Green New Deal

Extracted and modified from ikipedia under CC-BY-SA 3.0


The Green New Deal (GND) is a proposed package of United States legislation that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. [1] [2] [3] [4] The name refers to the New Deal, a set of social and economic reforms and public works projects undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. [5] The Green New Deal combines Roosevelt's economic approach with modern ideas such as renewable energy and resource efficiency. [6] [7]

In the 116th United States Congress, it is a pair of resolutions, House Resolution 109 [8] and S. Res. 59, sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). On March 25, 2019, Markey's resolution failed to advance in the U.S. Senate in a margin of 0–57, with most Senate Democrats voting "present" in protest of an early vote called by Republicans. [9] Among the public, there is consistently high support among Democrats for the Green New Deal, whereas Republicans, in particular Fox News viewers, oppose the Green New Deal. [10]

Since the early 2000s, and especially since 2018, other proposals for a "Green New Deal" have arisen both in the United States and internationally. [11] [12] [13]

Throughout the 1970s and 1990s, an economic policy to move the United States economy away from nonrenewable energy was developed by activists in the labor and the environmental movements. [14]

An early use of the phrase "Green New Deal" was by journalist Thomas Friedman. [15] He argued in favor of the idea in The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine. [16] [17] In January 2007, Friedman wrote:

If you have put a windmill in your yard or some solar panels on your roof, bless your heart. But we will only green the world when we change the very nature of the electricity grid – moving it away from dirty coal or oil to clean coal and renewables. And that is a huge industrial project – much bigger than anyone has told you. Finally, like the New Deal, if we undertake the green version, it has the potential to create a whole new clean power industry to spur our economy into the 21st century. [17]

This approach was subsequently taken up in Britain by the Green New Deal Group, [18] which published its eponymous report on July 21, 2008. [19] The concept was further popularized and put on a wider footing when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began to promote it.

In early 2008, author Jeff Biggers launched a series of challenges for a Green New Deal from the perspective of his writings from coal country in Appalachia. Biggers wrote, "Obama should shatter these artificial racial boundaries by proposing a New “Green” Deal to revamp the region and bridge a growing chasm between bitterly divided Democrats, and call for an end to mountaintop removal policies that have led to impoverishment and ruin in the coal fields." [20] Biggers followed up with other Green New Deal proposals over the next four years. [21]

On October 22, 2008, UNEP's Executive Director Achim Steiner unveiled a Global Green New Deal initiative that aims to create jobs in "green" industries, thus boosting the world economy and curbing climate change at the same time. [22] The Green Party of the United States and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein proposed a "Green New Deal" beginning in 2012. [23] [24] [25] The Green New Deal remains officially part of the platform of the Green Party of the United States. [26]

In 2006, a Green New Deal was created by the Green New Deal Task Force as a plan for one hundred percent clean, renewable energy by 2030 utilizing a carbon tax, a jobs guarantee, free college, single-payer healthcare, and a focus on using public programs. [4] [27] [28]

Since 2006 the Green New Deal has been included in the platforms of multiple Green Party candidates, such as Howie Hawkins' gubernatorial campaigns in 2010, 2014, and 2018, and Jill Stein's 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. [27]

A "Green New Deal" wing began to emerge in the Democratic Party after the November 2018 elections. [29] [30]

A possible program in 2018 for a "Green New Deal" assembled by the think tank Data for Progress was described as "pairing labor programs with measures to combat the climate crisis." [31] [32]

A November 2018 article in Vogue stated, "There isn’t just one Green New Deal yet. For now, it’s a platform position that some candidates are taking to indicate that they want the American government to devote the country to preparing for climate change as fully as Franklin Delano Roosevelt once did to reinvigorating the economy after the Great Depression." [33]

A week after the 2018 midterm elections, climate justice group Sunrise Movement organized a protest in Nancy Pelosi's office calling on Pelosi to support a Green New Deal. On the same day, freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched a resolution to create a committee on the Green New Deal. [34] Following this, several candidates came out supporting a "Green New Deal", including Deb Haaland, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Antonio Delgado. [35] They were joined in the following weeks by Reps. John Lewis, Earl Blumenauer, Carolyn Maloney, and José Serrano. [36]

