Ocasio-Cortez unveils Green New Deal climate resolution

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWhy Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence The Hill Interview: Jerry Brown on climate disasters, COVID-19 and Biden's 'Rooseveltian moment' House Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday introduced a new climate change resolution with aims to bring the progressive Green New Deal to life legislatively and push the U.S. to take a lead role in reducing carbon emissions through the economy.

The proposal, titled “Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal,” has a goal of creating millions of “good, high-wage jobs” by striving for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyMassachusetts town clerk resigns after delays to primary vote count Bogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration Senate Democrats urge Amazon to recall, stop sales of explosive products MORE (D-Mass.) is introducing a companion proposal in the upper chamber.

ADVERTISEMENT

The legislation offers a natural transition for Ocasio-Cortez, who before even formally entering office championed the idea of a Green New Deal as the basis for creating a special committee on climate change.

Engaging in a sit-in at Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled Overnight Defense: Top admiral says 'no condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' | Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings Pelosi must go — the House is in dire need of new leadership MORE’s (D-Calif.) office with members of the youth climate advocates the Sunrise Movement, Ocasio-Cortez pushed to make climate change a main focus of the Democratic Party as they took back control of the House.

Her proposed special committee was ultimately rejected by Democratic leaders, who opted instead for a panel on climate crisis that lacks legislative and subpoena power. Pelosi Thursday announced the names of eight members of Congress who will sit on that panel. Ocasio-Cortez is not one of them.

The resolution aims to continue the tenants of that committee, priming congressional leaders to accept the dire climate situation as laid out in this November’s United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that the world has 12 years to reverse emissions trends in order to thwart irreversible global warming.

“Whereas, because the United States has historically been responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions, having emitted 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions through 2014, and has a high technological capacity, the United States must take a leading role in reducing emissions through economic transformation,” the resolution reads.

ADVERTISEMENT
The proposal says that accomplishing the plan would take a 10 year “national mobilization” and would include resilience building, a 100 percent renewable-energy driven power grid, updating “smart” power grids and increasing building energy efficiency. Buried in the resolution is also a commitment that all future infrastructure bills would specifically address climate change.

The text also calls for a long wish list for Ocasio-Cortez, including seeking environmental changes not directly related to climate change such as supporting family farming, guaranteeing universal access to clean drinking water and investments in high-speed railroads.

“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, to our country, to the world,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview on NPR on Thursday.

“This is really about providing justice for communities and just transitions for communities. So, really the heart of the Green New Deal is about social justice.”

In a statement released Thursday, Varshini Pakash, founder and executive director of the Sunrise Movement, said, “Young people put the Green New Deal on the national agenda. The historic support for this resolution, especially among 2020 contenders, shows how far the movement has shifted the political conversation.”

The proposal has been met in some instances with scorn from people on the right, who criticize it as a radical pipe dream rather than an achievable climate goal. 

While a number of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, from Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSuburban moms are going to decide the 2020 election Jon Stewart urges Congress to help veterans exposed to burn pits The Hill's Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida MORE (D-N.Y.) to Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDHS opens probe into allegations at Georgia ICE facility Democratic lawmakers call for an investigation into allegations of medical neglect at Georgia ICE facility Black Voters Matter Fund deploying voter outreach caravans in 12 states to drive turnout MORE (D-N.J.), have openly embraced “the concept” of the Green New Deal, they too at times have been reserved in what components of the massive undertaking they are getting behind.

The proposal comes a day after two congressional hearings Wednesday focused on addressing climate change. The hearings in the House Natural Resources and the Energy and Commerce committees were the first on the topic in nine and six years, respectively, and Democratic leadership has vowed to make the issue of curbing greenhouse gas emissions front and center in their new majority.

While many Republicans on the committees said they would try to work with Democrats to find common ground on the issue, at least one lawmaker, Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusBottom line Bottom Line Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic MORE (R-Ill.), called the proposal “radical.”

“We should be open to the fact that wealth transfer schemes suggested in the radical policies like the Green New Deal may not be the best path to community prosperity and preparedness,” Shimkus said.

According to The Washington Post, Gillibrand and Booker will sponsor the plan along with other 2020 hopefuls Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisScott Walker helping to prep Pence for debate against Harris: report California family frustrated that governor, Harris used fire-damaged property for 'photo opportunity' Moderna releases coronavirus vaccine trial plan as enrollment pushes toward 30,000 MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon No new taxes for the ultra rich — fix bad tax policy instead MORE (D-Mass.).

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMcConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by 'downplaying progress' on election security The Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters Why Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence MORE (I-Vt.), who is also considering a run for the White House, will also back the plan.  

Co-sponsors of the bill in the House include Reps. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaThe Hill Interview: Jerry Brown on climate disasters, COVID-19 and Biden's 'Rooseveltian moment' Congress needs to prioritize government digital service delivery DeJoy defends Postal Service changes at combative House hearing MORE (D-Calif.), Joe NeguseJoseph (Joe) NeguseRaces heat up for House leadership posts Trump backs bill to establish suffragist monument in DC Democrats introduce bill to ban chlorpyrifos, other pesticides to protect farmworkers MORE (D-Colo.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDHS opens probe into allegations at Georgia ICE facility Progressive Caucus co-chair: Whistleblower complaint raises questions about 'entire detention system' Buttigieg, former officials added to Biden's transition team MORE (D-Wash.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanClark rolls out endorsements in assistant Speaker race Hillicon Valley: Pentagon reaffirms decision to award JEDI contract to Microsoft | Schiff asks officials for briefing on election security threats Democrats explore new ways to resurrect election security briefings MORE (D-Wis.).