Green New Deal: Fact Sheet and FAQ from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey
This is the fact sheet and FAQ posted on the morning of February 7, 2019 (and then quickly taken down) from the official Congressional website of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Green New Deal.
[Editor: Read the Green New Deal resolution filed with Congress here.]
LAUNCH: Thursday, February 7, at 8:30 AM.
We will begin work immediately on Green New Deal bills to put the nuts and bolts on the plan described in this resolution (important to say so someone else can’t claim this mantle).
This is a massive transformation of our society with clear goals and a timeline.
The Green New Deal resolution a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War 2 to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all. It will:
§ Move America to 100% clean and renewable energy
§ Create millions of family supporting-wage, union jobs
§ Ensure a just transition for all communities and workers to ensure economic security for people and communities that have historically relied on fossil fuel industries
§ Ensure justice and equity for frontline communities by prioritizing investment, training, climate and community resiliency, economic and environmental benefits in these communities. § Build on FDR’s second bill of rights by guaranteeing:
· A job with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security
· High-quality education, including higher education and trade schools
· Clean air and water and access to nature
· Healthy food
· High-quality health care
· Safe, affordable, adequate housing
· Economic environment free of monopolies
· Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work
There is no time to waste.
o IPCC Report said global emissions must be cut by by 40-60% by 2030. US is 20% of total emissions. We must get to 0 by 2030 and lead the world in a global Green New Deal.
Americans love a challenge. This is our moonshot.
o When JFK said we’d go to the by the end of the decade, people said impossible.
o If Eisenhower wanted to build the interstate highway system today, people would ask how we’d pay for it. o When FDR called on America to build 185,000 planes to fight World War 2, every business leader, CEO, and general laughed at him. At the time, the U.S. had produced 3,000 planes in the last year. By the end of the war, we produced 300,000 planes. That’s what we are capable of if we have real leadership
This is massive investment in our economy and society, not expenditure.
o We invested 40-50% of GDP into our economy during World War 2 and created the greatest middle class the US has seen.
o The interstate highway system has returned more than $6 in economic productivity for every $1 it cost
o This is massively expanding existing and building new industries at a rapid pace – growing our economy
The Green New Deal has momentum.
o 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans support the Green New Deal
o Nearly every major Democratic Presidential contender say they back the Green New deal including: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Jeff Merkeley, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Jay Inslee.
o 45 House Reps and 330+ groups backed the original resolution for a select committee
o Over 300 local and state politicians have called for a federal Green New Deal
o New Resolution has 20 co-sponsors, about 30 groups (numbers will change by Thursday).
Why 100% clean and renewable and not just 100% renewable? Are you saying we won’t transition off fossil fuels?
Yes, we are calling for a full transition off fossil fuels and zero greenhouse gases. Anyone who has read the resolution sees that we spell this out through a plan that calls for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from every sector of the economy. Simply banning fossil fuels immediately won’t build the new economy to replace it – this is the plan to build that new economy and spells out how to do it technically. We do this through a huge mobilization to create the renewable energy economy as fast as possible. We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.
Is nuclear a part of this?
A Green New Deal is a massive investment in renewable energy production and would not include creating new nuclear plants. It’s unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years, but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible. No one has put the full 10-year plan together yet, and if it is possible to get to fully 100% renewable in 10 years, we will do that.
Does this include a carbon tax?
The Green New Deal is a massive investment in the production of renewable energy industries and infrastructure. We cannot simply tax gas and expect workers to figure out another way to get to work unless we’ve first created a better, more affordable option. So we’re not ruling a carbon tax out, but a carbon tax would be a tiny part of a Green New Deal in the face of the gigantic expansion of our productive economy and would have to be preceded by first creating the solutions necessary so that workers and working class communities are not affected. While a carbon tax may be a part of the Green New Deal, it misses the point and would be off the table unless we create the clean, affordable options first.
Does this include cap and trade?
The Green New Deal is about creating the renewable energy economy through a massive investment in our society and economy. Cap and trade assumes the existing market will solve this problem for us, and that’s simply not true. While cap and trade may be a tiny part of the larger Green New Deal plan to mobilize our economy, any cap and trade legislation will pale in comparison to the size of the mobilization and must recognize that existing legislation can incentivize companies to create toxic hotspots in frontline communities, so anything here must ensure that frontline communities are prioritized.
