The Green New Deal – What it is and why we need it Now

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY, 14th District) speaking about the Green New Deal alongside Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and others in front of the Capitol Building on February 7, 2019. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Freshman Congresswoman Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY, 14th District) speaking about the Green New Deal alongside Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and others in front of the Capitol Building on February 7, 2019. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

“Today we embark on a comprehensive agenda of economic, social and racial justice in the United States of America,” stated Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY, 14th District).

The Green New Deal (GND), introduced in February, is a bold new resolution presenting goals and guiding principles to address economic inequality, environmental injustice,
and climate change.

“Climate change and our environmental challenges are one of the biggest existential threats to our way of life, not just as a nation, but as a world.”
-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The GND is modeled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which brought economic stability and needed social and infrastructure development to the U.S. following the Great Depression in the 1930s. The GND unequivocally establishes climate change and economic issues as crises of immediate urgency and presents five primary goals that can address both (see box at right). While not a bill in itself, the GND proposes investment in our collective future by actively moving America to 100 percent clean, renewable energy while creating jobs and fostering environmental justice. Individual bills outlining projects to achieve these goals would come later from this initial framework.

The plan has been called a “progressive manifesto” and is essentially a call for an ecological revolution via innovative financing and a massive shift away from fossil fuels. Ambitious? Yes. A pipe dream? Maybe. Anything less, however, would fail to protect current and future generations from catastrophic climate consequences —arguably far more concerning than any industry or economist complaints about how disruptive to the status quo or how expensive this dramatic shift would be.

Climate science states we have only until 2025 to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Doing so requires bold, aggressive action. There is no time to
waste. The Republican controlled Senate, however, is expected to block the vote on the resolution.

The Green New Deal – Five Goals

1. ACHIEVE NET-ZERO GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.

2. CREATE MILLIONS OF HIGH-WAGE GOOD JOBS AND ENSURE PROSPERITY AND ECONOMIC SECURITY for all the people of the United States.

3. INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND INDUSTRY of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century.

4. SECURE A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL with clean air and water, climate and community resilience, health food and access to nature.

5. PROMOTE JUSTICE AND EQUITY by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities.