Just Listen For A Second: The Green New Deal
The Green New Deal’s primary focus is on converting the current fossil fuel economy to one based completely on renewable energy. The Green New Deal also intends to bring unemployment to zero percent and invest in U.S. infrastructure and public transportation. It was introduced by freshman representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
April 20, 2019
The price to be proactive
Most people aren’t opposed to helping the environment—at least they aren’t opposed to the idea of it. But when it comes to taking action—passing laws, transforming infrastructure, or transitioning to renewable energy—people are more reluctant to combat climate change. This is especially true when possible solutions to climate change, like the newly-proposed Green New Deal (GND), have a high price tag.
However, money will have to be spent as a result of climate change with or without the GND. If allowed to progress and become more disastrous, climate change will wreak havoc on our communities through rising sea levels and more frequent and extreme weather phenomenons.
The United States can either choose to pay to react to the effects of climate change by repairing cities after natural disasters and aiding those with air pollution-related health problems—or we can be proactive. The GND may come with a high price tag, but by investing in our planet’s health, we can stop these natural disasters from happening altogether, eliminating future repair costs.
Despite the initial cost of the GND, numerous clean-energy jobs—including upgrading public buildings, developing green technology, and maintaining clean-energy facilities—will be created as a result. And the United States would lead the rest of the world in a “green” transition, making the U.S.’s technology a major export when helping other countries transition.
But the GND does not only combat climate change. It also implements social reform to ensure that the transition to 100 percent renewable energy is moral, guaranteeing that industrial communities that have historically relied on carbon industries are not left in the dust.
Although, it can be argued that while these aspects of social reform have merit, they are too ambitious to implement along with the climate reforms of the GND. But in order for this complete transformation of our infrastructure and industries to take place, it is essential that we help out those who will be affected most. These social reforms are the only way to make the transition fair. Therefore, it is necessary that all aspects of the GND are enforced at the same time.
The GND is the best, most comprehensive solution—and the only solution that follows the guidelines set by climate scientists—that has emerged in a long time to combat climate change. And we simply cannot waste time waiting for something else to come along when the fate of the Earth is on the line.
A great new fantasy
One hundred percent clean energy? No greenhouse gases? All electric cars? Unemployment at zero percent? You want it, the Green New Deal (GND) has it.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), a freshman representative from New York who pioneered the plan, is making waves in Washington as she and other prominent Democrats push the agenda outlined in the deal.
The GND sounds fantastic in principle; it would seem to fix all of America’s problems with one simple piece of legislation. But while its fix-all approach seems to be the GND’s greatest strength, in reality it is its downfall.
The problem comes largely from trying to tackle many problems at once. Legislation that large is simply too difficult to pass and too difficult to implement.
A piece of legislation detailing a sufficient plan to combat climate change is controversial enough. Supporters of such a bill would have to fight tooth and nail to get actual climate change reform passed.
Don’t get me wrong, we need actual climate change reform to happen, and we need it soon.
However, when put in the same bill as universal employment (another thing the GND promises) it becomes just one of several near-impossible plans to pass.
As Rich Powell, an executive from Clear Path, a group that encourages conservative climate change reform, says, “The Green New Deal is not an ideal name if you want to attract bipartisan support; there’s a lot of distrust of these home-run giga-packages. It’s been a lot more effective to try to hit some singles and doubles.”
AOC and the other Democrats in support of the GND need to take a step back and ask themselves what is possible, and realistic to pass. We need to pass legislation attacking each problem with complete focus, laying out detailed and functional plans for how to deal with the issues America is facing today.
We don’t need to have Democrats trying to force a miracle plan down the throats of Republicans and even moderate Democrats. So although the plan is great for gathering easy support from liberal voters, it shouldn’t be our focus right now.
Let me clarify: I like and agree with much of the policy within the GND and the energy that AOC has brought to Congress surrounding it, and the conversations surrounding climate change that it has inspired have been great. But that energy needs to be redirected to legislation that can be passed in a bipartisan fashion and truly help solve the problems faced by Americans today.