THE link between fossil fuel extraction and gender violence must be identified to tackle the climate crisis, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said.

The congresswoman said that there is a “crisis” of missing and murdered indigenous women in the US, and that often they have disappeared near fossil fuel extraction sites.

It comes as she also said the US has yet to regain its moral authority on climate change after Donald Trump’s presidency, but is on the way to doing so.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was also challenged on the US government’s move to increase defence spending, despite the fact that the Pentagon is responsible for about 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

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Speaking to journalists after a press conference held by Pelosi to introduce the US congressional delegation, Ocasio-Cortez said that there is an “absolute and utter crisis” of missing and murdered indigenous women in the US.

She said: “Those missing and murdered and women often times disappeared near fossil fuel extraction sites, and so its very important for us to very confidently identify where the climate crisis and fossil fuel extraction intersect with gender violence and sexual assault.

“So I think that there’s a path forward that is a US centred perspective, but similar injustices and patterns exist around the world and it’s very important that we call greater attention to that.”

It is understood that in 2019, 5590 Native American women were reported missing, but there are concerns over if this data is collected accurately.

Ocasio-Cortez also said that it is common for women and women of colour to be “sounding alarms” about “disturbing behaviours”.

She added that women are almost “whistleblowers within institutions and to not only be ignored but have very serious threats not really be addressed, that has certainly been a pattern I think for women around the world".

Ocasio-Cortez added that the same dynamic is reflected within the United State Congress.

The National:

Asked if the US had fully recovered its moral authority on climate change following the downfall of the Trump administration, Ocasio-Cortez said: “No, we have not recovered our moral authority, I believe we are making steps.

“We have to actually deliver the action in order to get the respect and authority internationally. “We have to draw down emissions to get credit internationally, it’s that simple.”

She praised President Joe Biden’s climate agenda, saying the passage of the Build Back Better Act through Congress was a matter of “when” and that when it does pass, the US will regain its position as “leading on climate emissions”.

At a later press conference, Pelosi was challenged on the US government’s move to increase defence spending, despite the Pentagon’s high carbon footprint.

Pelosi said new technologies developed by the US military would help the nation decarbonise.

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She said: “National security advisers all tell us that the climate crisis is a national security matter.

“It is a national security issue because of all of the conditions the climate crisis produces, and I won’t go into all of them, but (issues of) migration, conflict over habitat and resources, and it’s a security challenge globally.”

Pelosi said attempts by the US government to reduce the carbon footprint of its defence and its transport systems would “make the biggest difference” to overall emissions.

She said there had been a focus on developing new technology to shift the military away from a dependence on fossil fuels.