The longest U.S. government shutdown in history has finally ended, which means it's time for Congress to roll up their sleeves and get back to work on the pressing issues at hand.
Foremost in the minds of many legislators is what has been coined the ‘Green New Deal' (GND for short). The Green New Deal isn't a single piece of proposed legislation, but rather a name that refers to any of several proposed economic stimulus programs that attempt to address both economic inequality and climate change.
The congressional proponents of GND are too numerous to mention here, but notable among them are Representative Joseph Kennedy III and Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Representative Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Senator Kamala Harris of California.
As Kamala Harris tweeted - "I support a Green New Deal. Climate change is an existential threat to all of us, and we have got to deal with the reality of it."
The GND in any form would inevitably reshape and dramatically increase the size of the clean-energy industry, while also introducing fundamental changes in the U.S. economy. The Green New Deal, as proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Edward Markey, would cost approximately $2 trillion over time and shift the nation's sources of energy from primarily fossil fuels to renewable sources--particularly solar. While the cost may appear significant at first blush, it would be greatly offset by a significantly increased job market and a renewed, robust economy.
Those in the solar industry are hopeful for the Green New Deal initiative. Jorge Ricalday Marketing Director at Green Solar Technologies and advocate of renewable energy, states, "GST is more than ready to see the Green New Deal take off, and we're thrilled to know that more and more people are taking the nationwide switch to renewable energy seriously."
The GND is the first serious attempt at the Federal level to combat climate change and embrace the renewable energy movement through comprehensive legislation. The details of the plan are still being worked out, but the projected results would include substantial job growth in the renewable energy sector and a 100% green future. Let's examine some of the expected benefits of a Green New Deal on the environment and the citizens of our country.
Clean air and water: A GND would reduce toxic air and water pollution from oil, gas, and coal. It would also replace lead pipes and clean up hazardous waste sites. Low-income and minority communities, who are disproportionately exposed to toxins, would benefit most from these measures.
Millions of viable, family-sustaining jobs: A Green New Deal could put millions of Americans to work manufacturing and installing solar panels and wind turbines, replacing lead pipes, expanding rail and other mass transit systems, and performing in a number of other support positions of a new, green economy. The jobs would provide family-sustaining wages and benefits and offer training and advancement opportunities. Incentives to homeowners, businesses, and local government to weatherize buildings would also support job growth.
Lower cost of living: A GND would help slash the energy bills of working-class families by offering more energy-efficient homes that take advantage of affordable solar power. It would also reduce transit costs by introducing more reliable options for affordable public transportation.
Climate accountability: A GND would help us swiftly transition to a clean energy economy. By substituting fossil fuels with renewable energy and investing in smart grids for renewable energy distribution, weatherizing buildings, promoting energy-efficient manufacturing, and expanding low-emissions public transit, a Green New Deal would significantly improve ae quality and reduce climate pollution.
According to the Sierra Club, "To tackle the climate crisis at the speed that justice and science demand, a Green New Deal would upgrade our infrastructure, revitalize our energy system, retrofit our buildings, and restore our ecosystems. In so doing, a Green New Deal would cut climate pollution while creating millions of family-sustaining jobs, expanding access to clean air and water, raising wages, and building climate resilience."