By the end of November, eighteen Democratic members of Congress were co-sponsoring a proposed House Select Committee on a Green New Deal, and incoming representatives Ayanna Pressley and Joe Neguse had announced their support. [37] [38] Draft text would task this committee with a “'detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan' capable of making the U.S. economy 'carbon neutral' while promoting 'economic and environmental justice and equality,'" to be released in early 2020, with draft legislation for implementation within 90 days. [39] [40]

Organizations supporting a Green New Deal initiative included, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Extinction Rebellion and Friends of the Earth. [41] [42]

A Sunrise Movement protest on behalf of a Green New Deal at the Capitol Hill offices of Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer on December 10, 2018 featured Lennox Yearwood and speakers as young as age 7, resulting in 143 arrests. [43] Euronews, the pan-European news organization, displayed video of youth with signs saying "Green New Deal," "No excuses", and "Do your job" in its "No Comment" section. [44]

On December 14, 2018, a group of over 300 local elected officials from 40 states issued a letter endorsing a Green New Deal approach. [45] [46]

That same day, a poll released by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication indicated that although 82% of registered voters had not heard of the "Green New Deal," it had strong bi-partisan support among voters. A non-partisan description of the general concepts behind a Green New Deal resulted in 40% of respondents saying they “strongly support”, and 41% saying they “somewhat support” the idea. [47]

On January 10, 2019 over 600 organizations submitted a letter to Congress declaring support for policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This includes ending fossil fuel extraction and subsidies, transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2035, expanding public transportation, and strict emission reductions rather than reliance on carbon emission trading. [48]

Senator Edward Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a fourteen-page resolution [8] for their Green New Deal on February 7, 2019. The approach pushes for transitioning the United States to use 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources, including investment into electric cars and high-speed rail systems, and implementing the "social cost of carbon" that has been part of Obama administration's plans for addressing climate change within 10 years. Besides increasing state-sponsored jobs, this Green New Deal is also aimed to address poverty by aiming much of the improvements in the "frontline and vulnerable communities" which include the poor and disadvantaged people. To gain additional support, the resolution includes calls for universal health care, increased minimum wages, and preventing monopolies. [49]

According to The Washington Post (February 11, 2019), the resolution calls for a “10-year national mobilization” whose primary goals would be: [50]

On March 26, in what Democrats called a "stunt," Republicans called for an early vote on the resolution without allowing discussion or expert testimony. In protest, 42 Democrats and one Independent who caucuses with Democrats voted "present" [52] resulting in a 57–0 defeat on the Senate floor. Three Democrats and one Independent who caucuses with Democrats voted against the bill, while the other votes were along party lines. President Donald Trump has spoken out against the Green New Deal and has referred to climate change as a “hoax.” [53]

Various perspectives emerged in late 2018 as to whether to form a committee dedicated to climate, what powers such a committee might be granted, and whether the committee would be specifically tasked with developing a Green New Deal.

Incoming House committee chairs Frank Pallone and Peter DeFazio indicated a preference for handling these matters in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. [41] [54] (Writing in Gentleman's Quarterly, Jay Willis responded that despite the best efforts of Pallone and De Fazio over many years, "the planet's prognosis has failed to improve," providing "pretty compelling evidence that it is time for legislators to consider taking a different approach.") [40]

In contrast, Representative Ro Khanna thought that creating a Select Committee specifically dedicated to a Green New Deal would be a "very commonsense idea", based on the recent example of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming (2007–2011), which had proven effective in developing a 2009 bill for cap-and-trade legislation. [41] [54]

Proposals for the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis did not contain “Green New Deal" language and lacked the powers desired by Green New Deal proponents, such as the ability to subpoena documents or depose witnesses. [55] [56] [57]

Representative Kathy Castor of Florida was appointed to chair the committee. [57] [58]

On January 10, 2019, a letter signed by 626 organizations in support of a Green New Deal was sent to all members of Congress. It called for measures such as "an expansion of the Clean Air Act; a ban on crude oil exports; an end to fossil fuel subsidies and fossil fuel leasing; and a phase-out of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2040." [59] [60]

The letter also indicated that signatories would "vigorously oppose" ... “market-based mechanisms and technology options such as carbon and emissions trading and offsets, carbon capture and storage, nuclear power, waste-to-energy and biomass energy.” [59]

Six major environmental groups did not sign on to the letter: the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, Mom's Clean Air Force, Environment America, and the Audubon Society. [61]

An article in The Atlantic quoted Greg Carlock, who prepared "a different Green New Deal plan for the left-wing think tank Data for Progress" as responding, “There is no scenario produced by the IPCC or the UN where we hit mid-century decarbonization without some kind of carbon capture.” [59]

