Green New Deal
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The Green New Deal (GND) is a proposed economic stimulus program in the United States that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. The name refers to the New Deal, a set of social and economic reforms and public works projects undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The Green New Deal combines Roosevelt's economic approach with modern ideas such as renewable energy and resource efficiency.
In the 116th Congress, it is a pair of resolutions, H. Res. 109/ S. Res. 59, sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). Markey's resolution will be voted on March 25, 2019, with many Democrats planning to vote "present."
An early use of the term "Green New Deal" was by journalist Thomas Friedman. He argued in favor of the idea in two pieces that appeared in The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine. In January 2007, Friedman wrote:
If you have put a windmill in your yard or some solar panels on your roof, bless your heart. But we will only green the world when we change the very nature of the electricity grid – moving it away from dirty coal or oil to clean coal and renewables. And that is a huge industrial project – much bigger than anyone has told you. Finally, like the New Deal, if we undertake the green version, it has the potential to create a whole new clean power industry to spur our economy into the 21st century.
This approach was subsequently taken up by the Green New Deal Group, which published its eponymous report on July 21, 2008. The concept was further popularized and put on a wider footing when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began to promote it.
In the spring of 2008, author Jeff Biggers launched a series of challenges for a Green New Deal from the perspective of his writings from coal country in Appalachia and the heartland. Biggers wrote, "Obama should shatter these artificial racial boundaries by proposing a New “Green” Deal to revamp the region and bridge a growing chasm between bitterly divided Democrats, and call for an end to mountaintop removal policies that have led to impoverishment and ruin in the coal fields." Biggers followed up with other Green New Deal proposals on various media venues for the next four years.
On October 22, 2008 UNEP's Executive Director Achim Steiner unveiled the Global Green New Deal initiative that aims to create jobs in "green" industries, thus boosting the world economy and curbing climate change at the same time. It was then turned into an extensive plan by the Green Party of the United States. It was a key part of the platform of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in 2012, and 2016, as well as Howie Hawkins, who helped to write it, in his campaign for governor of New York. The Green Party continued to suggest a Green New Deal in their rebuttal to the 2018 State of the Union speech. The Green New Deal remains officially part of the platform of the Green Party of the United States.
In the United StatesEdit
A November 2018 article in Vogue stated, "There isn’t just one Green New Deal yet. For now, it’s a platform position that some candidates are taking to indicate that they want the American government to devote the country to preparing for climate change as fully as Franklin Delano Roosevelt once did to reinvigorating the economy after the Great Depression."
A week after the 2018 midterm elections, climate justice group Sunrise Movement organized a protest in Nancy Pelosi's office calling on Nancy Pelosi to support a Green New Deal. On the same day, freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched a resolution to create a committee on the Green New Deal. Following this, several candidates came out supporting a "Green New Deal", including Deb Haaland, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Antonio Delgado. They were joined in the following weeks by Reps. John Lewis, Earl Blumenauer, Carolyn Maloney, and José Serrano.
By the end of November, eighteen Democratic members of Congress were co-sponsoring a proposed House Select Committee on a Green New Deal, and incoming representatives Ayanna Pressley and Joe Neguse had announced their support. Draft text would task this committee with a “'detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan' capable of making the U.S. economy 'carbon neutral' while promoting 'economic and environmental justice and equality,'" to be released in early 2020, with draft legislation for implementation within 90 days.
A Sunrise Movement protest on behalf of a Green New Deal at the Capitol Hill offices of Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer on December 10, 2018 featured Lennox Yearwood and speakers as young as age 7, resulting in 143 arrests. Euronews, the pan-European news organization, displayed video of youth with signs saying "Green New Deal," "No excuses", and "Do your job" in its "No Comment" section.
That same day, a poll released by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication indicated that although 82% of registered voters had not heard of the "Green New Deal," it had strong bi-partisan support among voters. A non-partisan description of the general concepts behind a Green New Deal resulted in 40% of respondents saying they “strongly support”, and 41% saying they “somewhat support” the idea.
On January 10, 2019 over 600 organizations submitted a letter to Congress declaring support for policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This includes ending fossil fuel extraction and subsidies, transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2035, expanding public transportation, and strict emission reductions rather than reliance on carbon emission trading.
Green New Deal ResolutionEdit
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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey released a fourteen-page resolution for their Green New Deal on February 7, 2019. According to The Washington Post (February 11, 2019), the resolution calls for a “10-year national mobilization” whose primary goals would be:
- "Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States."
- "Providing all people of the United States with — (i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature."
- "Providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States."
- "Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources."
- "Repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including . . . by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible."
- "Building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘smart’ power grids, and working to ensure affordable access to electricity."
- "Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification."
- "Overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in — (i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; (ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transportation; and (iii) high-speed rail."
