Ocasio-Cortez unveils Green New Deal climate resolution

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezGOP senator voices concern about Trump order, hasn't decided whether he'll back it Ocasio-Cortez in Bronx speech: New Yorkers deserve ‘dignified jobs’ Amazon exec invites Ocasio-Cortez to tour facilities after criticism 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 MarkeyGreen New Deal Resolution invites big picture governing We can have a Green New Deal, and air travel too 2020 Dem slams Green New Deal: As realistic as Trump's claim that Mexico will pay for wall 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiNational emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win Congress allows Violence Against Women Act to lapse High stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks 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 Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Sanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president MORE (D-N.Y.) to Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 Dems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters 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 ShimkusDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Lawmakers beat lobbyists at charity hockey game Ocasio-Cortez unveils Green New Deal climate resolution 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 Devi HarrisKamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Sanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDNC punts on measure to reduce role of corporate PAC money Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president MORE (D-Mass.).

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 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) KhannaOvernight Defense: House votes to end US support for Saudis in Yemen | Vote puts Trump in veto bind | Survey finds hazards in military housing | Senators offer new bill on Russia sanctions House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen Congress poised to put Trump in veto bind MORE (D-Calif.), Joe NeguseJoseph (Joe) NeguseOcasio-Cortez unveils Green New Deal climate resolution Progressives say dire climate reports point to need for ‘Green New Deal’ Rising Extra: Colorado's first black congressman-elect says midterms offer hope for future MORE (D-Colo.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Push for cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill | Court lets Dems defend ObamaCare | Flu season not as severe as last year, CDC says Democrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Utah tests Trump on Medicaid expansion | Dems roll out Medicare buy-in proposal | Medicare for all could get hearing next month | Doctors group faces political risks on guns MORE (D-Wash.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanHannity decries Green New Deal as 'economically guaranteed-to-be-devastating' Ocasio-Cortez unveils Green New Deal climate resolution Trump’s AIDS turnaround greeted with skepticism by some advocates MORE (D-Wis.).