Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making good on her promise to make the fight against climate change one of her main legislative priorities. The freshman congresswoman, alongside Sen. Ed Markey, will be introducing Thursday a resolution outlining the goals and specifics of the Green New Deal, Refinery29 has learned.
The Green New Deal, an ambitious reform that seeks to tackle climate change and income inequality in the next decade, used to be discussed mostly on the fringes. But Ocasio-Cortez helped launch it into the nation's consciousness soon after being elected, leading to an electrifying debate over how the nation plans to fight the threat of climate change.
It worked: According to a mid-December poll, a staggering 81% of registered voters said they supported supportive of some the general policies discussed by Green New Deal proponents, including transitioning the U.S. to using 100% clean energy and providing training for green jobs. Per the survey, 92% Democrats, 88% Independents, and 64% Republicans supported the proposal.
Thursday's resolution, which Refinery29 has reviewed, is the closest to an "official" Green New Deal we've seen so far. Some of the goals outlined include achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years, the creation of green jobs, upgrading infrastructure so it's energy efficient, and more. The resolution says it's the "duty of the federal government" to create the Green New Deal and the legislation that would allow for this type of reform to become a reality.
Nine senators and 60 House members support the plan, according to the Washington Post. These includes several 2020 presidential contenders: Sens. Cory Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. All had previously endorsed the Green New Deal.
"In 2018, young people put the Green New Deal on the national agenda," Varshini Prakash, founder and executive director of Sunrise Movement, said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "The historic support for this resolution, especially among 2020 contenders, shows how far the movement has shifted the political conversation. The Green New Deal is now a litmus test for progressive leadership in 2019."
Other grassroots organizations tasked with fighting climate change also expressed support for the resolution introduced by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey. The Peoples Climate Movement national director Paul Getsos said in a statement provided to Refinery29: "As outlined in this resolution, a Green New Deal presents a bold vision for America. It’s an America with deeply reduced carbon emissions, millions of families sustained by union jobs, restored public investment in our infrastructure across multiple sectors of the economy, clean air and water for all, and both leadership from and justice for workers, communities of color, and other communities on the front lines of climate change. The final version of an ambitious plan like this will take time to get right, but we can only get it right if we move forward, and move forward together now."
Climate change is perhaps the greatest threat against humanity. A report released by the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change found that by 2040 — 21 years from now — the globe would be in absolute crisis, struggling with everything from food shortages and extreme poverty to wildfires, droughts, and the death of coral reefs. Another report, commissioned and released by the U.S. government in November, concluded that not only the environment will be threatened by climate change in the next century — both public health and the national economy are also at risk. The only way to fight climate change, the UN panel said, is to transform the global economy at a scale and pace that has "no documented historic precedent."
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey will discuss further details at a press conference at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
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