Democratic Candidates Get Behind the Green New Deal

Endorsing the Green New Deal is becoming a talisman of politics in the 2020 Presidential race on the Democratic side.  The Washington Post’s Power Post pointed out that this is a policy that almost no one had heard of last November but is now one of the key planks that appears to have nearly unilateral support.

  • Senator Kamala Harris said, “I support a Green New Deal,” during a CNN town hall in Iowa on Monday. “Climate change is an existential threat to us, and we have got to deal with the reality of it,” she added, according to The Hill.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren apparently supports the “idea” of a “Green New Deal,” based on comments by one of her Senate aides to Axios.
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said on the podcast “Pod Save America” that “the platform of it is really exciting,” despite the fact that “there’s not a lot of details yet behind the Green New Deal” and has urged the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to that the United States reach net-zero carbon emissions “by as close to 2050 as possible.”
  • Senator Cory Booker said, “We must take bold action on climate change & create a green economy that benefits all Americans. Excited to support a #GreenNewDeal,” in a tweet on December 14.
  • Representative Tulsi Gabbard also seems to support it because she introduced a bill in the last Congress requiring 100 percent of electricity to be generated from clean sources by 2035.
  • Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro said when he announced his intention to run that “We’re gonna say no to subsidizing big oil and say yes to passing a Green New Deal,” and also endorsed rejoining the Paris Climate agreement.
  • But, But, But…Michael Bloomberg said in New Hampshire on Tuesday that he wants an “achievable” Green New Deal, but also expressed skepticism saying “I’m a little bit tired of listening to things that are pie in the sky that we never are going to pass, are never going to afford.”

The real question is whether the Green New Deal is much more than just a campaign slogan.  Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunshine Movement who are leading the charge for it argue it must include that 100 percent of the nation’s electricity come from “clean” sources by 2030 and also a guarantee of a job for every American displaced by this policy in order to facilitate that transition.

Why This Matters:  The conversation is changing already.  To get beyond the slogan is the challenge.  How far are these candidates willing to go?  Will they try to outdo each other on the Green New Deal?  Will they all support the jobs plank?  And is 2030 realistic or just a pipe dream?  Time will tell. But for now, candidates will have to discuss and debate how far and how fast they believe a President can push the U.S. toward a fossil-free future. 

To Go Deeper:  For what might be in the details of a Green New Deal, we recommend this two-part series from Greentech Media.

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