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This past February the announcement of the Green New Deal (GND) resolution sent reverberations throughout Capitol Hill as well as the nation. Suddenly, climate change became a major component of our political discourse and everyone had an opinion on the GND–ranging from ‘very necessary’ to ‘communist propaganda.’ In many ways, the Green New Deal helped shape the climate change plans that would be released by Democratic presidential candidates, which meant that FINALLY candidates had committed to talking about climate solutions.
You can read our original coverage of the GND as well as ways the resolution was expanded upon–in the case of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recently-released Blue New Deal. Either way, we’re grateful to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey for getting the conversation started and putting forth this idea that dares us to dream big again.
Why This Matters: After its release, religious communities, as well as some unions, came out in favor of a bold plan to address economic inequality while fighting climate change. It showed that climate action can be a unifying political cause, which will be important for us to expand upon in 2020.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) announced the release of a highly anticipated resolution outlining the ideas behind a Green New Deal. Senator Markey opened the presser by saying that “when we talk about a Green New Deal we are talking about jobs and justice” going on to explain that it will be “a historic 10-year mobilization that will mitigate climate emissions and build climate resiliency, we have acted on this scale before and we must do it again.” AOC added that “today is a big day for people who have been left behind.”
As Vox explained, “The resolution consists of a preamble, five goals, 14 projects, and 15 requirements. The preamble establishes that there are two crises, a climate crisis and an economic crisis of wage stagnation and growing inequality, and that the GND can address both.” The goals of the GND include achieving net-zero GHG emissions, a federal jobs creation program, upgrading infrastructure, ensuring that Americans live in healthy and equitable environments, and promoting justice by “preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers,women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.” By focusing on justice and investment in American people and systems to achieve a low-carbon economy, the Green New Deal identifies what makes America truly great: our people and our ingenuity.
Additionally, while there was some media buzz that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s threw “shade” at the GND after she told Politico that “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?” will be “one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive.” However, Ocasio-Cortez quickly responded to the Speaker’s comments to say that “No, I think it is a green dream. I don’t consider to be that a dismissive term. Nancy Pelosi is a leader on climate, has always been a leader on climate, and I will not allow our caucus to be divided up by silly notions of whatever narrative. We are in this together.”
Overall the reception of the resolution fell, as expected, on the spectrum of applause, support with questions and flat-out naysaying, which is to be expected of any major policy proposal. Lindsey Walter Senior Clean Energy Policy Advisor at Third Way told ODP in a statement that “Third Way’s initial takeaway from Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey’s resolution is positive overall regarding its climate provisions. Having a pathway to address climate change at the scale it deserves is crucial, and we support language calling for net-zero emissions and the use of all the tools at our disposal to address the climate crisis.”
Why This Matters: This resolution doesn’t give specifics of how to achieve its bold goals or pay for them but instead creates a starting point for conversation and negotiation with an incredibly diverse group of stakeholders ranging from vulnerable communities to academia and businesses. It focuses on jobs, infrastructure, and the role of government as a mechanism to help people and provide them with the tools to live safely and healthfully. Since a resolution is not a bill it’s not going to be debated in Congress but rather creates a roadmap for what a sustainable future in America looks like, for instance, the goal of “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” doesn’t pick winners or losers but clearly defines where we have to go as a nation.
Today is World Environment Day. As you read this, it is clear that globally we are at a crossroads and that the inequities we see at home are also reflected across the broader planet. The pandemic has instigated a moment to re-examine our relationship with nature and the planet’s resources.
Why This Matters: Most of the world is moving ahead on this reset they see conserving nature and economic development as consistent
The Senate Democrats’ Environmental Justice Caucus laid out in a letter on Monday their vision for the next round of economic stimulus funding and the benefits in their proposal are intended to address the inequities of the virus’ impacts on the poor and minorities.
Why This Matters: These 16 Democrats are speaking up on behalf of members of low income, rural and communities of color (known as an environmental justice or frontline communities) who are especially vulnerable to the virus and don’t have access to quality health care that could vastly improve their chances of recovery.
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