A Closer Look at the Green New Deal

By Judith Schumacher-Jennings

Shortly after Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal, Donald Trump tweeted:

“I think it is very important for the Democrats to press forward with their Green New Deal. It would be great for the so-called ‘Carbon Footprint’ to permanently eliminate all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military – even if no other country would do the same. Brilliant!”

The Green New Deal resolution begins:

“Whereas the October 2018 report entitled ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’ by the (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment report (mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990 signed into law by President George H.W. Bush) found that – human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century.

“A changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure.  Global warming at or above two (2) degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrialized levels will cause mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change; more than $500 billion in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year 2100.

“Wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019; a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth.  More than 350 million more people to be exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050, and a risk of damage to $1 trillion of public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the United States…”

The Green New Deal proposes:

• building resiliency against climate change-related disasters

• repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States

• meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources

• upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort and durability

• spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible

• working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible

• overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible

• removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as land preservation and reforestation

• restoring and protecting threatened, endangered and fragile ecosystems through locally appropriate and science-based projects that enhance biodiversity and support climate resiliency

• cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites, ensuring economic development and sustainability on those sites

• promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding and services, with the aim of making the United States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal

Mark Z. Jacobson is a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor and co-founder of The Solutions Project and 100.org. He said 100 percent renewable goals for energy are technically and economically possible to achieve. The major obstacles are social and political.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

A 15-year-old Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, addressed the United Nations COP24 conference in Poland last December. She said, “You say you love your children above all else.  Yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what’s politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.”

In January, she addressed conferees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She said, “At places like Davos, people like to tell success stories. But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag.”

Thunberg added, “Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around — we can still fix this. I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.”

A Few Political Reactions

A group of young people visited Senator Diane Feinstein in February asking for her support of the Green New Deal.

Feinstein told them: “You know what’s interesting about this group? I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing. You come in here, and it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that. I’ve gotten elected. I just ran. I was elected by almost a million-vote plurality. I know what I’m doing. So, maybe people should listen a little bit.” Further she pointed out that she has seven grandchildren.

2020 Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren support the Green New Deal.

Gillibrand said, “The way I see a green economy is this: I think we need a moonshot.”

Courtesy of Rossmoor News March 27, 2019.  Email Judith Schumacher-Jennings at sjmadrone@sonic.net

One thought on “A Closer Look at the Green New Deal”

  1. Thank you for this article Judith.

    The GND is becoming divisive politically — and not only from the right. Many unions (IBEW, the building trades) see it as a threat to good paying jobs. Many green jobs are low-paying, non-union jobs. Talk of a “just transition” so far has been mostly just talk.

    Some strategists advise instead to focus on the policies within the GND. In CA, we have little to gain with the GND. We could loose momentum picking fights instead of building on the gains we’ve made. There are more than 100 active environmental bills in our legislature.

    Federally, we need the carbon fee & dividend, and also to make the polluters pay for the cleaning up of superfund sites, etc. These are pieces of the GND.

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