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Group backing Green New Deal blasts O'Rourke's climate plan

Group backing Green New Deal blasts O'Rourke's climate plan

A major group behind the Green New Deal on Monday attacked a campaign climate proposal from former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeTexas Republican criticizes Cruz for Cancun trip: 'When a crisis hits my state, I'm there' Progressives target 'Cancun Cruz' in ad to run on 147 Texas radio stations 'Get off TV': Critics blast Abbott over handling of Texas power outages following winter storm MORE (D-Texas), arguing the plan isn't aggressive enough when it comes to certain timelines and goals.

O'Rourke on Monday released a plan that calls for a $5 trillion commitment to fighting climate change and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Sunrise Movement, a youth climate organization that backs the Green New Deal, points to scientists who argue the U.S. must act by 2030.

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“We’re glad to see Beto release a climate plan as his first policy and commit to making it a day one priority for his administration. He gets a lot right in this plan,” Varshini Prakash, executive director of the group, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, Beto gets the science wrong and walks back his commitments from earlier this month in Iowa to move to net-zero emissions by 2030. Beto claims to support the Green New Deal, but his plan is out of line with the timeline it lays out and the scale of action that scientists say is necessary to take here in the United States to give our generation a livable future.”

Sunrise wants every 2020 candidate to commit to a 2030 timeline.

"This historic $5 trillion investment is not only the world’s largest ever climate change investment in infrastructure, innovation, and our communities but it is also in line with the 2050 emissions goal of the Green New Deal," a spokesman for O'Rourke said in a statement to The Hill. 

The group argues the Green New Deal, a resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Detailed sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo 'painful to read' The GOP's uncertain future Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (D-N.Y) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyLawmakers commemorate one-year anniversary of Arbery's killing Democrats revive debate over calling impeachment witnesses LIVE COVERAGE: Senate trial moves to closing arguments MORE (D-Mass.), will be essential for courting young voters in the next presidential election.

Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to requests for comment.

While there is agreement among climate scientists that swift action is needed to ease the ramifications of global warming, the timeline proposed in the Green New Deal, along with the heavy reliance on renewables, has divided Democrats.

O’Rourke’s plan calls for getting halfway toward net-zero emissions by 2030, with the former lawmaker saying he would work with Congress within his first 100 days in office to set legally enforceable standards for reducing emissions. He said he also would end leases for fossil fuel production on federal lands and recommit the U.S. to the Paris climate accord.

Aliya Haq, a senior climate adviser to the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, said while O’Rourke’s timelines could be more aggressive, his plan hit several key components needed to address global warming.

“Sunrise is right that we need to make very serious progress by 2030. We need to see aggressive emissions cuts in the next 10 years without a doubt,” she said. “I think [O’Rourke] is hitting all the key themes we need to see in a full climate platform, which is long-term emission goals as well as need for investment and the need to start acting Day One of a new presidency. And a recognition it’s not just about cutting carbon pollution but getting communities ready for the impacts of climate change.”

O’Rourke is not the first 2020 hopeful to unveil a climate plan, but his proposal is broader than some of his Democratic competitors.

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerObama says reparations 'justified' Congressional Black Caucus unveils '100 Day Plan' Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill MORE (D-N.J.) unveiled an environmental justice initiative on Friday, while Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill Exclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren Minimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster MORE (D-Mass.) proposed an end to drilling on federal lands as part of a broader public lands proposal.

Another White House hopeful, Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington state officials warn providers offering VIP vaccine access Legislators go after governors to rein in COVID-19 powers Inslee rebukes hospital over vaccine appointments for donors MORE (D), has made climate change the centerpiece of his campaign.