Recently, American politician and activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed a ‘Green New Deal’ to combat climate change, but instituted many changes in American life. Ocasio-Cortez hopes to eliminate the usage of greenhouse gases all together, but also stated to the National Public Radio that her proposal “…could be part of a larger solution, but no one has actually scoped out what that larger solution would entail. And so that’s really what we’re trying to accomplish with the Green New Deal.” While the world has been in search for a program to slow down global warming, this proposal has many worrying about drastic changes to American society.
For example, CNN reported that one motion stated that the proposition calls for “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” This would mean that “Renewables — including hydroelectric, wind, biomass, solar and geothermal” which “currently account for about 20% of US energy production” would have to be boosted to 100%, eliminating natural gas at 32%. This means a major shift in US energy. There will then be no more burning of coal or use of nuclear energy in the US. In order to achieve this, Ocasio-Cortez continues to tell CNN that stressing a need for “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.” However, the cost of doing so is unknown. The only estimate available is in regards to the large – scale building upgrades attempted in 2009 which, according to CNN, put “$4.5 billion toward retrofitting federal buildings and $3 billion toward retrofitting public housing projects.” This is one of the reasons that house Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been publicly skeptical about the ‘Green New Deal’. The Washington Times reported that Pelosi responded to it by stating, “The Green New Deal, some of the elements of that may be part of — it certainly will be a part of the discussion.” This means that certain elements of the ‘Green New Deal’ will be brought up in Congress, but the proposal in its entirety is seen as unlikely to pass through Congress.
Another major change CNN stated, is that the proposal suggests using public transportation and “zero-emission vehicle infrastructure.” Simple acts such as this can help dramatically decrease carbon emissions. However, according to the American Public Transportation Association, “45% of Americans have no access to public transportation.” The National Public Radio reported that because of this, Ocasio-Cortez aims to “[pay] special attention to groups like the poor, disabled and minority communities that might be disproportionately affected by massive economic transitions like those the Green New Deal calls for.”
According to CNN, conservative Republicans are likely to fight this proposal vehemently, many democrats are largely in favor of it. Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, and Amy Klobuchar, who are all running for President in 2020, are in favor of this resolution. So many people are in support of the proposal because they agree with Ocasio-Cortez who says that “small incremental policy solutions are not enough.”
The ‘Green New Deal’ is a new direction of transition for society aiming in just ten years not only address climate change, but also supply universal access to clean water, higher education for all Americans, affordable housing for all Americans, jobs with benefits for all Americans, and Universal healthcare. Ramapo alum Lauren Miller, who is studying politics in college, responded on this issue by saying “The Green New Deal is a comprehensive plan for a sustainable future. It’s generating discussion and really making people think about how detrimental our current lifestyle is to the environment. It gives me hope to know that someone is actually advocating for young people in congress.” This resolution contains a very forward – looking outlook on the future, we will see if the world is ready for such a progressive stance.
By: By Eden Osiason, Assistant Editor
Featured Image: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking about the ‘Green New Deal.’ (Photo from Oilprice.com and CNN)