USA Congressional Democrats have unveiled an unprecedented plan to reverse climate change and eliminate all US carbon emissions within 10 years, by taking drastic steps that would require transformational action across the economy.
The “Green New Deal” introduced by socialist congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a rising Democratic star in the House of Representatives, and Senator Ed Markey is a dramatic, potentially unrealistic, statement of intent on a sustainable path forward.
“This is our first step,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said. “Today is the day we choose to assert ourselves as a global leader in transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy and charting that path.”
The plan does not detail how the US will wean itself off of fossil fuels, or how much the ambitious transformation will cost.
The Republican Party hammered the deal as a “socialist wish list”, which could cost upwards of $US2 trillion ($2.8 trillion).
The non-binding resolution is effectively a blueprint of dramatic action — it proposes “upgrading all existing buildings” in the country, for example — that could be taken to address climate change.
It is already playing a role on the 2020 presidential campaign trail, with radical Democratic hopefuls including senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren expressing support.
“The green generation has risen up, and they are saying they want this issue solved,” Senator Markey said. “So this is going to enter the 2020 election cycle as one of the top two or three issues.”
The ambitious goal, according to the measure, is to achieve “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions”, in part by meeting 100 per cent of the power demand through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who appeared to brush off the resolution as a “green dream” the day before, welcomed the “enthusiasm” with which Democrats were engaging in pushing the framework.
The measure has dozens of sponsors, none of them Republican. The goal to become carbon neutral within a decade will most likely prove ambitious, given the oil and gas industry’s deep entrenchment in the global economy.
One critical factor will be Donald Trump, who pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord.