A Bold Approach to a Big Problem: Green New Deal Raises Support and Concern in Congress
On February 7th, Representative Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey announced their Green New Deal Resolution in both the Senate and House, a move that marks a transformative period of numerous possible environmental changes in the United States. Both members of Congress have stressed that this deal, modeled after FDR’s New Deal in the 1930’s, will not only move to decrease carbon emissions but will also save the United States billions of dollars in the next decade, create millions of new jobs in the industries of clean energy, and improve racial and economic disparities through programs implemented by the federal government.
The layout of the New Green Deal follows two alarming reports released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United States National Climate Assessment Fourth Report. These new studies unearthed the disturbing reality that the world will experience stronger climate change impacts in the coming years and should continue to expect extreme weather patterns and natural disasters if drastic measures are not taken to reduce carbon emissions. Both Senator Markey and Representative Ocasio-Cortez are using their plan to change that outcome by altering the United States energy industry. Taking steps that create measured environmental change such as investing in infrastructure to meet the challenges of the current century would be paired with other positive changes such as job creation and equal opportunity initiatives.
The resolution is supported and co-sponsored by a number of powerful Senators, including Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris. It is also questioned by a number of representatives who are critical of the resolution’s substance and strategy. Representative Sam Graves (R-MO), Ranking member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, believes that the private sector is doing enough to improve clean energy standards and that many of the deal’s proposed transportation resolutions are unrealistic. In addition, many industries that have not considered a climate resiliency plan in their past priorities will now be challenged to. Though Representative Ocasio-Cortez has said herself that adopting the provisions in the resolution will be a challenge, they are necessary changes for industries and the government to make as they are meant to preserve the wellbeing of United States citizens, the economy, and the sustainability of the world.
Photo credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters