Members of both houses set out non-binding legislation defining the Green New Deal.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey introduced legislation Feb. 7 they think should be the final solution to carbon emissions and climate change in the United States. The legislation is known as the Green New Deal. It is a skeletal framework that aims to eliminate carbon-emissions by redefining building construction, electric power, vehicular transportation and agriculture among others with a view to revolutionalizing how the American economy operates.
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey understand the enormity of the task ahead, and they are not deluding themselves as to its workability. However, Ocasio-Cortez said the scale of problems presented by climate change still dwarfs the potential benefits of the Green New Deal. Yet, it remains part of the larger solution and active efforts must begin somewhere, she said.
Watch Ocasio-Cortez announce the Green New Deal:
Outline of What the Deal Aims to Achieve in 10 Years
The Green New Deal aims to out carbon emissions by 100 percent, create jobs and boost the economy, and it will also insulate the poor, disabled and minority communities from the harsh realities of the transition.
As a non-binding resolution, the proposal would not create new programs. The Green New Deal suggests a “10-year national mobilization” period for achieving the goals outlined in the proposal, but environmental experts opine this period is too short to achieve anything the way it is laid out in the deal.
NPR extracted some of the main goals outlined in the Green New Deal, listed below:
- Deploying clean and renewable zero-emission energy for all power needs in the U.S.
- Remodeling all houses in the country to make them energy efficient
- Partnering with local farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse emissions
- Scrap air travel and gas vehicles and replace these with electric cars and high-speed rail
- Provide all Americans with lucrative jobs, medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security
But considering Ocasio-Cortez’s objective to achieve all these within 10 years, a postdoctoral environmental fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Jesse Jenkins, told NPR the plan might work by 2050 and even possibly by 2030. And again, the cost of implementing the plan runs into trillions of dollars. Still, the Green New Deal remains an outline with no concrete guidance on how it will be implemented.
Constituencies Can Help the Deal to Pass the House
Whether the legislation will pass in the House is uncertain as not everyone is on board. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she and others don’t know what it really means or stands for at the moment. And then, others posited that if the deal is non-binding and not going to clear the House, then what is the need of debating it at all?
“I do think that when there’s a wide spectrum of debate on an issue, that is where the public plays a role. That is where the public needs to call their member of Congress and say, ‘This is something that I care about,’ Ocasio-Cortez said. “Where I do have trust is in my colleagues’ capacity to change and evolve and be adaptable and listen to their constituents.”