The Green New Deal

If you’re somewhat aware of the current political climate, you may have heard of the Green New Deal in either a very positive or very negative light. Before taking a stance on the Green New Deal, the most important thing to know is what it aims to do and how it will achieve its goal. Well-known Democratic politicians such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders are in support of the Green New Deal. So, what is it?

                        Image Credit to Pinterest (Students Protest at Rep. Nancy Pelosi's Office)

The Green New Deal (GND), according to the Green Party’s website, aims for an economy that optimizes environment sustainability by delocalizing funds from environmentally harmful projects such as those pursued by the oil, mining, nuclear, coal, and timber businesses. Instead, the GND proposes a move to 100% clean energy by 2030—that is, by looking to wind, solar, and geothermal energy sources rather than the harmful ones stated prior. Right now, the world’s atmosphere contains 390 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide emissions; climate scientists argue that the world must aim to stay below 450 ppm of carbon dioxide emissions in order to remain below 2 degrees Celsius of global warming. As the world continues to engage in harmful energy sources and activities that produce absurd amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, we get further and further away from preventing irreversible consequences of climate change. Even as little as 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming can cause drastic rises in sea levels and cause more extreme weather. The United States and China are two of the biggest emitters in the world, which puts even more pressure on the U.S. to take action in protecting our environment. It is important now more than ever to pay attention to our energy usage and wastefulness.

 

                                             Image Credit to Pexels

The Green New Deal not only looks to protect the environment, but also to protect those citizens who have been disenfranchised of economic stability and healthcare. According to the Green Party’s website, the GND will be fulfilled by community effort, employing the unemployed by providing approximately 20 million jobs in the U.S. in the transition to a 100% clean energy society by 2030. Those who decide to commit themselves to achieving clean energy and moving away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits in their transition. The amount of people suffering from fossil fuel-related diseases such as asthma, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer will ideally decrease as the environment becomes cleaner. The GND prioritizes clean energy, economic equality, and healthcare as human rights, emphasizing the importance of beginning this transition to clean energy in low-income communities and in communities where people of color are exploited.

                                           Image Credit to Pexels

The GND sounds almost too good to be true. What are the oppositions to such a good-intentioned, democratic plan?

Right-wing politicians, including the president, are estimating that the Green New Deal will cost $93 trillion, the president rounding up to $100 trillion. The president is inciting the fear that America’s economy will collapse due to the price of GND and will ultimately strip the U.S. of its global-renowned energy. The $93 trillion budget, however, has been estimated by a biased institution, the American Action Forum, a right-leaning organization that is sister to the American Action Network, a nonprofit conservative organization that has donated millions of dollars to Republican politicians. Because the GND has not even been properly voted on by the government, it is extremely difficult to determine its budget, according to some experts. Many citizens are opposed to the GND due to the implication that it will absurdly increase taxes on citizens. Again, it is too early to determine the economic implications of the GND because it hasn’t been properly proposed in government.

However, it is important to note that the government will fund what it values. The GND values a clean environment and rights to economic stability and healthcare. World War II was the most expensive war in U.S. history, costing about $4 trillion; in 1945, defense spending accounted for about 40% of gross domestic product (GDP). Given that the country can value war and spend trillions of dollars on defense, it seems reasonable that we can also value our environment, economy, and overall well-being of our people, despite the cost so long as everyone is provided the opportunity to live economically-stable lives.

                                           Image Credit to Pixabay

In general, the GND seems like the ideal plan to protecting our environment and people. The very loose idea of the GND is not enough to provide a budget to fulfill the plan. Despite it not having been actualized yet, it is a plan that our country should aspire for. Right now is the time to protect our environment and strive for a democracy that champions equality and sustainability. The GND embodies important ideas such as economic, social, racial, sexual, and gender equality. If not to be implemented, the Green New Deal should at least act as an inspiration for our priorities as a democratic society and as moral human beings.