Nancy Pelosi appeared to poke fun at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ambitious proposal to create a carbon neutral economy within ten years, referring to the plan as “the green dream or whatever they call it”.
The New York congresswoman and senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, unveiled a proposal termed the Green New Deal, they say will tackle climate change, transform the economy, and create large numbers of jobs in renewable energy.
“Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez told NPR, ahead of the plan’s unveiling. “It could be part of a larger solution, 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.”
Yet ahead of the unveiling of the unbinding proposal, of which the 29-year-old congressman has spearheaded, Ms Pelosi, the Democratic speaker, appeared dismissive.
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Ms Pelosi told Politico. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”
Watchers of Capitol Hill suggested Ms Pelosi’s referral to the “green dream”, rather than the “green new deal”, was an intentional clipping of the wings of Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who has a national profile unlike any other junior congresswoman in history.
“Pelosi knows exactly what she’s doing here. Her utter dismissiveness of the “Green New Deal” – and, by extension, AOC, who is the member most closely identified with it, is entirely intentional,” wrote CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza.
“Pelosi knows that AOC is a rising national power – particularly among the most activist and liberal left. Given Ocasio-Cortez’s profile – and her influence among young, liberal members — Pelosi knows she can’t just ignore what the New York Democrat says and does. But she isn’t going to kowtow to AOC either.”
Ms Pelosi has a reputation as being a strong supporter of environment-friendly policies. On Thursday, she told reporters she welcomed all proposals, and the “enthusiasm” of those pushing them.
“Quite frankly I haven’t seen it, but I do know that it’s enthusiastic, and we welcome all the enthusiasm that’s out there,” she said. “I’m very excited about it all, and I welcome the Green New Deal and any other proposals.”
Also on Thursday, Ms Pelosi selected eight Democrats to the new special climate change committee, but observers were quick to point out that Ms Ocasio-Cortez was not among them.
“This new select committee will spearhead Democrats’ work to develop innovative, effective solutions to prevent and reverse the climate crisis,” Ms Pelosi said in a statement.
The proposal unveiled Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Mr Markey would place the US on “a wartime-level, just economic mobilisation plan to get to 100 per cent renewable energy”. Cost estimates for the sprawling proposal range into the trillions, the Associated Press reported.
The resolution resolution drafted by the pair sets a goal to meet “100 per cent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources”, including dramatic increases in wind and solar power.
Recently, the New York congresswoman has been drawing attention to a UN-backed climate report published last year said the effects of climate change to be irreversible and unavoidable if carbon emissions were were drastically reduced within 12 years.
“Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’” she said at a forum in Harlem.