- "Spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible."
- "Working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible."
The approach pushes for transitioning the United States to use 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources, including investment into electric cars and high-speed rail systems, and implementing the "social cost of carbon" that has been part of Obama administration's plans for addressing climate change within 10 years. Besides providing new jobs, this Green New Deal is also aimed to address poverty by aiming much of the improvements in the "frontline and vulnerable communities" which include the poor and disadvantaged people. To gain additional support, the resolution includes calls for universal health care, increased minimum wages, and preventing monopolies.
House Select Committee on the Climate CrisisEdit
Various perspectives emerged in late 2018 as to whether to form a committee dedicated to climate, what powers such a committee might be granted, and whether the committee would be specifically tasked with developing a Green New Deal.
Incoming House committee chairs Frank Pallone and Peter DeFazio indicated a preference for handling these matters in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. (Writing in Gentleman's Quarterly, Jay Willis responded that despite the best efforts of Pallone and De Fazio over many years, "the planet's prognosis has failed to improve," providing "pretty compelling evidence that it is time for legislators to consider taking a different approach.")
In contrast, Representative Ro Khanna thought that creating a Select Committee specifically dedicated to a Green New Deal would be a "very commonsense idea", based on the recent example of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming (2007-2011), which had proven effective in developing a 2009 bill for cap-and-trade legislation.
Proposals for the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis did not contain “Green New Deal" language and lacked the powers desired by Green New Deal proponents, such as the ability to subpoena documents or depose witnesses.
January 2019 letter to Congress from environmental groupsEdit
On January 10, 2019, a letter signed by 626 organizations in support of a Green New Deal was sent to all members of Congress. It called for measures such as "an expansion of the Clean Air Act; a ban on crude oil exports; an end to fossil fuel subsidies and fossil fuel leasing; and a phase-out of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2040."
The letter also indicated that signatories would "vigorously oppose" ... “market-based mechanisms and technology options such as carbon and emissions trading and offsets, carbon capture and storage, nuclear power, waste-to-energy and biomass energy.”
Six major environmental groups did not sign on to the letter: the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Environment America, and the Audubon Society.
An article in The Atlantic quoted Greg Carlock, who prepared "a different Green New Deal plan for the left-wing think tank Data for Progress" as responding, “There is no scenario produced by the IPCC or the UN where we hit mid-century decarbonization without some kind of carbon capture.”
The MIT Technology Review responded to the letter with an article titled, "Let’s Keep the Green New Deal Grounded in Science." The MIT article states that, although the letter refers to the "rapid and aggressive action" needed to prevent the 1.5 ˚C of warming specified in the UN climate panel’s latest report, simply acknowledging the report's recommendation is not sufficient. If the letter's signatories start from a position where the options of carbon pricing, carbon capture for fossil plants, hydropower, and nuclear power, are not even on the table for consideration, there may be no feasible technical means to reach the necessary 1.5 ˚C climate goal.
The Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy at George Mason University was quoted as saying, "As long as organizations hold onto a rigid set of ideas about what the solution is, it’s going to be hard to make progress ... And that’s what worries me."
Models for implementationEdit
As of January 2019, models for structuring a Green New Deal remain in the initial stages of discussion.
Although Chuck Schumer has indicated that measures to address climate change and renewable energy must be included in a 2019 infrastructure package, as of December 2018, articles describing his position referred to it as "green infrastructure" rather than as a Green New Deal.
On January 17, 2019, prospective presidential candidate Jay Inslee called for Green New Deal goals of "net-zero carbon pollution by midcentury" and creating "good-paying jobs building a future run on clean energy" in a Washington Post op-ed. However, he framed these efforts in terms of national mobilization, saying "Confronting climate change will require a full-scale mobilization — a national mission that must be led from the White House."
Economic policy and planning for environment and climateEdit
An article in The Intercept characterizes a Green New Deal more broadly, as economic planning and industrial policy measures which would enable mobilization for the environment, similar to the economic mobilization for World War II, and similar to the internal planning of large corporations.
Economist Stephanie Kelton (a proponent of Modern Monetary Policy) and others  argue that natural resources, including a stable, livable climate, are limited resources, whereas money -following the abandonment of the gold standard- is really just a legal and social tool that should be marshaled to provide for sustainable public policies. To this end, a mix of policies and programs could be adopted, including tax incentives and targeted taxes, reformed construction and zoning standards, transportation fleet electrification, coastal shoreline hardening, Farm Bill subsidies linked to carbon capture and renewables generation, and much more. Practically, Kelton argues that the key to implementation is garnering enough political support, rather than becoming fixated on specific "pay-fors." Many proposed Green New Deal programs would generate significant numbers of new jobs.
