The new Democratic majority in the U.S. House is remaining ambitious — as exemplified this week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), who this Thursday is unveiling an “official” Green New Deal. The concept that’s been batted around among Democratic and progressive circles in recent weeks and months is now in the form of a resolution with five goals and a number of stated projects to support those goals.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is introducing the Senate version of Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution, with the support of four already declared 2020 presidential contenders, including Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.). Vermont’s independent Senator Bernie Sanders was also on board.
The massive undertaking includes provisions for addressing environmental and economic aspects of climate change, calling for government investment in renewable energy. The goals include achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, creating millions of “good, high wage jobs and ensure economic prosperity and security for all people of the United States,” investing in the “infrastructure and industry of the United States,” securing a healthy environment “for all people of the United States for generations to come,” and promoting “justice and equity by stopping… oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities,” and so on, which the resolution describes collectively as “frontline and vulnerable communities” — none of which are themselves responsible for the bulk of climate change, despite them bearing the brunt of its effects in the U.S. and around the world.
‘Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us to our country, to the world.’
Although President Donald Trump has previously suggested America is already doing enough to combat climate change and doesn’t need to be put further out by agreements like the Paris climate accord, Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution notes that the United States was alone responsible for 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions through 2014.
Ocasio-Cortez has previously pushed for a “Green New Deal,” even joining a protest at the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to push the proposal. Democratic leaders dismissed at least one significant component of what she’d been pushing for — namely, a full committee to address climate change issues — but the party has forged ahead with efforts to address climate change anyway.
On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce committees held hearings on climate change for the first time in a whopping 9 and 6 years respectively, with the previous Republican majority having sought to tamper discussion of the issue down.
Even now, as climate change-related issues only get worse, Republicans keep digging into their positions. Late last year, President Trump himself dismissed a massive undertaking involving 13 federal agencies and more than 300 leading climate scientists that outlined the looming catastrophic economic — and humanitarian — impacts of continued climate change. When pressed, he offered simply:
‘I don’t believe it.’
He has also repeatedly mocked the concept of climate change in light of winter storms that have rocked the United States, laughing off a very real, ever-approaching reality.
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