AOC Clarifies on Green New Deal on Late Night

March 23, 2019

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks about the Green New Deal, showing the inner workings of Capitol Hill and her past as a science fair award-winner.

Green New Dealers should look at California – Crooked.Com:

But whereas most American disadvantaged communities are hurting, in California, some are now experiencing renewal. California has already implemented nearly $2 billion in funding from the state’s biggest polluters to support low-income communities at the frontlines of climate change. California’s climate policy has spawned a host of programs that have two things in common: they reduce greenhouse gas pollution and they create jobs where we need them most. These programs include, among many others, affordable and sustainable housing developments, multi-family energy efficiency and renewable energy installations; wetlands and watershed restorations; rural clean mobility projects; and a number of incentive programs, such as the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP), which help low-income Californians replace old, dirty vehicles with zero-emission and hybrid cars.

California’s focus on justice has had the added benefit of shining a light on the fact that the inequities of climate change map all too neatly onto the racial, economic, and historical inequities already woven into the American fabric. Proposals for a Green New Deal understand this inherently. But our effort to thoughtfully address and remedy these inequities has also illuminated the seemingly endless American potential for hope and promise. One CVRP recipient, for example, testified to his family’s experience in Sacramento: By trading an inefficient truck for a used Prius, he and his wife were able to begin putting away their fuel savings in a fund to educate their baby daughter.

California’s climate success was not destiny. We were told we’d fail. And without the support of California’s moderate lawmakers, we would have failed. But by focusing on economic justice outcomes, we earned votes from legislators representing the state’s conservative and rural areas. We therefore reimagined the type of coalition that could assemble popular support to extend and deepen the state’s climate targets. And therein lies another critical political lesson for Congress: a need for economic stimulus in moderate and even Republican communities can be a powerful driver toward pricing and reducing climate pollution. Throughout the Midwest, Appalachia, and the Mountain West, we now have a golden opportunity to put hundreds of thousands of people back to work replenishing exhausted soils, building wind turbines, installing solar panels, or assembling zero emission vehicles. That, in turn, has the potential to shift the politics of climate change, by creating new stakeholders invested in healthier, cleaner, and more prosperous communities.

To be sure, not every climate pollution-funded project in California has flourished. Perhaps most visibly is California’s bullet train, which now finds itself in President Trump’s crosshairs. This project promised new union jobs and opportunity in the Central Valley, and tens of thousands fewer cars—and their emissions—on the roads. But it is woefully behind schedule and spectacularly over-budget (on the order, by some estimates, of nearly $100 billion). Similarly, as California mandates solar roofs on all new homes, it is impossible to ignore the shameful reality that tens of thousands of Californians will sleep on the streets, or in their cars, this year. Legislators have proposed a policy to shift California’s famous suburban sprawl toward a new model based on transit-oriented density. But those efforts have largely been met with NIMBYs and local advocates afraid to cede any zoning authority to the state.

These are hurdles, certainly, but not reasons to back away from a national Green New Deal. Quite the contrary, in fact; if anything, they illustrate the immensity of our challenge. And they therefore suggest that our response must be greater in scale than what one state alone—even California—can accomplish. We need a national mobilization—as its advocates like to call for—that will allow states like California to partner with others eager to build a new clean energy economy. Iowa, to name but one more example, has built thousands of jobs in a wind power industry. What could Indiana, which has felt the sting of globalization and automation and seen factories shudder as its industrial economy moves overseas, learn from Iowa’s experience?


2 Responses to “AOC Clarifies on Green New Deal on Late Night”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Love AOC! The Dems ought to put her out front every chance they get—-she is so “together” that she borders on being a force of nature. I’d love to see her in a one-on-one discussion on ANY topic with our President By Accident.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    High-speed trains face two major obstacles that I can think of:
    (1) Establishing corridors in developed areas.
    (2) Fighting the airline industry.

    I think the airline lobbyists were the biggest factor in shooting down the plan in the early 1990s to establish a high-speed rail triangle in Texas (San Antonio x Houston x Dallas, with a stop in Austin).

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