The Green New Deal, explained


Senate Democrats

Senator Edward Markey (right) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promoting The Green New Deal on Capitol Hill in February of 2019


As the new President-elect Joe Biden intends to address the climate change crisis, he and his team have endorsed a plan which has been dubbed The Green New Deal. 

The Green New Deal is a congressional resolution that describes the plan for handling climate issues. It was made by two Democrats, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.  

This plan addresses the most recent reports from the United Nations and governmental scientists have issued warnings about the danger the country is in. The reports highlight:

  • Sea levels rising and damage to coastal areas
  • Increase in wildfires, droughts and other extreme, threatening weather events
  • A loss of more than 99% of all coral reefs
  • Exposure to global heat stress

If put into place, the resolution would address these problems by greatly reducing the fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emissions in the country. It would also create thousands of new jobs in the clean-energy industry. 

The plan aims for zero net carbon emissions by the year 2050. This does not mean that fossil fuels can not be a fuel source. This simply means that as much carbon would have to be absorbed as is released into the atmosphere. 

The goal is to source all electricity for the United States from renewable sources with very little emissions. It also aims to upgrade the infrastructure in the US to be more energy efficient and invest in making the transportation systems as well as vehicles in the country electric. Updated power grids would also be put into place to make clean energy more affordable. 

Additionally, the resolution targets important societal issues, some of which being racial inequalities and economic disparities between different groups. Having clean air, clean water, and access to healthy and affordable food are rights that all people should have. To end these forms of oppression will be to help move this society forward in the right directions. 

The agriculture industry would get an overhaul as well. The government would work with farmers in the US to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as is feasible. It would do so by supporting the family farms, investing in sustainable farming and options for soil health, and creating a more accessible system for healthy food. 

Debate between Republicans and Democrats lasts about this deal. Republicans believe that this resolution is unnecessary and too costly. But the Democratic belief remains that our planet is in trouble and this resolution, while somewhat costly, will save the country money in the long run. 

Wherever you fall, it is important to listen to the scientists. The US, and the world, needs change, and this could possibly be it.