One proposed model for funding says that "funding would come primarily from certain public agencies, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and 'a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks.'" This model, which has been endorsed by over 40 House members, has been compared to the work of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW, or “Reconstruction Credit Institute,” a large German public sector development bank), the China Development Bank, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Employment programs coupled with business investment for environment and climateEdit
New Deal improvisation as a modelEdit
Although the non-specific nature of current GND proposals has become a concern for some Greens, one writer from the Columbia University Earth Institute views the lack of specificity as a strength, noting that: "FDR’s New Deal was a series of improvisations in response to specific problems that were stalling economic development. There was no master plan, many ideas failed, and some were ended after a period of experimentation. But some, like social security and the Security and Exchange Commission’s regulation of the stock market, became permanent American institutions."
Green skills worker training programsEdit
Existing programs training workers in green skills include a program called Roots of Success, founded in 2008 to bring low-income people into living wage professions. Funding for Roots of Success came from the $90 billion in green initiatives incorporated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Green stimulus under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009Edit
About 12% of ARRA funding went to green investment, and some of these initiatives were successful. A Jan. 2019 article in Politico stated that, "U.S. wind capacity has more than tripled since 2008, while solar capacity is up more than sixfold. LEDs were 1 percent of the lighting market in 2008; now they’re more than half the market. There were almost no plug-in electric vehicles in 2008; now there are more than 1 million on U.S. roads."
Although ARRA's green stimulus projects are of interest for developing proposals for a Green New Deal, its mixed results included both "boosting innovative firms" such as Tesla, and the $535 million failure of the Solyndra solar company." These initial efforts at green stimulus are described as a "cautionary tale." It remains necessary to develop mechanisms for promoting large-scale green business development, as it is unclear whether focusing on job creation programs alone will result in optimizing the climate impact of new jobs.
Many who support some goals of the Green New Deal express doubt about feasibility of one or more parts of it. John P. Holdren, former science advisor to Obama, thinks the 2030 goal is too optimistic, saying that 2045 or 2050 would be more realistic.
Paul Bledsoe of the Progressive Policy Institute, the think tank affiliated with the conservative Democratic Leadership Council, expressed concern that setting unrealistic "aspirational" goals of 100% renewable energy could undermine "the credibility of the effort" against climate change.
Economist Edward Barbier, who developed the "Global Green New Deal" proposal for the United Nations Environment Programme in 2009, opposes "a massive federal jobs program," saying "The government would end up doing more and more of what the private sector and industry should be doing." Barbier prefers carbon pricing, such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, in order to "address distortions in the economy that are holding back private sector innovation and investments in clean energy."
When Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was confronted by youth associated with the Sunrise Movement on why she doesn't support the Green New Deal, she told them "there’s no way to pay for it" and that it could not pass a Republican controlled Senate. In a tweet following the confrontation, Feinstein said that she remains committed "to enact real, meaningful climate change legislation."
In February 2019, the centre-right American Action Forum, estimated that the plan could cost between $51–$93 trillion over the next decade. They estimate its potential cost at $600,000 per household. The organization estimated the cost for eliminating carbon emissions from the transportation system at $1.3–$2.7 trillion; guaranteeing a job to every American $6.8–$44.6 trillion; universal health care estimated close to $36 trillion. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street is willing to invest significant resources toward GND programs, but not unless Congress commits to moving it forward.
The AFL-CIO, in a letter to Ocasio-Cortez, expressed strong reservations about the GND, saying, "We welcome the call for labor rights and dialogue with labor, but the Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the critical sections of our economy." 
Criticism of FAQ documentEdit
Republican politicians have criticized a "Frequently Asked Questions" document once posted to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's website (later removed but still viewable on the Wayback Machine.) Many criticisms centred on a line promising economic security to those "unwilling to work". (Green New Deal advisor Robert C. Hockett stated that this line was present only in "doctored" versions of the FAQ, but later said he had been mistaken.)
- Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General
- Cory Booker, US Senator from New Jersey seeking nomination in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator from New York seeking the nomination in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- Al Gore, environmentalist, filmmaker and former Vice President
- Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator from California seeking the nomination in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- Joe Kennedy III, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts's 4th congressional district
- Naomi Klein
- Paul Krugman
- Bill Maher
- Jeff Merkley, U.S. Senator from Oregon
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Representative from New York's 14th congressional district
- Ayanna Pressley, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts's 7th congressional district
- Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont seeking the nomination in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- Bria Vinaite recorded a "Green New Deal" video for Vogue Magazine in 2018
- Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts seeking the nomination in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- Marianne Williamson, candidate in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator from Oregon
- Andrew Yang, candidate in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- The Climate Mobilization, which advocates a "World War II-scale economic mobilization to restore a safe climate."
