The Green New Deal: ‘Green Dream’ or the American Future?
By admin February 12, 2019

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Last week, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey introduced the bill “Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal (GND).” This bill calls for a ten-year mobilization plan that will eventually allow the United States to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by making aggressive moves toward cleaner forms of energy. Furthermore, the infrastructure program included in the initiative will likely generate millions of green jobs, as well as guaranteeing health care, an adequate living wage, and retirement security to all Americans. However, in its current form, the motion will not be brought to the floor for a vote. In fact, it has garnered a number of critics, including those in favor of more stringent energy laws, who claim that it represents an unrealistic goal and is therefore not likely to get bipartisan support. Forbes energy reporter, Robert Rapier, has even called out the dangers of disillusionment that comes with setting unrealistic goals in congress, arguing that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s belief that 100% renewable energy is achievable in the next ten years shows a lack of understanding of the nature of US energy systems.

Alternatively, the idea that the GND paints a picture of an ambitious future can be understood as an attribute to its potential for success.  Since the resolution is nonbinding, it can be argued that the bill sets out a policy framework rather than a set of stringent guidelines. It also forms the first stage of a powerful new political rhetoric for the Democrats, as a 2020 campaign centered on more liberalized environmental and economic policies will likely draw support from millennial Americans, who have often been described as the ‘Green Generation.’ The GND has also had early support from around 60 House and Senate Democrats, including Senator Kamala Harris who has declared that America has too long “been governed by lawmakers who are beholden to Big Oil and Big Coal,” stressing the importance of speaking truth “rooted in science fact, not science fiction.” This suggests that, at the very least, the bill may be able to begin counteracting the anti-climate change sentiments that have been central to political discourse in the recent times.

However, GND aside, it is undeniable that important policy changes have recently been put into motion with regards to climate action in the US. This has come in the form of increased dedication to wind and solar power, with a number of states pledging that 50 percent of their electric utilities’ power will come from renewable sources by 2030. Legislators in Hawaii and California have set even more ambitious deadlines, pledging 100 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2045. In addition to this, nine Eastern states, as well as the District of Columbia, announced their intent to price emissions from transportation fuels in December 2018, with the aim of investing the revenue into lower carbon solutions, as transportation accounts for one-third of America’s carbon dioxide emissions. Finally, in September 2018, a coalition of states, cities and businesses created an initiative known as America’s Pledge, that will see policies remaining aligned with those initially detailed in the Paris Agreement. If these are followed through, the US will be almost two-thirds of the way toward its commitment under the accord.

Therefore, although the passing of the GND is an unlikely reality in the near future, the American people are not turning a blind eye to the effects of climate change and are even taking their own steps to mitigate them. From policy changes at the state level, to simple corporate social responsibility initiatives within the private sector, renewable energy and decarbonization are being discussed, and because of that, the journey to achieving the ‘green dream’ of net-zero carbon emissions in the US is beginning.


For More Information:

A ‘Green New Deal’ Is Far From Reality, but Climate Action Is Picking Up in the States

America’s Pledge: Executive Summary

Liberal Democrats Formally Call for a ‘Green New Deal,’ Giving Substance to a Rallying Cry

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Green New Deal Outline

Robert Rapier on the GND

Thanks for sharing !

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