The radical and controversial Green New Deal bill, which calls for a complete overhaul of the American economy in favor of renewable energy and away from fossil fuels, was relaunched this week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and comes much more radical than before. Joining the Democrat was senator Edward Markey (D-MA), who helped introduce the original 2019 Green New Deal.
“We’re going to transition to a 100 percent carbon free-economy, that is more unionized, more just, more dignified,” Ocasio-Cortez said of the bill. “Do we intend on sending a message to the Biden administration that we need to go bigger and bolder? The answer is absolutely yes,” she added.
Senator Markey also remarked on the importance of going even further than the Biden administration’s proposals: “For the past two years, it has been proven that the Green New Deal isn’t just a resolution — it is a revolution.” He then explained that “We believe that this is the moment that requires us to act big, think big, have a program that matches the magnitude of the problem that we’re confronted with. And to do so with justice.”
At the same time, the senator added that President Biden is in tune with one of the proposals of the most radical legislators of the Democratic Party: “The Biden administration is including climate action, environmental justice and the care economy in its recovery plan (…) That’s the DNA of the Green New Deal that we introduced.”
The new push for this Green New Deal comes in a week where the President of the United States will be hosting a virtual climate summit, and when Democrats, and the Biden administration itself are focused on getting the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package passed.
Critics of the President’s bill say the package wastes a lot of money and that a large portion of the spending is for items unrelated or associated with infrastructure.
A renewed and more controversial Green New Deal
The return of the Green New Deal offers a slightly broader perspective than the first draft introduced in 2019 with a series of bill initiatives divided into public housing, a civilian climate body and city funding.
According to a Politico report, “Among the new legislation is a proposal from Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Ocasio-Cortez that would authorize up to $1 trillion for cities, tribes and territories to fund their own localized versions of the Green New Deal.”
On the other hand, socialist Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Ocasio-Cortez herself, “also released legislation on Monday that would spend up to $172 billion on public housing over 10 years, more than quadrupling what President Joe Biden’s White House has proposed for public housing,” Politico added.
“The bill would modernize the country’s 950,000 housing units to make buildings more energy efficient. It would also require jobs created under the initiative to meet certain labor standards and allow for the creation of more public housing units,” noted Reuters.
In addition to these two pieces of legislation, Politico explained that “there’s also a new proposal from Markey and Ocasio-Cortez creating the Civilian Conservation Corps, which they said would provide employment to a diverse group of 1.5 million Americans over 5 years with jobs on climate change projects that come with strong benefits. The broad contours of such a program is embraced by Democrats across the political spectrum and similar to the one Biden established in an early executive order.”
Ocasio-Cortez said the plan she is spearheading with the most radical Democratic Party lawmakers has the backing of 103 representatives.
Criticism of the Green New Deal
Questioning of the controversial bill pushed by the most radical progressive Democrats was not long in coming.
“The New Green Disaster is back,” said senator John Barrasso (R-WY), in a statement on Monday. “Free market innovation is the best way to protect our air, water, and communities – not heavy-handed government regulation or taxation. America needs solutions, not socialism.”
Going along with Barrasso’s words, Republicans are pushing the “Energy Innovation Summit” where they are looking for more viable and not as costly climate solutions as progressive Democrats.
The Republicans’ idea is to address environmental problems through technological innovation and natural solutions such as tree plantations. Conservatives are squarely against job-destroying environmental policies such as the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline, state regulations and increased carbon tax burdens.
One of the goals of the Green New Deal is to charge that practices like fracking, which brought great benefits to the U.S. in economic, jobs and energy independence.
While fracking -a technique for extracting natural gas from unconventional reservoirs- is criticized for allegedly being highly polluting and directly responsible for increasing carbon use; it is also responsible for companies emitting less CO2 by facilitating innovation and implementing gas as an energy source.
In fact, in 2019, even under the Trump administration that promoted fracking to achieve energy independence, USA reduced its carbon emissions by 2 %. In 2020 carbon emissions were reduced by 10 % due to the pandemic, but carrying large economic costs.
The Green New Deal, among other things, further radicalizes Joe Biden’s plan to reach 2050 with zero carbon emissions. One of the problems with this goal, according to critics, is that it could create a huge economic problem for the country, considering how expensive renewable energies are. In addition, there are arguments that many of these policies are not based on scientific evidence.
“The Green New Deal is a socialist super-package which will only saddle hard-working taxpayers with debt and displace millions of Americans from their jobs (…) emocrats will stop at nothing to push their progressive pet projects on the American people,” congressman James Comer (R-KY 1st District) senior member of the House Oversight Committee denounced in a statement.