A Green New Deal and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Our Best Shot to Save the Future

Thank God for bold vision, thank God for Ocasio-Cortez and her advocacy for The Green New Deal:. “This is going to be the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil-rights movement of our generation.”  And not a moment too soon. Read on for why this may be our only shot at minimizing the impacts of climate change. If only, AOC were 10 years older as she has the 2020 vision we need right now.

The Green New Deal:  A Green Wave with a Vision and a Detailed Plan for Saving the Planet and Putting 10M Americans to Work

We can do this!

Democrats have been fumbling around policy options to address climate change for too long. Influenced by ever-present fossil fuel industry lobbyists ready to provide specious arguments about jobs and revenue that entirely ignore that those jobs and revenue will cost us our future. Thus far, Deb Haaland is the only NM elected official in Washington to have endorsed the Green New Deal. At the bottom of the post is contact information for our other reps who need to hear from you. Please contact them today and share this post with others. Ocasio Cortez and her allies need our support to push the old guard either to embrace our efforts or to get the hell out of the way.

We have no choice but to press these reps as the Democratic Party is the only national party that even pretends to care about climate change. bBt the problem here is that they do not have a national strategy that clearly articulates its plans for addressing the challenge. Until now, enter Ocasio Cortez. From NBC:  “With backing from progressive Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, activists have taken Congress by storm in recent weeks with rallies demanding radical action to prevent a climate catastrophe. On Monday, over 100 protesters were arrested at the offices of House Democratic leaders.’ And they have a plan. From The Atlantic: 

“The Green New Deal aspires to cut U.S. carbon emissions fast enough to reach the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious climate goal: preventing the world from warming no more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. In a blockbuster report released in October, an international group of scientists said that meeting this goal could skirt the worst climate effects, such as massive floods, expansive droughts, and irreversible sea-level rise.” 

A challenge in trying to limit carbon based energy is that the cost of coal, gas and oil does not reflect the various costs to the environment that result from carbon energy generation and use, whether catastrophic climate events, health impacts or longer-term environmental impacts. Efforts to manipulate the gas and oil industry costs through  a carbon tax or a cap and trade system, failed to gain traction in the US. But both of these strategies are designed to make existing carbon based business ventures more costly and, as a result, cause those markets to invest in renewable energy. I’m not going into the weeds about which approach is better carbon tax or cap and trade, but if you want to, click here for an article that in reasonably lay-terms describes each approach. But in either case, carbon tax or cap and trade, these costs are ultimately going to passed on to consumers at the pump.

The Green New Deal takes a very different approach. Rather than punishing the extractive industry and trying to strong arm them into investing in renewables, the Green New Deal calls for a massive federal investment in the infrastructure and research required to achieve100% renewables by 2035; zero net emissions by 2015, zero waste cities by 2050 and a range of other goals that together would enable the US to exceed its goals for the Paris Accord. What’s more, the plan would generate 10 million jobs over the next ten years. This is the kind of bold, visionary plan that could inspire the nation. Ocasio-Cortez is right to call it “the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil-rights movement of our generation.” It also may be our last hope for saving the planet.

What’s more, as revealed in an excellent Atlantic piece by Robinson Meyer, the Green New Deal has the language and framework that could result in a green wave of support. Meyer analyzed the kinds of initiatives that capture the imagination and can generate the fervent support of Americans and those that don’t. Meyer examined what so many people hated about Obamacare–the nerdy, difficult to understand cost containment features and the complexity involved in making decisions about your coverage. He then examined the things about Obamacare that inspired Americans to testify, protest and vote to sustain it. The latter, Meyer labeled “the superpower idea,” was really comprised of two ideas: 1) guaranteed affordable healthcare and 2) coverage for pre-existing conditions. These two ideas are immediately understandable and both universally and personally impactful. Meyer opines that any effective climate legislation will have to include the nerdy detail  technocrat elements for it to work, but that will not inspire support. But Meyer points out that the Green New Deal also includes “the superpower idea,” a huge investment in green infrastructure and a guarantee of good paying jobs for 10 million Americans. For more from Meyer and his analysis of the political viability of the Green New Deal, click here.

The Green New Deal is far more than a slogan and a few high-minded ideas. Data For Progress has prepared a highly detailed briefing paper that lays out the political, economic, and environmental viability of the initiative. Click here to review this white paper. In the opening pages, The Green New Deal outlines its goals and they are both bold and visionary and, as the rest of the white paper describes, eminently doable.The superpower goals include:

TRANSFORM TO A LOW-CARBON ECONOMY 

  • 100% Clean and Renewable Electricity by 2035
  • Zero Net Emissions from Energy by 2050
  • 100% Net-Zero Building Energy Standards by 2030
  • 100% Zero Emission Passenger Vehicles by 2030
  • 100% Fossil-Free Transportation by 2050

FULFILL THE RIGHT TO CLEAN AIR AND CLEAN WATER

  • National Clean Air Attainment
  • Cut Methane Leakage 50% by 2025
  • National Lead Pipe Replacement & Infrastructure Upgrades
  • Guarantee Access to Affordable Drinking Water
  • Protect Two Million New Miles of Waterways

