On February 7, 2019 Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) introduced House Resolution 109, the Green New Deal. Formally known as “Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal,” it is a nonbinding resolution with the overarching goal to combat climate change by drastically cutting carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy while simultaneously creating new jobs and strengthening the US economy. The program envisioned in the Resolution draws inspiration from the New Deal programs rolled out by FDR in the 1930s.
The Green New Deal proposes that, within 10 years, the U.S. will mobilize to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, create millions of high-wage jobs, sustainably invest in infrastructure, and secure for future generations clean air and water, healthy food, climate and community resiliency, access to nature and a sustainable environment, as well as address issues of inequity and injustice in communities of colors.
The Resolution has several ambitious targets, including but not limited to:
- Meeting 100% of the electric power demand in the US through clean and renewable energy by 2030
- Upgrading all existing buildings and new construction with maximum energy efficiency measures
- Overhauling the US transportation system through investments in high-speed rail and zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing
- Providing training and high-quality education to all people of the United States
Experts have expressed skepticism over whether it would be technologically feasible to achieve the Resolution’s renewable energy goals in the Resolution's timeframe.
A symbolic gesture, the Resolution is nonbinding and if passed, will not have the force of law. Instead, it is a call to action for members of the House to propose legislation to address its goals. Although Democrats currently control the House, it remains to be seen if it will proceed to a vote before the full body.
Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts has introduced the Resolution in the Senate, where it has become a political football. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced his intention to bring the Resolution for a vote in the full Senate to force Senate Democrats to reveal their position on it. In response, Senate Democrats have crafted their own unanimous, and more moderate, climate resolution, scheduled to be introduced ahead of any vote on the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is a media darling, and is expected to drive conversation in the upcoming election cycle. Six of the current Democratic presidential candidates have co-sponsored the Resolution, including Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.