WASHINGTON – Freshman Democrat New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has teamed up with veteran Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts to introduce a ‘Green New Deal’ for the U.S. economy. The concept is to transform our economy by creating thousands of jobs in renewable energies while combating climate change.
The draft calls for a goal to meet all power demands in the nation through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources by 2030, including a dramatic increase in wind and solar power generation.
This proposal goes beyond President Obama’s Clean Power Plan which was scrapped by President Trump. Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) welcomed “the enthusiasm” of people calling for support of the concept, yet did not offer her support for the proposal she has not seen.
A fact sheet distributed about the plan describes a “10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War 2 to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all.”
Drilling down into the document shows an effort to “build on FDR’s second bill of rights by guaranteeing” a job with a family-sustaining wage and benefits, education benefits, clean air and water, healthy food, high quality health care, housing, an economy free of monopolies and “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”
It also calls for a 40-60% reduction in global emissions in the next 11 years.
“We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero,” the fact sheet reads.
The plan does not include creating new nuclear plants and states a desire to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years. There’s also no call for a carbon tax, but states “a carbon tax would be a tiny part of
a Green New Deal in the face of the gigantic expansion of our productive economy..” Cap and trade of carbon credits is also listed as a “tiny part.”
The document states “nearly every major Democratic Presidential contender” says they back the plan.
So far the staff and campaigns of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), Sen Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) have confirmed they are co-sponsors. Ocasio-Cortez staff estimates 60 co-sponsors will come forward in the House of Representatives.
Getting this plan out of the House will be a challenge. Having the Republican-controlled Senate approve is likely not possible.
Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn released the following statement about the resolution:
“Today we got our chance to see the Green New Deal. Speaker Pelosi calls it a ‘green dream’ but it is actually a nightmare. This nonbinding resolution makes grandiose socialistic promises of jobs for everyone, free college, and prosperity while calling for policies that we know will bankrupt our economy, destroy jobs, and destabilize the nation. It’s an irresponsible proposal that no serious person can support.”
Other key points include, but are not limited to:
- Repair and upgrade U.S. infrastructure. ASCE estimates this is $4.6 trillion at minimum.
- Meet 100% of power demand through clean and renewable energy sources
- Upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency
- Work with farmers and ranchers to create a sustainable, pollution and greenhouse gas free, food system that ensures universal access to healthy food and expands independent family farming
- Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle
- Identify new emission sources and create solutions to eliminate those emissions
So what is the plan to pay for these audacious goals? That’s not entirely clear.
“The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit. There is also space for the government to take an equity stake in projects to get a return on investment,” the document reads.
The document finishes with 15 requirements to reach social and economic justice and security.