The Green New Deal Framework is Introduced to Address Climate Change and Economic Inequality

Mon Mar 4th, On Environmental Law, by

On February 7, 2019, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex, D-N.Y., and Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass, introduced the framework for the Green New Deal in House Resolution 109 (H. RES. 109). This proposal aims to eliminate all carbon emissions resulting from transportation, agriculture, and electricity generation within the United States. It also strives to create job opportunities and economic security along the way. Ocasio-Cortex believes that “the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us.” She is confident the Green New Deal will be significant and comprehensive enough to help mitigate climate change and economic insecurities.

The house resolution seeks to reduce 40-60% of greenhouse gas emission release by 2030 and to obtain net-zero global emissions by 2050. The sweeping resolution also addresses other hot-topic issues within the United States, such as equal access to clean water, healthy food, and adequate health care.

H. RES. 109 details the goals it hopes to accomplish under the plan: “(A) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers; (B) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; (C) to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century; (D) to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—(i) clean air and water; (ii) climate and community resiliency; (iii) healthy food; (iv) access to nature; and (v) a sustainable environment; and (E) to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples…” Finally, the resolution summarizes the 10-year national mobilization which specifies methods to accomplish the goals mentioned above.

These goals are ambitious and some even say “potentially impossibly big.” Opponents argue that these goals are questionable and the cost of making the economic transition would be significant. Further, the Green New Deal would be a non-binding resolution if it were passed. As a result, the resolution would not establish any new programs, instead “it would potentially affirm the sense of the House that these things should be done in the coming years”.

Regardless, the resolution has received enthusiastic support from liberal Democrats and is an issue that is being considered in the 2020 congressional elections. On February 12, 2019, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed an early vote in the Senate. The vote is to take place before the August recess – scheduled for August 5, 2019. McConnell believes this will reveal honest opinions and ultimately end the debate.

The California Environmental Attorneys at Bick Law LLP will continue to monitor legislation that addresses climate change and effects the environment.


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