The Green New Deal: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Ambitious Plan to Tackle Climate Change

The Green New Deal: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Ambitious Plan to Tackle Climate Change

There’s no stopping Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. The Democrat wonderkid who became the youngest person ever to be elected into Congress at the recent US midterms isn’t wasting time; just over a week into winning her Congressional race and not yet sworn in (this happens in January) she is already pushing for long-term climate agenda.

Ocasio-Cortez has just proposed a resolution — supported by youth-led organisations Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats — to create a “Select Committee” for a Green New Deal, an ambitious climate action plan to decarbonise the US economy and society and transition to renewable energy, and will be responsible for crafting legislation to achieve climate action goals.

Specifically, the committee “shall have authority to develop a detailed, national, industrial, economic mobilization plan for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.”

Ten Democratic Congress members have endorsed Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal including Reps. Deb Haaland, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.

Sunrise Movement Poster - Select Committee for a Green New Deal on Climate Change
Credit: Sunrise Movement

While the climate proposal is comprehensive, the general goals of the Green New Deal (as listed on Ocasio-Cortez’s website) are as follows:

  1. 100% of national power generation from renewable sources;
  2. Building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;
  3. Upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
  4. Decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries;
  5. Decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure;
  6. Funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases;
  7. Making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely carbon neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal comes after Ocasio-Cortez joined 200 young climate change activists staging a protest outside Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s Washington office demanding the Democrats stop taking fossil fuel cash and start taking real climate action.

“I just want to let you know how proud I am of each and every single one of you for putting yourselves and your bodies and everything on the line to make sure we save our planet, our generation and our future,” the young politician tells youth demonstrators amidst the camera snaps of the press.

“It’s so incredibly important. I’ve shared with you all and I’ve shared my story that my journey here started at Standing Rock and it started with everyday people doing exactly what you are all doing too”

Afterwards, Ocasio-Cortez revealed on Twitter that she had spoken with Nancy Pelosi and confirmed that the longtime Congresswoman of California was committed to reinstating a long-defunct climate change committee.

Pelosi tweeted: “Deeply inspired by the young activists & advocates leading the way on confronting climate change. The climate crisis threatens the futures of communities nationwide, and I strongly support reinstating the select committee to address the crisis.”

Pelosi also released a press statement stating, “House Democrats ran on and won on our bold campaign for a $1 trillion investment in our infrastructure that will make our communities more resilient to the climate crisis, while creating 16 million new good-paying jobs across the country.”

While this was welcome news to many of the nation’s progressives, others are crying foul, calling it a publicity stunt and pointing to a Bloomberg “exclusive” published five days earlier which revealed that Pelosi had intentions of resurrecting the climate change committee long before the spectacle surrounding Ocasio-Cortez.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding how the new-and-improved committee was formed, the results of a recent survey of 1776 registered American voters shows that the majority want to see action on climate change. The survey reveals that 73.8 percent are concerned about climate change and 78.8 percent support the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

With the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning policymakers that “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” will be needed to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, and the US contributing about 15% to global carbon emissions(second only after China), a Select Committee for a Green New Deal won’t be enough, the Democrats must work to get bipartisan agreement and get laws passed if it has any hope of curbing emissions and mitigating climate change.

The Green New Deal National Day of Action is being held tomorrow calling for more members of Congress to support the Green New Deal. To find events near you or for more information,

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Title image of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Congresswoman-elect from New York, speaking to activists with the Sunrise Movement protesting in the offices of House Minority Leader California’s Nancy Pelosi in Washington D.C. on Nov. 13, 2018. Photo credit: Sunrise Movement

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