a 15- to 30-foot rise in sea level by 2100 if current trends continue, with ever greater rises and acceleration in subsequent centuries, resulting in increased erosion and the loss of land, causing the loss of communities, homes, infrastructure, agriculture, and coastal ecosystems for affected children, until such time as levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are dramatically reduced, and steps are taken to cool the upper portion of the ocean,” the resolution says.
The resolution claims the “planetary energy imbalance” cause by climate change is “equivalent to the amount of energy of exploding more than 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year, across the planet.”
The Democrats’ resolution says there are several ways climate change is hurting kids. They listed potential family loss or separation, school interruption, and “feelings of uncertainty about the future and a belief that their government is not protecting them from climate change, all of which result in anxiety, trauma, shock, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic impacts.”
It added that kids are “especially susceptible to air pollution given their developing lungs, higher ventilation rate, and higher levels of physical activity,” and said climate change leads to a longer pollen season that contributes to allergic rhinitis.
Children, the lawmakers said, will shoulder the cost of climate change more than anyone as “global temperature will saddle children with an enormous, perhaps incalculable, cost burden.” These burdens, the resolution argued, come even as they are unable to vote.
“[C]hildren are a politically powerless minority without economic or political power to influence climate and energy policy, as they are denied the right to vote until they become 18 years old, and their interests are subjugated to the interests of adults,” the resolution states.
Aside from just hurting children, Democrats argued that climate change is a “threat to national security,” as it contributes to and exacerbates global instability and conflict.”
In light of these problems, the resolution calls for a “national, comprehensive, science-based, and just climate recovery plan” from the federal government that puts the U.S. on a path to lower carbon emissions by 2100 to “uphold children’s fundamental rights.”