RESTORE THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE

  • Reforest 40 Million Acres of Public and Private Land by 2035
  • Restore 5 Million Acres of Wetlands by 2040
  • Expand Sustainable Farming and Soil Practices to 70% of Agricultural Land by 2050
  • Cleanup Brownfields and All Hazardous Sites

STRENGTHEN URBAN SUSTAINABILITY AND RESILIENCE 

  • Establish a National Fund for Urban and Rural Resilience
  • Expand Public Green Space and Recreational Land and Waters
  • Modernize Urban Mobility and Mass Transit
  • Zero Waste by 2040
  • Capture 50% of Wasted Methane by 2040

PUT A GENERATION TO WORK 

  • Create 10 million new jobs over 10 years through employment and training programs associated with Green New Deal grants and projects

ENSURE A JUST TRANSITION

  • All Green New Deal grants and projects must comply with:
  • Environmental Justice Standards ⊲ Job Quality Standards

Certainly to fully address climate change and keep warming to 2.7% by 2100, more than the US must pull their weight. But right now environmental policy makers and world leaders in Poland are being forced to listen to a US delegation promoting the virtues of coal and dismissing climate science. Full adoption of the Green New Deal would send a very different US message to the world.

Just reading these goals makes me reflect on the race to the moon. It was crazy, it was bold, it was inspiring and in the end it galvanized the nation. Ditto the New Deal and, in a very different way, the civil rights movement. But for each of the bold goals above, the Green New Deal has a very concrete, detailed plan for implementing specific strategies that can lead to reaching these goals. My gut tells me that as the millions of Trump-promised great (really terrific) new jobs fail to appear, a significant number of those who voted for him will be receptive to a plan that will generate 10 million jobs. What’s more, after another year of horrendous fires and withering hurricanes, along with one or two new reports outlining how scientists were far too conservative in projecting the speed with which climate change is advancing, the US electorate and the world will be ready for bold solutions.

Add to these highly likely conditions, the hundreds of newly elected progressive leaders at local, state and national levels who are thirsting for uncompromising solutions, and you will have hundreds of elected officials across the nation who will educate their constituencies and advocate fiercely for The Green New Deal. This will not just be Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of easily dismissed leftists advocating for the Green New Deal, but a Green Wave. Come 2020, the Democrats may have no choice but to make The Green New Deal and Healthcare for All the rallying cry for the run for the presidency and the run to control the Senate and strengthen its hold on the House.

The other piece that makes all of this doable is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Roxanne and I had spoken yesterday about how she could well be our president in 2029 and then today I read online an article describing how it was absurd that she can’t run for president in 2020 because she is too young. Clearly people are responding to the urgency of her message. As the opening quote from NBC articulates, Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as she is being called in DC, isn’t just arriving in Washington, she is exploding on Washington, organizing protests, galvanizing enthusiasm, speaking her mind uncompromisingly and in the process shaming the staid politicians who will compromise on anything: a Wall, child separation, private prisons and the very future of the planet. That is simply not AOC’s style. She sees the urgency of the threats of climate change and economic injustice and she is not afraid to call it out and demand full and adequate responses. Hold on to your hats folks, ‘a change is a comin.’  And it is about time.

In his phone townhall, Rep. Lujan said he wanted to hear from you if you have ideas. In his invite, he indicated: “ You can call my DC office at (202) 225-6190 if you have any questions about the town hall or would like to share an opinion with me at any time.” His words, so let’s all share an opinion. You needn’t go into a great deal of detail, just in your own words, tell our Representative: “Please get out in front and join AOC in pushing for adoption of The New Green Deal. We are running out of time, more and more people realize it and if the Democratic Party wants to sustain its momentum, it will need to take an inspiring position in relation to climate justice and economic justice and The Green New Deal does both.”

It is such a relief to see a reason to hope. Yesterday’s post described three articles from The Nation on the depth and scope of the Blue Wave and the development of a deep ‘bench’ of young progressive candidates elected to state legislatures, judgeships, or other state offices. And they are ready to raise hell. Today, a game plan for actually inspiring America to substantially and effectively address climate change and economic justice together. Four years ago, Naomi Klein released This Changes Everything, a brilliant book whose premise was that the threat of climate change would force us to grapple with both economic justice and climate change. Five years later, we just may have a plan that begins to do just that. And hopefully, this will change everything.

Check out the video below, contact our elected officials and tell them you expect them to publicly support the Green New Deal..and please share it with a few friends. Actually, I’d seriously like you to consider sharing this blog often. We have a good deal to do and we need more of us to do it.

Tom Udall, US Senate

Martin Heinrich, US Senate

Ben Ray Lujan, Congressional District 3

  • 2446 Rayburn HOB
  • Washington, D.C. 20515
  • Ph: (202) 225-6190
  • email: grassroots@benrlujan.com  OR
  • Link to email form: Click here to get to his form. You will need to input your zip code to get access to the form used to direct email to the Congressman.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “A Green New Deal and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Our Best Shot to Save the Future

  1. So many individuals and groups have been looking for a way to bring these ideas together! Fantastic, cooperative plan. Let’s do it.

  2. Pingback: “It’s Not About Election or Re-Election. It’s About Life or Death” AOC. SHARE THIS POST | Retake Our Democracy

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