On Thursday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, alongside Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, will introduce a resolution outlining the goals of the Green New Deal, a policy package that aims to reform the U.S. economy and fight against climate change.
Ocasio-Cortez told NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Thursday that the solutions that have so far been put forth to address climate change have yet to match the scale of the problem that climate change presents.
“It could be part of a larger solution, but no one has actually scoped out what that larger solution would entail,” she said. “And so that’s really what we’re trying to accomplish with the Green New Deal.”
Let’s take a look at all the details of the Green New Deal and what it’s meant to do.
First of all: What is the Green New Deal?
Essentially, it’s an ambitious piece of legislation that sets goals to cut carbon emissions across the economy in industries from transportation to agriculture. And in doing so, it also hopes to create more jobs and boost the economy.
The Green New Deal isn’t new: The idea has been discussed for years, and the term dates back as far as 2003. However, Ocasio-Cortez helped draw national attention to it after she was elected and became an outspoken advocate, joining Green New Deal exponents who protested outside of Nancy Pelosi’s office a few months ago. Thursday’s outline is the closest we’ve come to an “official” version of the Green New Deal so far.
What exactly is it meant to do?
According to the outline, which was obtained by NPR, some of its goals include a shift to 100 percent renewable and zero-emission energy sources, with a ten-year “economic mobilization” to phase out fossil fuels and transition away from nuclear energy.
The Green New Deal isn’t just about climate change; it also aims to help eliminate poverty by creating millions of new jobs.
According to documents from Ocasio-Cortez’s office, it also calls for jobs “with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security” for every American. It also calls for high-quality health care for everyone in the U.S.
Who supports it?
The Green New Deal has received support from several 2020 presidential hopefuls, including Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker. According to the Washington Post, Gillibrand, Harris, Booker, and Elizabeth Warren will also co-sponsor the plan, and 9 senators and 60 House members are on board.
However, as NPR noted, it’s unclear if House leadership will adopt the plan.
Speaking to Politico on Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi called the Green New Deal “one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive. The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”
Last year, hundreds of young activists staged a sit-in at Pelosi’s office to advocate for the Green New Deal. After 61 protestors were arrested, she granted them a meeting, and her spokesman told Vice News that “addressing climate change remains a top priority for Speaker-designate Pelosi.”
The Washington Post reports that on Thursday, Pelosi said she welcomes the “enthusiasm” about the Deal, but did not say that she would endorse it.
Where does it go from here?
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey are set to discuss the Green New Deal at a news conference on Thursday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. EST.
Beyond that, the legislation is still in its early stages, though it will likely be a topic of debate in both the 2020 congressional elections and the presidential election.
“I do think that when there’s a wide spectrum of debate on an issue, that is where the public plays a role,” Ocasio-Cortez told NPR. “That is where the public needs to call their member of Congress and say, ‘This is something that I care about.’ Where I do have trust is in my colleagues’ capacity to change and evolve and be adaptable and listen to their constituents.”