“The Green New Deal” is a term I’ve heard and a program that I want to support based on its premise. However, if I’m being honest, I don’t know a lot about its nuts and bolts. While driving yesterday, I happened upon Senator Ed Markey talking about this program on NPR’s 1A. I found the conversation useful, as he listed a few metrics, such as increasing MPG for cars and providing permanent tax breaks on electric vehicles and alternative energy sources. (These breaks currently exist for the fossil fuel industry.) The goal is to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change while also trying to fix societal problems like economic inequality and racial injustice” (NYT).
The New York Times offers a great summary, but here are a few of the goals that the deal proposes:
- The entire world achieves net-zero emissions by 2050 — meaning as much carbon would have to be absorbed as released into the atmosphere — and the United States must take a “leading role” in achieving that metric.
- Transform 100 percent of the country’s electricity to renewable and zero-emissions power, digitize the nation’s power grid, upgrade every building in the country to be more energy-efficient and overhaul the nation’s transportation system by investing in electric vehicles and high-speed rail.
- Address economic inequality by creating jobs that would achieve the goals listed above, starting in communities that rely on fossil fuel economies, such as coal mining areas. The term “Green New Deal” is based on the New Deal of the Great Depression. This Deal launched the WPA, which brought jobs to people who needed them the most while also solving infrastructure issues for the country.
- Address food production, particularly animal ranching and its connection to global warming. To reduce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that cows and other livestock emit, the resolution proposes “working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.”
Markey implored upon people to support the Green New Deal by voting for its proponents this November. The host of 1A, Jenn White, asked him about criticism, that says the program is too expensive and therefore unfeasible. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argues that these short term costs will eventually lead to long-term savings. Meanwhile Markey responded by saying “it will be much more expensive and detrimental to ignore climate change.” – Rachel