The Green New Deal has received a lot of attention since it was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in early 2019. But how many people have actually read it and know what’s in it?
The bill isn’t long, as bills go, but it’s dense. I’ve tried to pull out the main points below. You can read the complete text of the bill here.
President-elect Joe Biden has a lengthy description of his ambitious climate plan on his website. It’s based on the Green New Deal and contains many specific proposals. I walk you through it below.
In the interests of space and clarity, I am using an outline format with bullet points in some parts of this post.
The Green New Deal
The Green New Deal, H.RES.109, is not a law—It’s a framework for dealing with the climate crisis while also boosting job creation and addressing systemic racism and discrimination. It was named in the spirit of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, which helped pull America out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. It also is meant to reflect the efforts and sacrifices that the United States made during World War II.
On February 7, 2019, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the bill’s sponsor, introduced the Green New Deal in the U.S. House of Representatives of the 116th Congress, 1st Session, along with 68 other cosigners.
To back up its climate change proposals, the bill references the October 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment Report.
The reasons given for presenting the bill were:
Human activity is the dominant cause of climate change.
Climate change leads to many catastrophic results, including sea level rise, wildfires, storms, droughts.
Global warming more than two degrees Celsius will create even greater issues, such as mass migrations, lost economic output, destruction of coral reefs and damage to infrastructure.
The stated climate goal is to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C. This means reducing greenhouse gases by 40 to 60 percent by 2030 with the longer-term goal of net zero global emissions by 2050. These numbers reflect the latest scientific consensus and commitments now being made by large corporations and other nations, as built into the Paris Climate Accord of 2015. The United States is officially out of the Paris Agreement as of November 4, 2020, but will presumably re-enter it next year under a Biden presidency.
The actions described in the Green New Deal would commit the United States, a major emitter, to taking a leading role in fighting climate change. It lays out a 10-year plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a “fair and just” transition, creating millions of good new jobs building a sustainable infrastructure and industries, as well as securing clean air and water, climate resiliency, healthy food, access to nature and a sustainable environment.
The Green New Deal also promotes justice and equity for people of colour, indigenous communities, migrant communities, deindustrialize communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income communities, women, the elderly, the unhoused, disabled and youth.
Climate action goals
The bill contains a long menu of goals and tasks, but the main ones for climate action include:
Building climate change resiliency against disasters
Repairing U.S infrastructure
Moving to 100 percent clean, renewable, zero-emission power, including smart power grids
Upgrading existing buildings
Growing clean manufacturing
Working with farmers and ranchers to remove pollution and greenhouse gases
Overhauling transportation systems to remove pollution and greenhouse gases
Mitigating and managing the effects of climate change
Removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and restoring natural ecosystems
Cleaning up hazardous waste
Sharing technology, products, and services with other countries
Protecting public lands, water and oceans
Read more: The Next Web
It’s Time to Go Green!
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