Why we need a Green New Deal
No doubt you’ve heard about the climate action plan called the Green New Deal, a proposal that has a catchy name but has been short on specifics. No matter: You’re going to be hearing a lot more about it in the months to come. And it’s not a moment too soon.
The Sunrise Movement, which led simultaneous sit-ins in Congress in November, including one at the office of incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is leading the way to establish a radical, forward-thinking action plan to save the world from the growing threat of climate change. More than anything else, the group is demanding that lawmakers take action.
The exact details of a Green New Deal are still in development. A lot of ideas, written in legislative language, are available as a draft proposal at the website of incoming New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has become a driving force behind the plan. Generally, the evolving plan could very well include these still-speculative details as described in an article from the Sierra Club magazine:
A rapid break from fossil fuels.
A country fully powered by renewable energy in 10 years’ time.
A nationwide energy-efficient smart grid, powered by clean energy start-ups that will provide good-paying jobs.
Massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases.
Diversification of local and regional economies, with a particular focus on communities such as coal mining areas where fossil fuel industries control the labor market.
Even more encompassing are ideas that make the Green New Deal a jobs bill: “Ocasio-Cortez also proposes providing all Americans with the opportunity, training, and education to be a full and equal participant in the country’s clean energy transition; universal health care programs that would help green energy start-ups get off the ground; and a jobs guarantee program that would assure a living-wage job to every person who wants one,” says the Sierra Club story.
All of these are ambitious, far-reaching goals. They are being called unrealistic and overreaching, and there’s nothing saying these ideas will turn into actual legislation, much less be signed into law. There are the usual Republican skeptics demanding, “Who’s going to pay for this?”
But if you don’t try, nothing happens. You’ve got to start somewhere. The planet isn’t giving us any choice.