WATCH: Beto O’Rourke Kicks Off Presidential Campaign by Claiming the World is Facing ‘Catastrophe and Crisis’, Warns of ‘Massive Migration’ of Climate Refugees, and Says ‘We Have No More Than 12 Years’ Before Humanity Goes Extinct

Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke speaks to local residents during a meet and greet at the Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinkery, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Burlington, Iowa. O’Rourke announced Thursday that he’ll seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP)

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke warned Thursday in his first presidential campaign stop that parts of the planet will soon become uninhabitable, driving a massive wave of climate ‘refugees’ across the U.S. border, if America’s government doesn’t adopt emergency measures within the next 12 years.

O’Rourke, 46, had formally announced an hour earlier that he will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, ending months of speculation over whether he would try to translate his newfound political celebrity into a White House bid.

In the southwestern Iowa town of Keokuk, a sweater-clad Beto told a smallish crowd that by the time his 12-year-old son is his age ‘we may not be able to live in cities that we call home today, like El Paso, Texas. We may not be able to grow our own food and fiber, feed and clothe ourselves in this country.’

And in a silent nod to his differences with President Donald Trump on immigration issues, he downplayed the present national security threat of ever-larger seas of humanity crossing into the U.S. from Mexico and nations further to the south. It will get worse unless the planet heals, he warned.

‘If you think 300,000 immigrants and asylum-seekers apprehended on the southern border is a problem – and I don’t necessarily think that it is,’ he said, ‘the kind of migration and refugee flows that we will see when entire bands of this world are no longer habitable will be a crisis of a different magnitude altogether.’

‘We face catastrophe and crisis on this planet,’ he insisted in a dour note, ‘even if we were to stop emitting carbon today right now at this moment.’

Democrats on their party’s far left wing have proposed a ‘Green New Deal’ that would spend tens of trillions of dollars to reshape the U.S. economy along environmental lines, eliminating air travel and gasoline-powered cars and replacing countless buildings with greener versions. O’Rourke didn’t formally endorse the proposal on Thursday but said it’s the best proposal he’s heard.

‘Some will criticize the Green New Deal for being too bold or being unmanageable. I tell you what: I haven’t seen anything better that addresses this singular crisis we face, a crisis that could at its worst lead to extinction,’ he said.

‘Literally, not to be melodramatic, but the future of the world depends on us, right now, here where we are.’

He painted an apocalyptic picture of America’s future, claiming global warming will unleash ‘massive migration of tens or hundreds of millions of people from countries that are literally uninhabitable or under water, that are above the sea right now.’

‘Let us all be well aware that life is going to be a lot tougher for the generations that follow us, no matter what we do. It is only a matter of degrees,’ he said.

‘And along this current trajectory there will be people who can no longer live in the cities that they call home today. There is food grown in the country that will no longer prosper in these soils. There is going to be massive migration of tens or hundreds of millions of people from countries that are literally uninhabitable or under water, that are above the sea right now. This is our final chance. The scientists are absolutely unanimous on this, that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis.’

At the White House, President Donald Trump’s reaction was based on what he saw, not what he heard.

‘I think he’s got a lot of hand movement. I’ve never seen so much hand movement,’ he told reporters during an Oval Office photo-op.

‘I said, “Is he crazy? Or is that just the way he acts?’

On the White House’s favored TV network, the Fox News Channel, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley needled O’Rourke, reacting to the host’s question about ‘Beto’ by saying: ‘You pronounced it wrong. It’s “Robert Francis”.’

Those are O’Rourke’s given names, reflecting his Anglo ancestry.

Gidley’s given first name is John.

O’Rourke’s online campaign began Thursday with announcements emailed in English and Spanish. An interview with CBS News will air Friday morning. And he will head to Iowa for three days of hand-to-hand campaigning. But in a head-scratching political move, the liberal media darling won’t have an official launch speech until March 30.

And while his campaign website was heavy on merchandise and fundraising buttons as he announced his candidacy, there was no sign at all of policies, political positions or his video — only a photo of a sweat-dripping Beto with microphone in hand.

The much-anticipated O’Rourke rollout was marked by a clumsy lack of coordination that left his supporters looking for a launch video for an hour before his campaign organization posted it on Twitter. O’Rourke’s hometown newspaper, the El Paso Times, had it ahead of time, but no other news organization.

And he confirmed his plans in a text message to an El Paso television station Wednesday night, leaving reporters across the country wondering whether they had missed the big reveal.

Thursday’s video features an up-and-down bobbing O’Rourke speaking as his wife Amy holds his arm and smiles. Tapping into the marquee issue that defines border zones like his native El Paso, Texas, he declares that ‘if immigration is a problem, it’s the best possible problem for this country to have.’

‘We should ensure that there are lawful paths to work, to be with family and to flee persecution.’

O’Rourke’s quick embrace of the Democratic immigration policies that defined his main difference with Cruz came as Trump vented in the opposite direction on Twitter.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Daily Mail, David Martosko; The Associated Press