Climate Crisis Petition

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Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, 
Representatives Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, Nicole Malliotakis
Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler and Nydia Velazquez


Thank you for your leadership on passing the COVID relief stimulus to address the pandemic crisis. We write to you now urging you to address the climate crisis. We applaud Senate Majority Leader Schumer's recent call for President Biden to declare a climate emergency which would enable expansive action to decarbonize the economy. In addition, we must reprioritize as a nation so that our military can help mitigate global warming, rather than contribute to it. Currently, U.S. military actions warm the planet, and the Pentagon's bloated budget drains funding that is needed for developing and implementing new green technologies and supporting a just transition off fossil fuels.


The U.S. military is the world's largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels and producer of carbon dioxide. U.S. wars leave toxic waste, deforestation, and desertification in their wake. Poor people suffer the most from the resulting environmental degradation and pollution. The climate crisis and militarism increase inequality and erode the social safety net. Critics say there is no money to transition quickly and equitably from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy, but we know we have the money. We're just spending it on the wrong things.


The 2021 budget for the Pentagon and related agencies is $741 billion, larger than the next ten countries combined, eleven times greater than Russia's military budget and four times the size of China's military expenditures. This egregious spending meant sixty percent of the U.S. 2020 discretionary budget went to the military, leaving just 40% for everything else.


In 2020, many of you supported the historic legislation introduced by Representatives Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan to cut the Pentagon budget by 10%. We now ask you to take the next step and join the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus. A recent letter signed by 50 House Democrats urging President Biden to reduce the Pentagon budget shows that this is the moment to prove your commitment to ending forever wars and investing in real security for America's future- a sustainable climate.


To avoid the most catastrophic impacts of global warming, we must decarbonize the economy as quickly as possible, which requires massive public investment and collective action. Taking these actions will help ensure a habitable planet for future generations and will also create millions of green jobs and healthier communities now. This reprioritization of our national spending would have a transformative impact on the economy and employ underserved populations including veterans, people of color, and those recently unemployed by the pandemic.


We respectfully urge you, our Senators and Congressional representatives to:


  • Urge President Biden to declare a climate emergency, redirecting Pentagon funds and troops to mitigate global warming and make America more resilient;

  • Join the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus;

  • Reduce the carbon polluting activities of the military by decreasing its scope and shrinking the Pentagon budget;

  • Support a Green New Deal agenda as well as the THRIVE act to exponentially increase spending for research and implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transportation and other technologies; and ensure a just and equitable transition off fossil fuels and the creation of millions of green, family-sustaining and unionized jobs.