The MIT Technology Review responded to the letter with an article titled, "Let’s Keep the Green New Deal Grounded in Science." The MIT article states that, although the letter refers to the "rapid and aggressive action" needed to prevent the 1.5 ˚C of warming specified in the UN climate panel's latest report, simply acknowledging the report's recommendation is not sufficient. If the letter's signatories start from a position where the options of carbon pricing, carbon capture for fossil plants, hydropower, and nuclear power, are not even on the table for consideration, there may be no feasible technical means to reach the necessary 1.5 ˚C climate goal. [62]

A report in Axios suggested that the letter's omission of a carbon tax, which has been supported by moderate Republicans, did not mean that signatories would oppose carbon pricing. [63] [60]

The Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy at George Mason University was quoted as saying, "As long as organizations hold onto a rigid set of ideas about what the solution is, it’s going to be hard to make progress ... And that’s what worries me." [62]

Many who support some goals of the Green New Deal express doubt about feasibility of one or more parts of it. John P. Holdren, former science advisor to Obama, thinks the 2030 goal is too optimistic, saying that 2045 or 2050 would be more realistic. [64]

Many members of the Green party have also attacked the plan due to its cutting of multiple parts of their plan, such as the elimination of nuclear power and jobs guarantee, and the changing of the goal from a one hundred percent clean, renewable energy economy by 2030 to the elimination of the U.S. carbon footprint by 2030. [27] [28]

Paul Bledsoe of the Progressive Policy Institute, the think tank affiliated with the conservative Democratic Leadership Council, expressed concern that setting unrealistic "aspirational" goals of 100% renewable energy could undermine "the credibility of the effort" against climate change. [41]

Economist Edward Barbier, who developed the "Global Green New Deal" proposal for the United Nations Environment Programme in 2009, opposes "a massive federal jobs program," saying "The government would end up doing more and more of what the private sector and industry should be doing." Barbier prefers carbon pricing, such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, in order to "address distortions in the economy that are holding back private sector innovation and investments in clean energy." [65]

When Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was confronted by youth associated with the Sunrise Movement on why she does not support the Green New Deal, she told them "there’s no way to pay for it" and that it could not pass a Republican-controlled Senate. In a tweet following the confrontation, Feinstein said that she remains committed "to enact real, meaningful climate change legislation." [66]

In February 2019, the centre-right American Action Forum, estimated that the plan could cost between $51–$93 trillion over the next decade. [67] They estimate its potential cost at $600,000 per household. [68] The organization estimated the cost for eliminating carbon emissions from the transportation system at $1.3–2.7 trillion; guaranteeing a job to every American $6.8–44.6 trillion; universal health care estimated close to $36 trillion. [69] According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street is willing to invest significant resources toward GND programs, but not unless Congress commits to moving it forward. [70]

The AFL-CIO, in a letter to Ocasio-Cortez, expressed strong reservations about the GND, saying, "We welcome the call for labor rights and dialogue with labor, but the Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the critical sections of our economy." [71]

In an op-ed for Slate, Alex Baca criticizes the Green New Deal for failing to address the environmental, economic, and social consequences of urban sprawl. [72] Adam Millsap criticizes the GND's overreliance on public transit to make cities more environmentally friendly, since public transit integrates better in monocentric cities than in polycentric ones. He suggests land use reforms to increase density, congestion pricing, and eliminating parking requirements as measures that can be applied more flexibly to cities with monocentric and polycentric layouts. [73]

Although the Green New Deal is often presented as a left-wing proposal, criticism of it has come from left-wing commentators who have argued that the Green New Deal fails to tackle the real cause of the climate emergency, namely the concept of unending growth and consumption inherent in capitalism, and is instead an attempt to greenwash capitalism. [74] Left wing critics of the Green New Deal argue that it is not the monetisation of Green policies and practices within capitalism that are necessary, but an anti-capitalist adoption of policies for de-growth. [75]

Both Republican politicians and those generally critical of progressivism in the United States have criticized a "Frequently Asked Questions" document once posted to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's website (later removed but still viewable on the Wayback Machine.) [76] Many criticisms centred on a line promising economic security to those "unwilling to work". (Green New Deal advisor Robert C. Hockett stated that this line was present only in "doctored" versions of the FAQ, but later said he had been mistaken. [77] ) According to Ocasio-Cortez, the document was a draft and "a staffer that had a really bad day at work" published it. [78]

