The Green New Deal resolution is here


Ben Geman, Axios

Feb 7, 2019


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have unveiled their Green New Deal resolution — a call to arms on climate and jobs that's long on ambition, but lacking in details and a political path to becoming policy.


Why it matters: It opens the next phase for a movement that has risen quickly to play an outsized role in the climate policy conversation and influence the Democratic 2020 White House contest.


The big picture: The non-binding resolution envisions a massively expanded federal role in emissions-cutting and economic intervention that takes its cues from World War II and New Deal-era programs.


·         NPR posted a copy online here...


Drill down: Some of the resolution's top-line goals include...


·         Achieving net-zero U.S. greenhouse gas emissions through a "fair and just transition for all communities and workers" while creating millions of jobs.

·         Decarbonizing all the major segments of the economy — power, manufacturing, buildings, transportation and more.

·         Huge investments in climate-friendly infrastructure.

·         Protections for indigenous people, communities of color, the poor and others under the heading of "frontline and vulnerable communities."

·         A goal of universal health care and jobs guarantees.


What to watch: Ocasio-Cortez and Markey are holding a press conference on Thursday and will unveil the list of resolution's backers, so it'll be interesting to see how many of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls currently in Congress choose to sign on.


·         Axios has already learned that co-sponsors will include Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who are both in the race. The Washington Post now reports that Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are also co-sponsors.

·         Several other candidates have broadly endorsed the concept of the Green New Deal.

·         As the Washington Post's Jeff Stein points out, the resolution's arrival means that White House hopefuls will now be asked about something more concrete.


How it works: The many broad concepts in the resolution include "meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources."


·         It calls for energy efficiency in "all existing buildings" and new buildings, too, as well as cutting emissions from transportation as much as technologically possible.

·         The intrigue: That phrasing seems to leave the door open to technologies that some activists oppose (such as fossil fuels with carbon capture and nuclear energy), but doesn't name-check any of them, though Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff has broadly said that the goal is a transition from fossil fuels.


The big question: There's no specific projected cost for what would be massive federal investments under the resolution.


·         The plan broadly calls for grants, public banks and other public financing. It also highlights federal investments in "new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries."


What they're not saying: The plan is silent on whether it would impose a carbon tax. Some Green New Deal advocates have said a tax could be part of the policy — but don't see it as a central pillar.


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The 'Green New Deal' is a monstrosity


Rick Newman, Senior Columnist, Yahoo Finance

February 7, 2019


At the tail end of a draft Congressional resolution outlining something called a Green New Deal are these small requirements: providing all Americans with high-quality health care, affordable housing, economic security and access to nature.


Sure, no problem.


The Green New Deal is the brainchild of buzzy Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old Democratic newcomer who’s getting more attention than almost anybody else on Capitol Hill right now. Along with Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, AOC, as she’s known, has authored a Congressional resolution that, if adopted, would lay out principles for remaking much of the U.S. economy in the name of environmental protection.


Don’t panic. It’s just a vision document, which wouldn’t have teeth even if it did pass. And it’s not likely to pass. Republicans oppose it en masse, and a lot of Democrats are skeptical, as well. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi derided the plan as “the green dream, or whatever they call it,” indicating that the boss isn’t impressed.


But portions of the Green New Deal could catch on, especially as Democrats look to counter President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks and other regressive actions on climate change. With an epic battle brewing in the Democratic party between leftists such as AOC and Bernie Sanders, and centrists hoping to appeal to Independent voters in 2020, the Green New Deal could become a litmus test of where various candidates stand.


So what’s in the GND? Quite a lot, and it goes far beyond environmental action. One goal is to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” in the US economy. But it also aims to “create millions of good, high-wage jobs” and “promote justice and equity” by “repairing historic oppression” of 12 categories of presumably oppressed Americans. In the military, they call this mission creep.


On environmental issues, the GND envisions a U.S. power infrastructure that is 100% fueled by renewable or zero-emission energy sources by 2030. Today, only about 37% of all U.S. electricity comes from renewables or nuclear power, which is generally considered “clean.” Fossil fuels still provide 63% of America’s power. So we’d have to make astounding progress in 10 years to reach the GND goals.


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