Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., think they have a solution to the dangers that climate change poses to humanity.
On Thursday they introduced a framework defining what they call a “Green New Deal.” They foresee as a massive policy package that would remake the U.S. economy and, they hope, eliminate all U.S. carbon emissions.
The question that looms is this: Is it really possible?
“Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us,” Ocasio-Cortez told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in an interview that aired Thursday on Morning Edition.
She added: “It 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.”
So what is the “Green New Deal?”
The Green New Deal legislation laid out by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey sets goals for some drastic measures to cut carbon emissions across the economy. It will impact electricity generation to transportation to agriculture. In the process, it aims to create jobs and boost the economy.
The proposal not only aims to meet their goals in climate change, but it will also provide 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.
What are the specifics of the proposal?
The bill calls for a “10-year national mobilizations” toward accomplishing a series of goals that the resolution lays out.
Maybe the most prominent goal is that the deal calls for “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” The ultimate goal is to stop using fossil fuels entirely, Ocasio-Cortez’s office told NPR, as well as to transition away from nuclear energy.
In addition, these are some other lofty goals:
- “upgrading all existing buildings” in the country for energy efficiency;
- working with farmers “to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions … as much as is technologically feasible” (while supporting family farms and promoting “universal access to healthy food”);
- “Overhauling transportation systems” to reduce emissions — including expanding electric car manufacturing, building “charging stations everywhere,” and expanding high-speed rail to “a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary”;
- A guaranteed job “with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security” for every American;
- “High-quality health care” for all Americans.