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Understanding the Green New Deal

Democrats disagree over ambitious proposal

The Green New Deal is a non-binding resolution.
Photo: Madison Daley · The Sentry

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, both Democrats, recently proposed the Green New Deal. This proposal is meant to rebuild the economy and combat climate change by eradicating carbon gas emissions while simultaneously creating new jobs.

According to NPR, The Green New Deal is a “nonbinding resolution,” meaning the deal will not pass any legislation by itself. Instead, it will certify that the House agrees that the proposals in the bill should be pursued in the future, sending the message that the House believes changes in the economy and environment must happen.

One of the biggest portions of the Green New Deal involves using renewable energy sources and halting the use of fossil fuels altogether. Other proposals include reducing the amount of energy buildings use, reducing greenhouse emissions from farmers, and establishing charging stations, as well as alternative transportation methods, to diminish the emissions that are currently polluting the air from cars and planes that run on gas.

Olivia Neece, a political science major at CU Denver who interned on Gov. Polis’ campaign, sees the benefit of the New Green Deal. “Major changes need to be made in our country, especially in the sense of wealth inequality and climate change,” Neece said.

“Regarding climate… We are desperately in need of a change, and individuals using metal straws and recycling their plastic will never be able to make that change on their own—we have to actually address the practices of major corporations and our country as a whole,” Neece added.

On a smaller scale, the proposal aims to provide households with “a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security.” Additionally, “high-quality health care” is tacked to the list of goals.

The Green New Deal does not go without criticism, as it does not explicitly state how to successfully address its proposals. Additionally, not only do the goals appear unattainable based on the timeline it lays out, such as reducing greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by 2030 or completely redoing transportation systems, the cost of implementing health care and secure jobs for all Americans is overwhelming to some, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, who said, “There’s no way to pay for it,” according to Independent.

Regarding the controversy, Joel Haber-Cruz, President of Students for Sustainability Club at Auraria, said there’s been “extreme jargon made up to discourage Americans to support such an ambitious and loud piece of legislation,” adding that like the New Deal from the 1930s, the Green New Deal will “assist America out the economic depression by investing in infrastructure, create high wage jobs, and grow the lower and middle class.”

Neece added, “Ultimately, I am unsure of what is to come with this resolution—it is facing a lot of pushback—but I believe it has started an important conversation and will hopefully spark the momentous change that is vital to the future of this country and planet.”

Even if the Green New Deal is passed, there is a long road ahead to reach the goals set in the proposal.

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