The Green New Deal Is What Everyone In Politics Is Talking About. Here’s What It’s All About
First, let’s start with the science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report in December 2018 that revealed that humanity has just under 12 years to redirect the carbon-emitting ship to avoid irrevocable impacts on literally life as we know it. The planet will get hotter, wildfires will dramatically worsen; storms like Hurricane Maria and Michael will become the new norm; our government will spend billions on natural disaster relief. There will be no turning back.
Climate change may not be an urgent issue for senior citizens, who will likely depart from this planet without experiencing the tragedies passed onto our generation. Foremost freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC, as she’s lovingly dubbed), is taking over the ship with legislation called “The Green New Deal.” Here’s what you need to know about the policies she is proposing.
While Ocasio-Cortez ran on climate change issues, she stepped up to the job well before she started getting paid for it.
After Democrats reclaimed the House majority, 200 activists from “Sunrise Movement” took the opportunity to make an early bid on the 2020 Democratic agenda. Ocasio-Cortez was here for it and told the activists that she was “proud of every single one of you.”
The protest outside Nancy Pelosi’s office was a risky political move for Ocasio-Cortez.
Pelosi the Speaker of the House again, and the youth activists wanted to ensure that Democrats had a plan to combat climate change. Climate change action has not been a top priority for establishment Democrats and members like Ocasio-Cortez hope to change that.
Ocasio-Cortez proposed the boldest yet select committee to combat carbon emissions.
One of the most obvious components of her proposal is to elect members who receive zero dollars from the fossil fuel industry. It makes sense because oil companies have been fighting policies that would reverse climate change because it would impede their businesses.
Folks thought it would take Ocasio-Cortez a full year to gain support for the committee, but she got it within weeks.
Backed by youth-led organizations, Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats, constituents were excited at the prospect of a serious committee devoted to the Green New Deal change. Pelosi gave everyone the cold shoulder by essentially reorganizing the 2007-2011 “Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.”
Pelosi’s committee has not committed to rejecting donation dollars from fossil fuel companies and lobbyists.
Ocasio-Cortez’s response to Pelosi’s clear rebuke was this: “Our ultimate end goal isn’t a Select Committee. Our goal is to treat Climate Change like the serious, existential threat it is by drafting an ambitious solution on the scale necessary – aka a Green New Deal – to get it done. A weak committee misses the point & endangers people.”
It’s not enough. El gente want the Green New Deal and they want it now.
We’re all talking about it, including every single big name in politics, from Cory Booker to Al Gore.
Let’s deep dive into the history, expectations, and setbacks we’ve seen thus far in the Green New Deal.
The title is reminiscent of President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” of the 1930s.
Latent in the mere history of the name, we can reimagine a future of thousands of federal jobs built off the renewable energy industry, much like Americans during the Great Depression benefitted from the jobs that Roosevelt created by this sweeping social and economic reform bill.
This addresses the climate crisis, yes, while also seeking to create jobs and eradicate poverty.
Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the first to coin this term.
The term “Green New Deal” has been around for decades, with Green Party elites like Jill Stein and Democratic progressives like Bernie Sanders using the term to reference an ideology. Ocasio-Cortez is the one with the power to make it real.
Embedded in the Green New Deal is a reinstitution of 70 percent marginal, progressive tax rates to help pay for the transition to a renewable economy.
Of course, FOX News and conservative think tanks have called this “radical.” In reality, there is a long history of high marginal tax rates on the super wealthy in the U.S.
Basically, the multi-millionaires and billionaires can keep their first $10 million, and be taxed 70 percent on the rest.
If we look further back in history, President Eisenhower taxed individuals who were making $200,000 or more 91 percent. The GOP has been slashing tax cuts for the wealthy ever since and decrying the existence of public services like welfare or food stamps.
We agree that if someone can have a private Uber helipad, that mothers working 80 hours a week should be able to feed her kids. Those two scenarios can exist in the same city.
So how does it work?
Ocasio-Cortez has already written a proposed scope for the GND, and she’s actually published the link to her Google Doc. I love millennials.
The Green New Deal must plan to 100 percent decarbonize the federal economy.
Ocasio-Cortez is calling for 100 percent renewable electricity powering our government within ten years. That’s not a ban on fossil fuels; its divestment of the American federal government from the fossil fuel industry, which is tanking our hopes of a long, sustainable future.
It’s a big ask, and while it seems unlikely given the current political atmosphere of climate change deniers leading the country, it’s a goal worth aspiring to.
There must be federal jobs guaranteed.
Overhauling government buildings to become zero-carbon edifices (buildings produce 40 percent of US carbon emissions) alone is going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Where will the money go? To jobs for the lower and middle class. Construction; engineering; policy experts will all be bolstered by this undertaking.
Unlike the original New Deal, the Green New Deal must be equitable and just for all.
There must be protections for those hardest hit by a shift in economy standards. Ocasio-Cortez’s own document references “low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, [and] the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution, and other environmental harm.”
That means environmental justice for those in Flint, Puerto Rico, and so many other communities disproportionately impacted by environmental injustices.
Just last week, a letter signed by 626 organizations in support of the Green New Deal was sent to Congress members.
Look, it’s not like we’re pioneers here. Countries like Finland (think: cold, lots of heating) already produce two-thirds of their electricity from renewable sources. Si se puede.
One poll shows that 82 percent of Americans have heard “nothing at all” about the Green New Deal.
The poll was administered online to 966 registered voters who were not given any information about partisan support. The polling came from Data for Progress between Nov. 28 – Dec 11.
The same bipartisan poll found that the Green New Deal has 81 percent of the public’s support.
It had 92 percent support from Democrats and 64 percent support from Republicans and 88 percent support from Independents. Yale experts are continuing the narrative from a bipartisan perspective to avoid divisive polarity over an issue that most Americans agree on (once explained to them).
“We’re going to need sustained mass protest, extended labor shutdowns, and general strikes to begin as soon as possible after Election Day 2020.”
Here’s the thing. We’re all for this, but when this legislation is passed to the Senate, it’ll head up against the energy and Natural Resources Committee run by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. He shot down a climate bill that did next to nothing compared to the Green New Deal.
Then it would have to be signed by President Trump.
Inevitably, we won’t see this bill reach the oval office until at least January 2021. All eyes will be on the 2020 election as we move closer and closer to an irreverible climate catastrophe.
With the Pentagon just declaring climate change as a national crisis, we’re hopping on the Ocasio-Cortez Green New Deal train.
She may be our only saving grace. Call your Reps and let them know what you think about the proposed Green New Deal.
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