Democrats Reveal “Green New Deal” Resolution

Democrats have put forth the Green New Deal as a plan to fight climate change and overhaul the U.S. economy in ten years. (Pixabay)

Democrats have put forth the Green New Deal as a plan to fight climate change and overhaul the U.S. economy in ten years. (Pixabay)

Congressional freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) unveiled a 14-page resolution for the Green New Deal on February 7. The plan proposes to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States while creating millions of jobs through a “10-year national mobilization.”  

"The green generation has risen up, and they are saying they want this issue solved," emphasized Markey. "So this is going to enter the 2020 election cycle as one of the top two or three issues."

The resolution is co-sponsored by 11 senators and 67 representatives, including 2020 Democratic presidential contenders Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). It addresses a recent report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which argued that global temperatures must be maintained no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in order to strengthen “the global response to the threat of climate change.”

The resolution links warnings from the IPCC report to ongoing issues such as adequate education and healthcare, which are “inaccessible to a significant proportion of the United States population.” It aims to meet 100 percent of American power demands through “renewable and zero-emission energy sources,” including nuclear power and fossil fuel plants with carbon capture systems.

The name Green New Deal alludes to the economic New Deal of the 1930s—a series of federal reforms implemented by President Franklin Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The name gained traction after it was coined in Thomas Friedman’s New York Times op-ed published in 2007.

On the same day that Markey and Oscasio-Cortez unveiled the plan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appointed nine Democrats to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Ocasio-Cortez, who is not on the roster, participated in a November protest in Pelosi’s office where she “urged Democrats to act more decisively on climate change.”

Cornell Law School professor Robert Hockett, who advises Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, stressed that a large-scale plan would be more cost-effective than piecemeal initiatives. “When you are fighting for your very survival, you do not pinch pennies.”

The non-binding resolution has been criticized for its inability to win the broad support required to effectively cut emissions. Pelosi referred to the House version of the resolution as a “green dream.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate will soon vote on the resolution. McConnell’s move serves to force Democratic Senators—including several presidential candidates—into a political bind.