Left-wing activist and actress Jane Fonda delivered a speech Tuesday slamming Republicans, praising the Green New Deal, and denouncing the energy industry for destroying the earth.
The climate change activist appeared before the National Press Club in Washington for an hour-long speech and Q&A session in which she advocated for drastic measures to be taken to stave off global warming.
As she took the podium, the Oscar-winning actress said that worries over climate change had consumed her life.
“You know, I lie in bed at night searching for the right words that will galvanize people to action around the climate emergency and show them why it’s too late for moderation,” Fonda said, adding that she fears about what “the fossil fuel industry has done to us.”
“I get so worked up I can’t sleep,” she continued.
Fonda immediately launched into a broadside against the fossil fuel industry, claiming that they “knew” their product was “causing” global warming over thirty years ago and accused them of being “worse” than big tobacco.
“The difference is that tobacco companies were primarily harming people who smoke. The fossil fuel companies are harming the entire planet and all its inhabitants,” she said.
Fonda went on to accuse the Koch brothers and conservative think tank the Heartland Foundation of pushing “false science” to quell fears about global warming.
She further condemend the fracking industry and Republicans such as Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey. “Several Republicans, notably Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, have introduced resolutions prohibiting a unilateral moratorium on fracking by a president – just in case – next November a pro-climate president is elected,” she said.
The actress went on to accuse the U.S. energy industry of committing “crimes against humanity and the earth,” saying that energy companies are harming working-class families, people of color, indigenous groups, and plant and animal life.
“Because we didn’t act 40 years ago,” Fonda warned, “We don’t stand a chance of changing course in time without profound, systemic economic and systemic change.”
“And they say we have at best 11 years before the tipping point is reached. Eleven years to reduce fossil fuel emissions roughly in half. And then continue to reduce them to net-zero by 2050,” she exclaimed.
“Yes, we are facing a climate crisis,” she went on. “But we’re also facing an empathy crisis. An inequality crisis. It isn’t only the earth’s life support system that are unraveling. The fabric of our society is unraveling.”
“This is going to take an all-out war on drilling, and fracking, and de-regulation, and racism, and misogyny, and colonialism, and despair, all at the same time,” Fonda said. She added that we can’t solve climate change without addressing “inequality and injustice.”
She went on to claim that President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1930s era New Deal policies went on to save the American economy from the Great Depression — despite the view of many economists who now say the New Deal actually prolonged the depression.
Fonda linked the New Deal to the “Green New Deal,” a far-reaching checklist of business regulations and social justice talking points championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
The actress admitted the cost of the Green New Deal is unprecedented, but she insisted that the cost is negligible compared to the “total cost of billion-dollar weather and climate events” that will confront us over time. With that in mind, Fonda exclaimed, “we can find the money.”
She also called for the prosecution and jailing of energy executives, alluding to former Exxon CEO and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“Now, because of the fossil fuel industry, it’s too late for moderation,” she bellowed. “And given the emergency, it’s those who believe in moderation, in pre-Trump business as usual, who are truly delusional. And those who lie and continue to lie about what they’re doing to the environment should be put on trial, not awarded tax cuts and made secretaries of state.”
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