Green New Deal in Development

Emily Chen, Staff Writer

The Green New Deal, which is a set of policy changes that will help the U.S. reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change, is currently in development. The policies call for improvements in every aspect of the American economic lifestyle, focusing on reducing pollution and increasing energy efficiency.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts have recently released a six-page long outline of their plans for the Green New Deal. The goal of the deal is to reduce global emission levels to 40% to 60% of what they were in 2010 by the year 2030. Additionally, the plan calls for human-created greenhouse gasses to be entirely neutralized by 2050. In the document, the term “greenhouse gases” does not only refer to carbon. It includes ozone, methane, and nitrous oxide as well, which are just as dangerous but often go overlooked.

To achieve the goals set by the Green New Deal, the U.S. would have to stop relying on fossil fuels for energy and seek a cleaner alternative. The deal proposes a “ten-year national mobilization” plan to build smart grids and generate clean energy. Solar and wind power will need to go from 10% to nearly 100% of the country’s power supply over the next decade. For this to be achieved, “all existing U.S. buildings” must be upgraded to “achieve maximum” energy and water efficiency. This means that everyone, including large companies, local businesses, and even homeowners, will need to do their part to help the U.S. go green. Additionally, because transportation is America’s largest source of air pollution is transportation, the Green New Deal suggests boosting the development of public transit and the electric vehicle industry.

While the Green New Deal focuses greatly on greenhouse gas pollution, it also discusses changes that can be made in the production and consumption of food and water. It recommends “building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food” and “guaranteeing universal access to clean water.” The plan to resolve pollution and waste generated by the agriculture industry calls for using “sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health” and “supporting family farming” rather than factory and corporate farming.

Making changes to reach the Green New Deal’s goals will impact the U.S. economy. Some of the U.S.’s largest industries depend on fossil fuels, and cutting back will require companies to find clean energy sources. Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that while the proposed solutions are “considered big and bold,” they are “nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us.” She stated that the deal “could be part of a larger solution [to climate change], but no one has actually scoped out what that larger solution would entail. And so that’s really what we’re trying to accomplish with the Green New Deal.” Whether the deal passes or not, its ideas will hopefully lead to a cleaner America.

Image courtesy of FEE.ORG