Climate change is the crisis equivalent of the terrorist attacks on 9-11, or even World War II. So says Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, first-term phenom.

As the late Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra famously said, it’s Déjà vu all over again.

Last week, the congresswoman sat down with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes for a Bronx “town hall” interview where she repeated her claim that “our greatest existential threat is climate change.” Her thinking reflects many political and cultural leaders in the country, including her fellow Democrats running for president.

Addressing this threat, Ocasio-Cortez said, requires we “mobilize our entire economy around saving ourselves and taking care of this planet,” as reflected in her plan for a Green New Deal. Historically, she compared today’s climate change—by which she means “man-made”—to the three most significant American events of the last 100 years: “We’ve been here before with the Great Depression; we’ve been here before with World War II;” and our national response to what she correctly described were the worst terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001 demands we do nothing less on climate change.

Most politicians spend their time getting budget crumbs for their constituents back home, and seeking free media attention. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has mastered the latter goal – she can’t stop making news, even if she tried. As for deliverables to her congressional district, that’s for political midgets. She’s about saving the very existence of the Bronx and, more so, she’s about saving the planet. She said so.

Probably every member of Congress in history with fewer than three months on the job had accomplished nothing, so it would be unfair to criticize Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for that. But she sure has much to say, including that our nation must act to reverse global warming by mobilizing on a historic wartime scale “if we’re going to get us to 100 percent renewable energy.” You heard it straight. Replacing plentiful fossil fuels is the modern day equivalent of simultaneously defeating Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, or invading two countries after being attacked on 9-11.

At no point during this interview did Mr. Hayes challenge Ocasio-Cortez’s assertions about climate change. Like so many present-day media figures, he believes it, too – uncritically. Therefore he doesn’t deign to ask her to defend her vapid claims, as would a professional journalist. Nothing to investigate; no curiosity from him. The late, great Tim Russert, he’s not.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is not ignorant of history. The U.S. experienced an economic crisis in the 1930’s unlike anything before or since. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, their savings, and stood in bread lines and soup lines. At least one-quarter of the workforce was unemployed. At the outbreak of World War II, she correctly described the threat of the Axis powers against the U.S. in the 1940’s, “who explicitly named the United States as an enemy.” Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed on 9-11, and thousands more since in the War on Terror.

The U.S. responded to these crises, and it emerged victorious after great trial and cost in blood and treasure – more than 400,000 deaths in WWII, alone.

Today, it’s the climate crisis, says Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. While her mission is to rescue the planet, should we choose to accept it?

Before American society mobilizes, as Ocasio-Cortez demands, to the enthusiastic claps of her town hall audience, a few basic questions need to be asked and answered.

For those computer models that predict the earth is warming by unnatural means (man-made), what explains the absence of global warming for nearly twenty years—or, by some measures, the last 40 years—even as carbon emissions worldwide have increased? Scientists cannot even agree on warming and cooling trends in the recent past, but we’re suppose to mobilize on the scale of World War II over differing predictions of the future?

What if, as some computer models predict, the earth warms by two or three degrees by 2100? Does it matter, and would anyone notice? Is this really an existential threat? If you agree with this prediction by the turn of the century, why is the year 2030—seventy years priorconsidered by many alarmists as the “point of no return”?

Expanding government power and overturning the economy to somehow “mobilize” Americans would accomplish what, exactly? Reducing the temperature by a couple of degrees in the next eighty years? Even if such a goal was feasible, is it practical and necessary considering the scale and dislocation of a WWII-style mobilization and spend “a bazillion dollars” as AOC flippantly described, not to mention the loss of freedom?

Finally, does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s hometown of the Bronx really have “no future” as she claimed at the town hall? She did not elaborate.

There are certainly environmental challenges, like growing plastic waste, that should be—must be—addressed. However, climate change is not the modern equivalent of the Depression when millions of Americans were unemployed and hungry. It is not World War II, and it is not the equivalent a 9-11 terrorist attack.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and all the politicians and pop culture figures like her, even if well meaning disciples of climate alarmism, need to be challenged on basic assumptions and climate predictions. Americans deserve answers before we could even attempt to “mobilize” on a fraction of the scale they demand.


  • Peter Murphy

    Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: