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Green New Deal Architect Says Climate Change Like ’25 Holocausts’, ‘People of Color are Dying Daily’ from Pollution

The lead policy “guru” on the Green New Deal, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, talked with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on Thursday and made more than one eyebrow-raising comment during the relatively short exchange, including comparing climate change to the Holocaust and asserting a daily pollution death toll. None of her claims were challenged, or even followed-up on, by MSNBC news anchor Velshi in the daytime segment.

In the clip above, Velshi is discussing the idea that there are many topics on the minds of voters, and prompts Gunn-Wright to explain how she and other green wonks expect to make the climate issue of paramount concern in the election.

“How do you make the argument [climate change] needs a separate discussion?” he asked. “Why not health care?”

“So in the issues that you just brought up, climate change is one of the main drivers of our public health. So the difference between, say, 1.5 degrees of warming — which is the least that folks think that we can get — to 2, you are talking about 150 million deaths,” said Gunn-Wright. “That’s 25 holocausts, right? So how is that not a health issue? How is that not about health care?”

“So even the issues that you outline, all of them are affected by climate change and how you decide to deal with climate is how you decide to deal with all these other issues,” she said.

“Let’s talk about cost,” said the MSNBC journalist, ignoring the Holocaust comparison for some reason. He said he’s “troubled” that people worry about how much it will cost to implement the Green New Deal but no “math on the other side” for what it will cost to not do the Green New Deal.

“Right. And I think that’s indicative of the ways that we have just absorbed the cost of not doing anything on climate change right now,” said Gunn-Wright. “So the cost of fossil fuels, of oil, the fuels that we use to power our cars are lower than they actually are because we don’t count the effect that they have on the environment, the effect that they have on public health, the fact that it’s causing people to get asthma and cancer and all of these other things.”

“In a lot of ways it’s just the status quo. But the fact is that we have to start thinking about the cost of inaction because they are mounting and they are mounting quickly,”she continued. “And everyone agrees that they are higher than what we can even estimate right now. And so you cannot talk about the cost of dealing with a problem if you don’t talk about the cost of not dealing with that same problem.”

Instead of asking who is getting cancer from fossil fuel or who everyone is that agrees the cost of not doing the green deal is more than the cost of doing it, Velshi responded instead that it is “kind of interesting, though, that we do, right? That’s the habit society has gotten into.”

Gunn-Wright continued with her accounting of the costs of not doing the green new deal she and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pitched.

“We know that people, especially people of color, are dying daily from fossil fuel pollution,” she said, not citing anything nor being asked for the data.

“We know that we are losing a million species right now because of climate change,” she said, not being asked whether that was hyperbole.

“We know that there are costs to the ways that we live right now and the sooner that we grapple with that reality, the sooner that we will all be able to build an America and a world that is safe and prosperous and healthy for all of us,” she concluded. Velshi didn’t even ask how many Holocausts to attribute to the “the ways that we live right now,” which was surely worth finding out.

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