There seem to be constant reminders now of the dangers that climate change poses to humanity.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., think they have a start to a solution. Thursday they are introducing a framework defining what they call a "Green New Deal" — what they foresee as a massive policy package that would remake the U.S. economy and, they hope, eliminate all U.S. carbon emissions.
That's a really big — potentially impossibly big — undertaking.
What is the Green New Deal?
In very broad strokes, the Green New Deal legislation laid out by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey sets goals for some drastic measures to cut carbon emissions across the economy, from electricity generation to transportation to agriculture. In the process, it aims to create jobs and boost the economy.
The bill calls for a "10-year national mobilizations" toward accomplishing a series of goals that the resolution lays out.
- "upgrading all existing buildings" in the country for energy efficiency;
- working with farmers "to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions ... as much as is technologically feasible" (while supporting family farms and promoting "universal access to healthy food");
- "Overhauling transportation systems" to reduce emissions — including expanding electric car manufacturing, building "charging stations everywhere," and expanding high-speed rail to "a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary";
- A guaranteed job "with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security" for every American;
- "High-quality health care" for all Americans.
According to Jesse Jenkins, a postdoctoral environmental fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, that may be an unreachable goal.
"Where we need to be targeting really is a net-zero carbon economy by about 2050, which itself is an enormous challenge and will require reductions in carbon emissions much faster than have been achieved historically," he said. "2030 might be a little bit early to be targeting."
What are your thoughts; is the outline feasible, worth discussing, or outright ridiculous?