Can the Green New Deal actually work in the U.S.?


Fact Box

  • In January 2019, over 600 environmental groups representing millions of members and supporters published a letter to encourage the 116th Congress to “aggressively and quickly” address climate change legislation. While not identical to the GND, many of the actions laid out in the letter were similar to the elements included in the GND as it was introduced one month later in February 2019 [1]. 
  • The GND is the 14-page non-binding resolution released on February 7, 2019, and helmed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey. The full text of the resolution and further information is available for anyone to read (see links) [2,3]. 
  • The GND’s FAQ was released the same day and outlines 15 social and economic justice and security requirements. Three of the 15 include (1) providing high-quality health care, housing, economic security, and clean air, clean water, healthy food, and nature to all, (2) investing in R&D of new clean and renewable energy technologies, and (3) ensuring that all GND jobs are union jobs that pay prevailing wages and hire locally. For some, the FAQ sheet itself was viewed as more controversial than the actual GND, as it, for instance, promises economic stability for those “unwilling to work” among other costly entitlements [4,5].  
  • The GND boasted 96 co-sponsors. But on March 26, 2019, the resolution failed to pass in the Senate with a vote of 0-57, with 43 Democrats voting present to refrain from taking a formal position. 60 votes were required for the measure to pass [6].
  • The fastest-growing segment of U.S. energy-sector employment is energy efficiency. More than 2.3 million Americans now account for 28% of all U.S energy jobs. Nationwide, energy efficiency workers outnumber fossil fuel workers by 2 to 1 [7].
  • President Trump has claimed the US has the world’s “cleanest air”, “cleanest climate”, and the “cleanest water.” Out of 180 countries, the U.S. ranks 10th for clean air (but 88th on exposure to particulate matter) and 29th for water and sanitation. The U.S. is ranked in first place for clean water, but they are tied with 9 other countries [8]. 
  • The resolution’s name (GND) is a nod to The New Deal, which was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1936 [9].

Michele (Yes)

Yes, the Green New Deal (GND) can work in the United States, but not in its current form. To date, the GND has only been proposed as a non-binding resolution in the House of Representatives. No hearings have been held, no expert testimony has been presented, and the House has not even outlined its plans for moving forward on the resolution. Despite this, the Senate voted about one month after its introduction to defeat the resolution, a move which Senate Democrats declared was a “sham” vote [1]. Since its introduction, the only action the House has taken on the resolution is to refer it to several different committees and their subcommittees [2].

But action must be taken “aggressively and quickly” to address climate change legislation, to create new high-quality union jobs with year-on-year growth potential, to invest in R&D, and to clean up the air we breathe and the water we drink.

As discussed in the GND Fact Sheet, “this is our Moonshot,” our Interstate Highway System, our World War II mobilization [3]. The GND is not just an expenditure; it’s a massive investment in our society, our economy, our environment, and our children’s future. Over 90% of Democrats and over 50% of Republicans support the GND [4]. Millions of members and supporters of over 600 environmental groups support most of the ideas outlined in the GND [5]. Why wouldn’t Americans want to be part of an effort to take a leadership role for our country and our world to ensure it is habitable for future generations? The question is not can the GND work in the United States; the problem is, can the goals and actions be completed in time to prevent catastrophic damage to our planet? [6]

Suzanne (No)

Nancy Pelosi called the GND a “Green Dream” [1]. But it’s more than dreamlike - it’s a large-scale, centralized-government nightmare that promises more prosperity for bureaucrats than citizens [2]. Not only is the GND an economically disastrous plan [3] projected to cost $93 trillion [4] while devastating every household and business nationwide [5,6,7,8,9], it’s amoral – reimagining a socialist America [10,11,12], all for the sake of a global non-emergency [13,14,15,16]. 

The GND requires the systematic dismantling of industries, individual freedom, and independence, all the while offering no fossil-free alternative technology to execute its lofty aspirations. People everywhere need cars, planes, and boats for work, travel, and trade. Food production, distribution, winter heating and summer cooling, life-saving medical services, and industries across the globe all require fossil fuels. The GND wishes to abolish it. Fossil fuels are cheap, affordable, and some scientists believe aren’t negatively contributing to climate change but might actually be positive for the environment [17,18]. If environmental elites were serious about attaining clean energy, they would look to the already existent solution – Nuclear – which accounts for 20% of America’s energy generation [19]. 

 But the GND isn’t actually concerned with climate change [20]. The promises of guaranteed and “free” entitlements within the plan are a way officials will make Americans dependent on a government nanny state. Pinning it on climate panic makes the public easily manipulated by the people in power. Big problems need big programs. Big programs need big budgets. Big budgets need big power to execute them. The GND, propagated as “investment,” is just another name for socialism – which has never worked anywhere and relies on promises of grandeur, intimidation, and calls for urgency.

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