In September 2019, Naomi Klein published On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal. [79] On Fire is a collection of essays focusing on climate change and the urgent actions needed to preserve the planet. Klein relates her meeting with Greta Thunberg in the opening essay in which she discusses the entrance of young people into those speaking out for climate awareness and change. She supports the Green New Deal throughout the book and in the final essay she discusses the 2020 U.S. election saying "The stakes of the election are almost unbearably high. It’s why I wrote the book and decided to put it out now and why I’ll be doing whatever I can to help push people toward supporting a candidate with the most ambitious Green New Deal platform—so that they win the primaries and then the general." [80] [81] [82]

Various proposals for a Green New Deal have been made internationally. Such efforts became more prominent following the October 2018 IPPC 1.5 °C report, and the popular support that GND received in the United States since late 2018. [12] [13] In addition to activity within conventional national & multilateral politics, there has been support for a Green New Deal within City diplomacy. In October 2019 the C40 committed to support a Global Green New Deal, announcing there will be determined action from all its 94 cities, with 30 cities having already peaked their emissions and progressing rapidly towards net-zero. [175] [176]

The Australian Greens have advocated for a "Green Plan", similar to the Green New Deal, since 2009. [177] Deputy Leader Christine Milne discussed the idea on the ABC's panel discussion program Q&A on February 19, 2009, [178] and it was the subject of a major national conference of the Australian Greens in 2009. [179]

After their 2019 federal election defeat, Australian Labor Party shadow environment minister Tony Burke signalled his support for a suite of regulation and stimulus policies similar to a Green New Deal. [180]

In early May 2019, with rising concerns about the need for urgent global environmental action to reduce potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, a non-partisan coalition of nearly 70 groups launched the Pact for a Green New Deal (New Deal vert au Canada in French). [181] With press conferences in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, the coalition called for fossil fuel emissions reduction in half by 2030. [182] [183] On May 16, 2019 the Green Party released a 5-page summary of their plan entitled "Mission: Possible: The Green Climate Action Plan". [184]

Canadian author Naomi Klein will release her seventh book, entitled "On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal", in September 2019. [185]

On continental Europe, the European Spring coalition campaigned under the banner of a "Green New Deal" for the 2019 EU elections. [12] [13] In December 2020, the newly elected European Commission under Von der Leyen presented a set of policy proposals under the name European Green Deal. Compared to the United States plan, it has a less ambitious decarbonisation timeline, with an aim of carbon neutrality in 2050. The policy proposal involves every sector in the economy and the option of a border adjustment mechanism, a 'carbon tariff', is on the table to prevent carbon leakage from outside countries. [186]

A pilot program for a four day workweek, under development by Spain's Valencian Regional Government, has been described as a "helpful counter to ... fearmongering about the bleak, hamburger-free world climate activists are allegedly plotting to create with a Green New Deal." [187]

In the UK, the Green New Deal Group and the New Economics Foundation produced the A Green New Deal report asking for a Green New Deal as a way out of the Global Financial Crisis back in 2008, demanding a reform of the financial and tax sectors and a revolution of the energy sector in the country.

Also, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, raised the idea during an economic debate in 2008. [188]

In March 2019, an activist group known as Extinction Rebellion called on the Labour party to commit to taking radical steps to decarbonise the UK economy within a decade. A group spokesperson said they are calling the proposed movement "Labour for a Green New Deal" because, "Climate change is fundamentally about class, because it means chaos for the many while the few profit." They are calling for expansion of public ownership and democratic control of industry, a region-specific guarantee of green jobs, and substantial investments in public infrastructure.

The group states that they got their inspiration from the Sunrise Movement and the work that congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has done in the US. Group members have met with Zack Exley, co-founder of the progressive group Justice Democrats, to learn from the experiences that he and Ocasio-Cortez have had in working for the Green New Deal campaign in the US. [189]

On April 30, former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband joined Caroline Lucas and former South Thanet Conservative MP Laura Sandys in calling for a Green New Deal in the UK. [190] The left-wing campaigning group Momentum also wish to influence the Labour Party's manifesto to include a Green New Deal. [191]

In September 2019, the Labour party committed to a Green New Deal at its 2019 annual conference. This included a target to decarbonise by 2030. [11] [192] Polling undertook by YouGov in late October 2019 found that 56% of British adults support the goal of making the UK carbon neutral by 2030 or earlier. [193]


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