WASHINGTON – A freshman member of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives unveiled on Thursday her ambitious plan to combat climate change by drastically reducing the United States’ greenhouse-gas emissions.
Introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – a New York Democrat and self-described “democratic socialist” – and Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the resolution sets forth the objectives of a longstanding progressive initiative known as the Green New Deal.
“It is the duty of the federal government to create a Green New Deal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers,” the resolution reads.
The fate of the plan is unclear given that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s initial reaction to it was lukewarm and that Republicans hold a majority in the Senate.
Republican President Donald Trump’s administration furthermore pulled the US out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord and has taken steps to increase the production of fossil fuels such as oil and coal.
The resolution calls for accomplishing a series of “Green New Deal goals,” which include achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, creating millions of high-wage jobs, investing in infrastructure to meet 21st-century challenges and ensuring clean air and water and a sustainable environment.
It also calls for “promoting justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities” and other “frontline and vulnerable communities.”
The resolution proposes achieving those objectives through a “10-year national mobilization” that will require, among other things, “building resiliency against climate change-related disasters,” repairing and upgrading US infrastructure and “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources.”
It also calls for “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency” and providing economic guarantees to workers in fossil-fuel industries to ease their transition to jobs in the renewable-energy sector.
Pelosi, a Democrat from California, reacted with skepticism to the resolution, saying it was just one of several suggestions she will receive on fighting climate change.
“The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?” Pelosi said in an interview with the Politico news outlet.
In a subsequent press conference, Pelosi appeared more receptive, saying she had not yet seen Ocasio-Cortez’s plan but welcomed “the enthusiasm that is there.”
She also announced the creation of a new special House committee focused on climate. Ocasio-Cortez, who took office in January and at age 29 is the youngest member of the US Congress, will not be on that panel.