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'RourkeOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Yang campaign says it received 450K entries for 'Freedom Dividend' contest 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-CortezGreta Thunberg scolds Congress on climate action: 'I know you are trying but just not hard enough' Ocasio-Cortez endorses challenger to Democrat Lipinski in Illinois race The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? MORE (D-N.Y) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGreta Thunberg scolds Congress on climate action: 'I know you are trying but just not hard enough' Obama meets with Greta Thunberg: 'One of our planet's greatest advocates' Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight 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 Anthony BookerMark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs Biden leads in new national poll, Warren close behind in second place MORE (D-N.J.) unveiled an environmental justice initiative on Friday, while Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs 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 InsleeThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate 5 takeaways from fiery Democratic debate Left off debate stage, Bullock all-in on Iowa MORE (D), has made climate change the centerpiece of his campaign.