There’s been a lot of talk about The Green New Deal. Beyond the headlines, what is it really? Given our energy needs, is it practical? Can we have an abundance of energy and a clean planet?
Alex Epstein, the author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, considers these questions and has thought-provoking answers.
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What is the Green New Deal
Senator Edward Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a fourteen-page resolution for their Green New Deal on February 7, 2019. According to The Washington Post (February 11, 2019), the resolution calls for a “10-year national mobilization” whose primary goals would be:
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.
According to Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff, the Green New Deal was not originally related to climate at all.
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” 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. As of April 2019, while Democratic members continue to push for the Green New Deal in hopes of converting the country to renewable energy, providing healthcare for all, and creating surplus jobs, Republican lawmakers have continuously rejected the resolution. President Donald Trump has spoken out against the Green New Deal and has referred to climate change as a “hoax.”