The pros and cons of the Green New Deal have frequently appeared in the press lately. But what is it? As I did my research, it became clear to me that it’s a vision… a vision of what the United States should be. What country wouldn’t want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that threaten to increase climate disasters beyond return? Or ensure that everyone has a job that can support his/her family? Or how about promoting justice and equity? It’s all about the Three E’s – Environment, Economy and Equality.
But “the devil is in the details” and it’s clear that what is proposed will need serious consideration and collaboration. This is a BIG, BIG, BIG effort. Most Americans like the principles of the Green New Deal. In fact, a recent Yale survey found that 81% of registered voters across the political spectrum supported the broad goals presented in the proposal when presented free of political context.
Here are the main elements of the Green New Deal that would be implemented over a ten-year period: (Politifact)
- eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible
- build or upgrade to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘smart’ power grids, and ensure affordable access to electricity
- work collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible
- guarantee universal access to clean water
- build resiliency against climate change-related disasters, such as extreme weather
- upgrade all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification
- provide clean, affordable, and accessible public transit, and high-speed rail
On scientific research:
- make public investments in the research and development of new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries
On the oppressed:
- promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth
- provide resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States
On labor unions:
- strengthen and protect the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment
On social services:
- guarantee a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States
- provide all people of the United States with high-quality health care, affordable, safe, and adequate housing, and economic security
Ultimately, the goal would be to get the entire world to a net zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 but it’s time the U.S. took a leadership role.
Back in 1932, candidate Franklin Roosevelt promised a new deal that would eventually pull the country out of the Great Depression. Isn’t this the time to take bold steps to pull the United States and the world back from the brink of climate disaster.