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The Green New Deal: A Closer Look

the Green New Deal

After years of debate about the effects of fossil fuels on global warming and climate change, progressive Congressional Democrats have proposed a Green New Deal.

Introduced as a non-binding resolution in February 2019, the proposed plan contains sweeping measures that would reduce carbon emissions and require technological innovation.

Representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey led the initiative, and received praise and criticism for their ambitious goals.

A 10-Year Plan

The non-binding resolution calls for a 10-year plan, in which we are eliminating the use of fossil fuels nationwide.

Energy use would shift from 80 percent petroleum, natural gas and coal to 100 percent renewable, zero emission energy. In short, the entire power grid would become carbon neutral.

The Green New Deal reflects longtime progressive concerns about carbon emissions and energy conservation. The plan would require conversion to carbon-neutral, maximum energy efficiency in all existing buildings in the country. Agriculture and business sectors would also have to reduce greenhouse emissions.

For example, all transportation would be powered by electricity and not by oil-based fossil fuels.

Congressional and Public Reaction

Congressional reaction to the Green New Deal is mixed, even among Democrats. Concerns center around the broad scope of the manifesto, which includes non-environmental provisions such as universal healthcare and affordable housing.

Less than half of Congressional Democrats have co-sponsored the resolution, with little support from moderate Democrats. President Trump suggests that the proposal will create a backlash against Democrats.

Proponents of the manifesto have put the issue of global warming and climate change in the spotlight but have not provided further implementation details.

While former Vice President Al Gore welcomes the “beginning of a crucial dialog”, Noah Smith of questions the “enormous new entitlements paid for by unlimited deficit spending.”

The Green New Deal Receives More Support from the General Public

Former Energy Secretary under Barack Obama, Ernest Muniz, calls the plan “unrealizable.”

The Green New Deal, however, may have more support among the general public.

Sean McElwee of Data for Progress notes that the majority of people polled have been in favor of or undecided about the proposal.

State and local governments, including California and Buffalo, New York, have already enacted programs that combine reduced carbon emissions with social justice protections.

Estimated Cost

Authors of the Green New Deal did not specify how the plan would be carried out or how much it would cost for the country.

Estimates put the annual cost of retrofitting buildings alone at $1 trillion for 10 years. The cost of the proposed universal income — one of the resolution’s non-environmental provisions — is estimated at nearly $4 billion per year.

Critics worry that the plan would lead to unlimited deficit spending. This concern is due to the fact that its authors cite the Modern Monetary Theory, which states that deficit spending is not harmful in countries where there is little inflation.

Proponents of the resolution have not indicated whether a carbon emissions tax or another market-based approach would be an option.


Many political and industry leaders remain skeptical of the Green New Deal.
However, polls show that the general public may hold a more favorable opinion. The idea has been debated among environmental and political experts for years.

The next elections may provide another clue to the success of the Green New Deal.

Article written by:

I write about the renewable energy sector, electric cars and climate change issues. I love nature and good food, so I travel all over the world to see new places and meet new people. Magda Savin

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