A Green New Deal: Is This the Only Climate Plan that Makes Sense?

November 15, 2018

Scary ideas


“We need more environmental hardliners in Congress,” she told In These Times magazine earlier this week. “We need a Marshall Plan for renewable energy in the United States. The idea that the Democratic Party needs to be moderate is what’s holding us back on this.”

Ocasio-Cortez wants to make the US run 100% on renewable energy by 2035. Scientists warn that the window of opportunity for staving off dangerous levels of climate change is rapidly closing, and dramatically (and quickly) reducing emissions is the most direct route to avoiding potential environmental catastrophe. Rapidly decarbonizing the US economy by completely shifting to renewables is the best and maybe only way to actually make a difference in climate-change mitigation; any milder approach will almost certainly lead us to miss that window.

The Huffington Post points out that Ocasio-Cortez’s 100%-renewable plan puts her in agreement with a coalition of US mayors who have committed to the goal of complete decarbonization within their own cities. But Ocasio-Cortez, who has an economics degree, also couples that plank with an economic plan she is calling the Green New Deal.

“The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan,” she told the Huffington Post. In short, Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal would temporarily redirect the US economy towards avoiding catastrophic climate change. “We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy,” she said.

Huffington Post:

Voters who cast ballots in the midterm elections overwhelmingly support giving unemployed Americans green jobs and charging companies pollution fees for greenhouse gases, a new poll found.

In a nationwide YouGov survey, 38 percent of respondents said they “strongly” support giving any unemployed American who wants one a job “building energy-efficient infrastructure.” Forty-six percent said they strongly support levying pollution fees on “companies that emit high levels of greenhouse gases.”

Add in the people who said they “somewhat” back such policies, and the support levels surge to 66 percent for both ideas. Subtract those who somewhat or strongly oppose the policies, and the net support for a polluter fee came to 48 percent, and the net support for such green jobs came to 54 percent.

The survey of 3,215 people who said they’d voted in the midterms, conducted between Oct. 27 and Nov. 7, found that 22 percent neither supported nor opposed the green jobs idea or didn’t know. That figure was 16 percent for the polluter fees.

Democrats were more likely to back both ideas. Seventy-five strongly supported a polluter fee and 56 percent favored the green jobs proposal ― numbers that jump to 90 percent and 83 percent, respectively, when those who somewhat support the policies are added.

Just 15 percent of Republicans strongly supported a polluter fee and 18 percent felt similarly about green jobs. But much larger percentages somewhat backed the ideas. In total, 40 percent of Republicans expressed at least some support for a polluter fee and 48 percent at least somewhat endorsed the green jobs policy.

“It’s encouraging that 40 percent of Republicans would support and only 36 percent would oppose a polluter fee,” said former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), now the executive director of RepublicEn, a group that urges Republicans to support a carbon tax.

As for the jobs plan, Inglis said, “Given that we are at or near full employment, the green jobs concept seems a bit distant from our current reality.”


10 Responses to “A Green New Deal: Is This the Only Climate Plan that Makes Sense?”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Ocasio-Cortez for President in 2020! Wait!—-she’ll only be 31 in 2020—-make that O-C for President in 2024! (Let’s hope the Green New Deal arrives in time to make a difference).

  2. ecoquant Says:

    As for the jobs plan, Inglis said, “Given that we are at or near full employment, the green jobs concept seems a bit distant from our current reality.”

    It’s pretty clear an abrupt move away from fossil fuels and their combustion technology will result in job losses in primary and secondary industries. Accordingly there will need to be a replacement. Green jobs are it.

  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I generally think of myself as progressive, but the “free college” seems to be a bridge too far. There’s a wide range between the crippling debt of today’s college costs and free college. Make it much more affordable, certainly, but I prefer it if the students have at least some skin in the game.

    • Abel Adamski Says:

      Realistically it would end up not absolutely free, however for interest, I believe American Students can get free college/university in Germany.
      With Free education, you still need to live and pay for text books and student requisites, so still skin in the game

  4. mboli Says:

    Ocasio-Cortez strikes me as a policy airhead. Maybe she is good at sloganeering. Which is OK, because Democrats have been far outgunned in steering the public debate. But I hope she has the good sense to know her own limitations and rely on grounded policy experts when it comes to legislating a “green new deal”, and not become wedded to whatever hooey the speechwriters produce.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      You’ve been awfully cranky lately. She hasn’t even taken office yet and you’re judging her and “predicting” her behavior? DO remember that what politicians do and say to get elected often changes once they succeed, although we can hop that she doesn’t back off too much from her excellent green ideas

      As far as “knowing limitations and relying on grounded policy experts”, that’s a message you should be delivering to the Dumpster Fire in the Offal Office, not to O-C.

  5. […] via A Green New Deal: Is This the Only Climate Plan that Makes Sense? — Climate Denial Crock of the We… […]

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