AOC joins thousands in New York climate change march with furious message for Biden

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Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in New York City on Sunday to kick off New York’s Climate Week, a week of climate-related protests, which included calls to end the use of fossil fuels.

Yelling that the future and their lives depend on ending the use of coal, oil and natural gas, the people who joined Sunday’s so-called March to End Fossil Fuels aimed their wrath directly at President Biden, urging him to stop approving new oil and gas projects, phase out current ones and declare a climate emergency with larger executive powers.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and actors Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton and Kevin Bacon joined Sunday’s event, which was the opening salvo to New York’s Climate Week.

“We have people all across the world in the streets, showing up, demanding a cessation of what is killing us,” Ocasio-Cortez told those in attendance. “We have to send a message that some of us are going to be living on this planet 30, 40, 50 years from now. And we will not take no for an answer.”

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Ocasio-Cortez on stage

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a rally to end the use of fossil fuels in New York, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. (AP Photo / Bryan Woolston)

Organizers estimated 75,000 people marched Sunday.

Protesters called for Biden to make climate change and ending fossil fuels a priority in his re-election strategy.  

“We hold the power of the people, the power you need to win this election,” Emma Buretta, a 17-year-old of the youth protest group Fridays for Future, told The Associated Press. “If you want to win in 2024, if you do not want the blood of my generation to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.”

Climate protesters

Climate activists march on Madison Avenue in New York City while protesting energy policy and the use of fossil fuels Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Signs included “Biden, End Fossil Fuels,” “Fossil fuels are killing us” and “Biden Declare A Climate Emergency.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s office for an additional comment, but a response was not immediately received.

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Protest organizers emphasized that they felt let down by Biden, who many of them supported in 2020, as he has increased drilling for oil and fossil fuels.

“President Biden, our lives depend on your actions today,” said Louisiana environmental activist Sharon Lavigne. “If you don’t stop fossil fuels our blood is on your hands.”

AOC speaking

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, speaks at a rally to end the use of fossil fuels in New York, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. (AP Photo / Bryan Woolston)

AOC walking

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined the rally to end the use of fossil fuels and met with supporters and other demonstrators in New York City Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. (AP Photo / Bryan Woolston)

Jean Su, a march organizer and energy justice director for the Center for Biological Diversity, added, “You need to phase out fossil fuels to survive on our planet.”

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Nearly one-third of the world’s planned drilling for oil and gas between now and 2050 is by U.S. interests, environmental activists calculate. Over the past 100 years, the United States has put more heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than any other country.

Protesters, signs

Climate activists attend a rally to end fossil fuels, in New York, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

China currently emits more carbon pollution on an annual basis.

This protest was more focused on fossil fuels and the industry than previous marches, and American University sociologist Dana Fisher said 15% of Sunday’s demonstrators were there for the first time. The group was also overwhelmingly female.

Oil and gas industry leaders have advocated for helping the environment but have defended the continued use of fossil fuels as vital to the current infrastructure of the country.

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“We share the urgency of confronting climate change together without delay; yet doing so by eliminating America’s energy options is the wrong approach and would leave American families and businesses beholden to unstable foreign regions for higher cost and far less reliable energy,” American Petroleum Institute Senior Vice President Megan Bloomgren told The Associated Press.

Protesters in the street

Thousands of demonstrators flooded Manhattan streets demanding President Biden to take action to end fossil fuel expansion and climate justice Sept. 17, 2023. (Ryan Rahman/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Climate Week typically includes leaders in business, politics and the arts gathering in support of the environment. This year’s week includes a new special United Nations summit Wednesday organized by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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