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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey unveil Green New Deal

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Could the Green New Deal hurt Democrats in 2020?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected congresswoman, along with Massachusetts senator Ed Markey, have unveiled their Green New Deal, a blueprint on how to fight climate change.

The resolution aims to change how the United States gets its energy, reducing its reliance on oil, gas and coal.

But could the Republicans turn it into a political weapon against the Democrats?

The Claim

While climate change may not be the "sexiest" of topics to discuss, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson argues, but it is the biggest, most important story of our time.

He argues: "Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will judge us by how well we meet the challenge, and so far we are failing. Miserably."

The resolution to this challenge could the Green New Deal. He notes that the purpose of the resolution is "not to propose specific, detailed policy prescriptions", but instead lay out the enormous scale of the climate change problem - and call for a "new national, social, industrial and economic mobilisation".

Robinson adds: "Sooner or later, we’re going to have to go big on climate change. So let’s start thinking big."

The Counterclaim

However, the Green New Deal could be used against the Democrats in 2020. Appearing on Fox News' Special Report, Axios reporter Jonathan Swan said that the policy idea could be a gift for the Republicans.

He said that "it’s like Christmas and Hanukkah and every other holiday" for the Trump campaign. He told the panel that the Republicans are going to talk about the Green New Deal than the Democrats.

Swan added: "I’ve never seen them so joyful and full of glee. They’re gonna elevate this and talk about it 'til the cows come home."

The Facts

The Green New Deal has the support of 60 House Democrats and nine Senate Democrats, according to the New Yorker. These include five potential or announced presidential contenders: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bernie Sanders.

The resolution aims to develop a carbon-neutral economy in 10 years, with the ambition for the United States to get all of its power from “clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources”.

It also advocates for universal healthcare, a jobs guarantee and free higher education.

The deal calls for the elimination of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but it contains no mention of bans or regulation, CNN notes. It does contain a provision for existing and new laws to take into account the negative consequences of climate change.

That's nothing new, however - the Obama administration had attempted to incorporate the "social cost of carbon" into rulemaking, something which the Trump administration rolled back.

The Green New Deal emphasises massive public investment into renewable energy, zero-emission vehicles, energy-efficient buildings, and smart power grids. It also wants to "working collaboratively" with farmers and ranchers by making agriculture more sustainable.

One of the goals of the resolution is “to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of colour, migrant communities, deindustrialised communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth”.

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Washington Post

Opinion | A 'Green New Deal' sounds like pie in the sky. But we need it.

Let's consider some real news, for a change: Last year was officially proclaimed the fourth-warmest on record; scientists predict that melting ice in Antarctica and Greenland could not only raise sea levels but also further destabilize weather patterns; and progressive members of Congress are proposing a "Green New Deal," the first policy framework ambitious enough to meet the challenge of global warming.

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