WATCH: Sanders joined by Naomi Klein and Sunrise Movement at Climate Crisis Summit in Iowa

    "Bernie's leadership on climate is set to be particularly critical to his Iowa campaign, because the state has already been so battered by climate change."

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    SOURCECommon Dreams
    Image Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA, modified; Dimitri Rodriguez, CC BY, modified; Molly Crabapple, modified

    This is a developing story and may be updated.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders was joined at a Climate Crisis Summit in Des Moines Saturday afternoon by author Naomi Klein, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other influential figures in the grassroots effort to pass a Green New Deal and achieve environmental justice for all.

    Ahead of the summit, Klein said on Twitter that she was planning at the event to announce her endorsement of the senator’s 2020 presidential campaign.

    “The world is on fire and our most credible hope of beating the arsonists is Bernie Sanders,” Klein tweeted.

    The Sanders campaign sent an email to supporters on Friday highlighting a number of polls showing that the Vermont independent senator is seen as a climate leader in the Democratic primary.

    “Bernie’s leadership on climate is set to be particularly critical to his Iowa campaign, because the state has already been so battered by climate change,” wrote the campaign. “Climate-intensified flooding in Iowa has caused billions of dollars of damage and bludgeoned the state’s agriculture sector—all while fossil fuel corporations have polluted the state with pipeline leaks and oil spills.”

    Also joining Sanders at Drake University on Saturday was Isra Hirsi, a leader of the U.S. Climate Strike movement; Zina Precht-Rodriguez of the Sunrise Movement, and Sanders’s Iowa campaign co-chair, Stacey Walker.

    The summit was scheduled to begin at 12:00pm central time/1:00pm Eastern.

    Watch the summit below:

      An overarching message of the summit echoed Ocasio-Cortez’s call at a rally in Council Bluffs on Friday night, where she asked the 2,400 people gathered in the room to join in solidarity with people across the country whose struggles may differ from theirs.   The congresswoman again introduced Sanders, garnering applause as she spoke about her rejection of the perennial question “How are we going to pay for it?” regarding the Green New Deal and explained how her answer lies within front-line communities across the country. Americans across the country, she argued, have spent years paying for the inaction of a government beholden to the climate-warming fossil fuel industry.

    “As though the Midwest wasn’t underwater this year, as though 3,000 Americans didn’t die in Puerto Rico in Hurricane Maria, as though Hurricane Katrina didn’t happen,” she said. “As though sea levels aren’t rising, as though California isn’t on fire. How do we pay for that? The way that we pay for this is through a people-powered movement, we’re going to come together.”

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