Protesters vow hunger strike to push U.S. on climate change

by Ellen Wulfhorst | @EJWulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 12 November 2019 20:04 GMT

FILE PHOTO: Climate activists participate in an Extinction Rebellion protest in New York, U.S., October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Image Caption and Rights Information
Activists are demanding a one-hour on-camera meeting with U.S. Congressional leader Nancy Pelosi to discuss reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK, Nov 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Climate change opponents plan to stage a hunger strike to demand a meeting with U.S. Congressional leader Nancy Pelosi, they said on Tuesday, in the political battle over global warming.

The protesters said they want a one-hour on-camera meeting with Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to discuss reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025.

"You have yet to pass even symbolic legislation recognizing the climate crisis as a national emergency. With all due respect, you have failed," they said in an open letter.

"Meet with us or leave us to starve while you jet to your Thanksgiving feasts and cocktail parties in the glow of a burning world."

Global warming threatens the planet's food supply with extreme weather, from drought to more dangerous and destructive storms, scientists say.

As leader of the Democrat-controlled House, Pelosi has been at the center of debates regarding efforts to fight global warming.

She has resisted a Congressional resolution called the Green New Deal backed by progressives that seeks a 10-year, government-driven effort to promote clean energy and make the nation carbon-neutral by 2030.

Pelosi has said she welcomes the "enthusiasm" behind the Green New Deal but in an interview with Politico, an online news site, called it a "green dream."

A representative for Pelosi was not immediately available to comment on the hunger strike plans.

The Green New Deal has become a political target of U.S. President Donald Trump, who denies human-induced climate change, and Republicans who call the plan radical and too expensive.

The Trump administration recently began formal steps to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement, a global pact to cut greenhouse emissions.

The president has said the Paris deal would unfairly hurt the U.S. economy while favoring other nations.

Moderate House Democrats have unveiled a climate change plan to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 rather than by 2030 under the Green New Deal.

The protesters said they will launch a week-long hunger strike on November 18, 10 days before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, at Pelosi's Washington offices, elsewhere in the United States and in other countries. They are part of Extinction Rebellion, a grassroots green movement launched in London in 2018.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.