Thursday, February 7, 2019

Green New Deal proposes sweeping environmental change

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2019 at 3:52 PM

click to enlarge Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, co-author of the Green New Deal, and target for anti-socialist rhetoric. - FACEBOOK
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  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, co-author of the Green New Deal, and target for anti-socialist rhetoric.
A bill rolled out in the U.S. House Thursday, Feb. 7, aims to make the U.S. net-zero, emissions wise, by 2050.

Dubbed the “Green New Deal,” the legislation backed by New York freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey proposes an overhaul of the nation’s infrastructure, energy and transportation sectors. Both lawmakers are Democrats.

The bill echoes some of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ priorities laid out in his January State of the State address, and was released the same date that Democratic Senate hopeful Mike Johnston of Denver announced his own green energy proposal.

Polis in January reiterated a campaign pledge to make the state’s energy supply totally renewable by 2040: “That means modernizing both our grid infrastructure and our regulatory processes to ensure all Coloradans are reaping the full suite of benefits associated with swift adoption of renewable energy,” the governor said. “It means working to electrify our cars and busses and trucks ... And it means taking advantage of modern technology to use energy more efficiently — cleaning our air and saving consumers money in the process.”

The federal legislation taps similar goals, although it offers more concepts than details. Among the Green New Deal’s goals:

• To achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions “through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.”

• To create “millions of good, high-paying jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security” for all Americans.

• To invest in infrastructure and industry

• To promote justice and equity “by stopping current, preventing future and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustralized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities and youth” — all so-called “frontline and vulnerable communities.” 

It proposes doing so through a massive infrastructure reconstruction effort reminiscent, the bill’s authors said, of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s iconic “The New Deal,” which stabilized a Great Depression economy through jobs and infrastructure construction.

Included in the Green New Deal’s vision:

• Meeting 100 percent of the nation’s power demands through renewable, green energy.

• Building efficient power grids.

• Upgrading the nation’s existing buildings to maximize efficiency.

• Embracing ecologically sound manufacturing processes.

• Encouraging reinvestment and support for family and sustainable farming.

• Overhauling the transportation network to include zero-emission cars and boost high-speed rail.

“Today is a really big day for our economy, the labor movement, the social justice movement, indigenous peoples and people all over the United States of America,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a Thursday press conference. “Today is the day we truly embark on a comprehensive agenda of economic, social and racial justice in the United State of America.”

The proposal offers more breadth than details, and the price tag for the massive overhaul was not immediately known.

Adding to its uphill battle, the response from leaders on both sides of the aisle has been tepid. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during her Thursday press conference, said “We welcome the enthusiasm that is out there ... The Green New Deal points out the fact that the public is much more aware of the challenge that we face, and that is a good thing.”

But John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican and chair of the Senate Republican Conference, derided the plan: “It’s a socialist manifesto that lays out a laundry list of government giveaways, including guaranteed food, housing, college and economic security even for those who refuse to work,” he said in a statement. “As Democrats take a hard left turn, this radical proposal would take our growing economy off the cliff and our nation into bankruptcy. It’s the first step down a dark path to socialism.”

Read the proposal's full text below:

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