Ever since the Green New Deal was introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Senator Ed Markey the resolution has been met with waves of criticism and support. Regardless, throughout party divisions and media coverage there has also been a lot of misinformation that has taken away from the imperative theme behind the Green New Deal: the imperative global effort to adapt our fossil fuel driven world into a cleaner, safer, and equitable society.
Contrary to what critics want the public to believe, the Green New Deal would not outlaw airplanes and the meat industry, in fact since the Green New Deal is a resolution it does not lay down immediate laws. As said in an interview by Representative Ocasio Cortez, the Green New Deal would act as a guide, like the north star, that would then inspire laws to stem from the resolution.
The Green New Deal is so much more than the ambition for net zero green house emissions because Climate Change is so much more than eliminating fossil fuel pollution. Scientists warn that the climate emergency will be irreversible by 2030 and the effects will ripple through people’s personal homes, health, livelihood, and will also affect global economies and life as we know it. World history has proven to us that the world is always changing, from the time of empire to the industrial revolution to the modern age of technology. Now, we are on a dangerous path that is already affecting particularly marginalized communities all over the planet, and scientists warn the momentum will not slow down.
The Green New Deal aims to guide the progress of the future, toward a sustainable and greener planet. By replacing fossil fuels with clean energy, creating 30 million jobs that pay live-able high wages, expanding health care, and fueling communities with the resources they need to rebuild a safer and empowered society. In the past we’ve been confronted with resistance to new ideas and it can be difficult to envision the world the Green New Deal envisions, but the planet is already changing. Humans are already experiencing harsher weather conditions, melting ice caps, endangered species, crop failure, the list goes on. The Green New Deal is a token leader on how we must adapt before it’s too late.
Undeniably, a huge concern of the Green New Deal is how much it will cost. Although the U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world combined, politicians are convinced the money needed to save the planet is simply nowhere to be found…or better spent on other “priorities”.
The truth is, there is no concrete number on how much it will cost. This is partly due to the fact that the resolution leaves a lot of room for detail, Representative Ocasio Cortez and others have admit that it will be no simple feat and will take huge investments, but in the long run it will pay for itself. Authors and creators of the resolution emphasize the millions of sustainable and high paying jobs the Green New Deal will produce, not only repaying initial costs but going above and beyond to grow the economy.
Being someone who wants to pursue a career in the environmental field I did some research myself on the direction the industry is heading. I found that clean energy jobs will not only replace those created by the fossil fuel industry, they are already incredibly surpassing them.
According to Forbes magazine, new renewable energy is actually cheaper than existing coal plants, with this trend consistently increasing. By 2025, building replacement wind and solar energy sources within 35 miles of each U.S. existing coal plant will cost less than running the existing coal plants. This economic fact doesn’t even touch on the major health issues that can be completely avoided with clean energy, since wind turbines and solar panels don’t spew toxic pollution into our atmosphere and air that our communities breathe in daily.
With E2’s recent Clean Jobs America report, 3.3 million Americans already work in clean energy, outnumbering fossil fuel workers 3-to-1. In 2018, clean energy employment grew by 3.6% (110,000 new jobs) and surpassed 6% job growth in 2019. Clean Energy jobs are not only more stable and pay workers higher wages, the absence of toxic pollution surrounding workers also allow them to live healthier and safer lives.
The Green New Deal does not wish to take away the jobs of people already in the fossil fuel industry, the resolution aims to transition these workers to safer and more stable careers not only in the renewable energy field. Fighting Climate Change is more than just solar panels and wind turbines, but about expanding education and knowledge to tackle other disparities communities face.
The Green New Deal recognizes that Climate Change affects our environment, which completely surrounds us and in term affects everything we do. The resolution is ambitious because it’s tackling many crises at once in an effort to reconstruct a world adapted to the walks of life we currently entertain. When the internet surfaced the world didn’t turn its back on books, we put them online for more to use. The Green New Deal is not about squashing the economy but about transitioning into a sustainable economy that will benefit entire populations. We aren’t abandoning our menus, we’re improving the way our food is sourced, not forbidding transportation, but reimagining more efficient manners.
The concept of transitioning into renewable energy, uplifting impoverished communities, and pursuing a greener future is not a dream that we should hope for, its a very real and feasible possibility. Yes, the Green New Deal resolution and laws to follow will take massive investments and require us to jump full in, but when have humans ever avoided change? The planet is in the middle of a dire emergency, it’s up to us to have the courage to advance the visions of scientists and demand our politicians work for the country they vowed to serve.
The Green New Deal is published and public, it’s not even that long. I encourage you to take a look at it, let me know if I missed the line where cows will be outlawed. https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hres109/BILLS-116hres109ih.pdf
References: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/climate/green-new-deal-questions-answers.html, https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/109/text, https://www.sunrisemovement.org/green-new-deal, https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2019/04/22/renewable-energy-job-boom-creating-economic-opportunity-as-coal-industry-slumps/#234013f73665, https://www.edf.org/energy/clean-energy-jobs, https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hres109/BILLS-116hres109ih.pdf