- The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DieM25), a pan-european political activist group of over 100.000 members for progressive EU and global economics policy, founded by Yanis Varoufakis 
- The European Green Party and The Greens–European Free Alliance campaigned on the Green New Deal in the European Parliament election, 2009 and maintain an ongoing European "Green New Deal" campaign
- The Global Greens support a Global Green New Deal.
- Green Party of the United States has endorsed the Green New Deal in its party platform.
- The Heinrich Böll Foundation published proposals for a Green New Deal in Germany, the European Union, as well as North America, Israel, and Ukraine.
- The League of Conservation Voters is an American advocacy group for environmental issues
- The New Economics Foundation and The Green New Deal Group (United Kingdom)
- Sierra Club Living Economy Program
- The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, who developed the Low Carbon Green Growth Roadmap for Asia and the Pacific
- The United Nations Environment Programme launched a Green Economy Initiative known as the "Global Green New Deal".
- The Global Marshall Plan Initiative advocates for a sustainable global economy
- On February 9, 2019, United States President Donald Trump voiced his opposition using sarcasm via Twitter as follows: "I think it is very important for the Democrats to press forward with their Green New Deal. It would be great for the so-called “Carbon Footprint” to permanently eliminate all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military – even if no other country would do the same. Brilliant!"
- Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein objected to the plan saying "there's no way to pay for it" and is drafting her own narrowed down version. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin criticized the plan as a "dream" adding that 'it would hurt regions dependent on reliable, affordable energy."
- Republican White House aide Sebastian Gorka has referred to the deal as "what Stalin dreamed about but never achieved" and that "they [proponents of the deal] want to take your pickup truck. They want to rebuild your home. They want to take away your hamburgers." The comments about hamburgers are a common criticism of the deal by conservatives, who have gone on to criticize Representative Ocasio-Cortez for allowing her Chief of Staff to eat a hamburger with her at a Washington restaurant.
- On February 13, 2019, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) released a parody video on his verified Twitter account comparing the Green New Deal to the failed Fyre Festival, using the hashtag #GNDisFyre.
- On March 14, 2019, Rep. Rob Bishop, a Republican representing Utah's 1st congressional district, said that the legislation was "tantamount to genocide," adding shortly afterward that his comment was "maybe an overstatement, but not by a lot."
- Meyer, Robinson. "The Green New Deal Hits Its First Major Snag". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
There’s not a single, official Green New Deal. Much like “Medicare for All,” “Green New Deal” refers more to a few shared goals than to a completed legislative package. (The original New Deal basically worked the same way.) Now a number of environmental groups are trying to make those goals more specific. But they’re running into a snag: The bogeymen that haunted old progressive climate policies are suddenly back again. And the fights aren’t just about nuclear power.
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Many, if not most, Democrats plan to vote present
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- See for example: CNN, Al Jazeera
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As a reader service, we’re going to summarize what’s actually in the Green New Deal from Democrats, and how we ended up with all this confusion.
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Holdren, who is now a professor of environmental policy at Harvard University, said the Green New Deal’s timeline of achieving that goal around 2030 is not feasible. “As a technologist studying this problem for 50 years, I don’t think we can do it,” he said. “There’s hope we could do it by 2045 or 2050 if we get going now,” he added.
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The so-called Green New Deal may tally between $51 trillion and $93 trillion over 10-years, concludes American Action Forum, which is run by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who directed the non-partisan CBO from 2003 to 2005. That includes between $8.3 trillion and $12.3 trillion to meet the plan’s call to eliminate carbon emissions from the power and transportation sectors and between $42.8 trillion and $80.6 trillion for its economic agenda including providing jobs and health care for all.
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The plan’s greatest flaw, critics say, is that it would be too costly. Ocasio-Cortez advocates deficit spending, and she’s floated a 70 percent marginal tax rate for high earners that would generate some of the necessary revenue. But those worried about where the rest of the money will come from are forgetting one major, surprisingly enthusiastic player: Wall Street.
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Past projects referred to as "Green New DealEdit
- Full text of A Green New Deal by the Green New Deal Group and published by the New Economics Foundation (2008)
- UNEP: Global Green New Deal at the Library of Congress Web Archives (archived November 12, 2008)
- Hilary French, Michael Renner and Gary Gardner, Toward a Transatlantic Green New Deal, ed. by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Worldwatch Institute, PDF, 2009
- Caroline Lucas, Wanted: a green 'new deal' The Guardian, April 9, 2008
- Green, easy and wrong. Why a verdant New Deal would be a bad deal, The Economist, November 6, 2008
Green New Deal proposal in 116th CongressEdit
- Text of H. Res. 109: "Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal." Introduced February 7, 2019.
- The Green New Deal could be our only hope: In praise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's vision. Mia MacDonald and Gene Baur for New York Daily News. January 16, 2019.