GREEN NEW DEAL

The Green New Deal is a non-binding resolution that proposes a path to a total clean energy transition. The resolution, proposed by House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey in February, 2019, is informed by two reports published in 2018 by the UN and federal scientists warning of the dire consequences of global temperature rise. While this was not exactly new, backing from Representative Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement catapulted this ambitious solution to climate change into the political spotlight.

The GND is a non-binding resolution, so it would not become law even if approved. Rather, the goals outlined in the document are designed to be achieved over the course of a 10-year national mobilization.  These 14 goals commit the U.S. to funding local climate solutions, achieving 100% renewable energy, updating infrastructure and transit, installing smart power grids, shifting to clean manufacturing and industry, supporting family farming, sustainable agriculture, and sustainable food systems, as well as generating soil carbon storage through ecosystem preservation and afforestation.

Like the social programs of Roosevelt’s wartime New Deal, which was in equal parts ambitious and successful, the Green New Deal places a priority on public programs and worker protection, especially healthcare, labor laws, environmental protections and education. However, it also takes a step further in hopes of addressing what it calls “systemic injustices” to “frontline and vulnerable communities.”  This calls for involving those most impacted by climate change — indigenous people, communities of color, and rural former-industrial states — in developing local solutions and shaping the mobilization effort.

The resolution faced, and continues to face, a mixed reception, with overwhelming support from progressive Democrats, overwhelming rejection by the Republican Party (including a misinformation campaign), and caution from centrist Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. However, whether or not the Green New Deal moves forward into law, it certainly created a progressive national conversation on climate change.

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