Does a GND ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure or nuclear power plants?
The Green New Deal makes new fossil fuel infrastructure or nuclear plants unnecessary. This is a massive mobilization of all our resources into renewable energies. It would simply not make sense to build new fossil fuel infrastructure because we will be creating a plan to reorient our entire economy to work off renewable energy. Simply banning fossil fuels and nuclear plants immediately won’t build the new economy to replace it – this is the plan to build that new economy and spells out how to do it technically.
Are you for CCUS [Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage]?
We believe the right way to capture carbon is to plant trees and restore our natural ecosystems. CCUS technology to date has not proven effective. How will you pay for it? The same way we paid for the New Deal, the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs. The same way we paid for World War II and all our current wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit. There is also space for the government to take an equity stake in projects to get a return on investment. At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.
Why do we need a sweeping Green New Deal investment program? Why can’t we just rely on regulations and taxes and the private sector to invest alone such as a carbon tax or a ban on fossil fuels?
· The level of investment required is massive. Even if every billionaire and company came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient.
· The speed of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies could make the investments required, they would not be able to pull together a coordinated response in the narrow window of time required to jump-start major new projects and major new economic sectors. Also, private companies are wary of making massive investments in unproven research and technologies; the government, however, has the time horizon to be able to patiently make investments in new tech and R&D, without necessarily having a commercial outcome or application in mind at the time the investment is made. Major examples of government investments in “new” tech that subsequently spurred a boom in the private section include DARPA projects, the creation of the internet - and, perhaps most recently, the government’s investment in Tesla.
· Simply put, we don’t need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs); we also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient). Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment. In the same way that a company that is trying to change how it does business may need to make big upfront capital investments today in order to reap future benefits (for e.g., building a new factory to increase production or buying new hardware and software to totally modernize its IT system), a country that is trying to change how its economy works will need to make big investments today to jump-start and develop new projects and sectors to power the new economy.
· Merely incentivizing the private sector doesn’t work - e.g. the tax incentives and subsidies given to wind and solar projects have been a valuable spur to growth in the US renewables industry but, even with such investment promotion subsidies, the present level of such projects is simply inadequate to transition to a fully greenhouse gas neutral economy as quickly as needed.
· Once again, we’re not saying that there isn’t a role for private sector investments; we’re just saying that the level of investment required will need every actor to pitch in and that the government is best placed to be the prime driver.
Created in consultation with multiple groups from environmental community, environmental justice community, and labor community. 5 goals in 10 years:
o Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers o Create millions of high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all
o Invest in infrastructure and industry to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century o Clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all
o Promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities
National mobilization our economy through 14 infrastructure and industrial projects. Every project strives to remove greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from every sector of our economy:
o Build infrastructure to create resiliency against climate change-related disasters
o Repair and upgrade U.S. infrastructure. ASCE estimates this is $4.6 trillion at minimum.
o Meet 100% of power demand through clean and renewable energy sources
o Build energy-efficient, distributed smart grids and ensure affordable access to electricity
o Upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency
o Massively expand clean manufacturing (like solar panel factories, wind turbine factories, battery and storage manufacturing, energy efficient manufacturing components) and remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing
o Work with farmers and ranchers to create a sustainable, pollution and greenhouse gas free, food system that ensures universal access to healthy food and expands independent family farming
o Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle
o Mitigate long-term health effects of climate change and pollution
o Remove greenhouse gases from our atmosphere and pollution through afforestation, preservation, and other methods of restoring our natural ecosystems
o Restore all our damaged and threatened ecosystems
o Clean up all the existing hazardous waste sites and abandoned sites
o Identify new emission sources and create solutions to eliminate those emissions
o Make the US the leader in addressing climate change and share our technology, expertise and products with the rest of the world to bring about a global Green New Deal
Social and economic justice and security through 15 requirements:
o Massive federal investments and assistance to organizations and businesses participating in the green new deal and ensuring the public gets a return on that investment
o Ensure the environmental and social costs of emissions are taken into account
o Provide job training and education to all
o Invest in R&D of new clean and renewable energy technologies
o Doing direct investments in frontline and deindustrialized communities that would otherwise be hurt by the transition to prioritize economic benefits there
o Use democratic and participatory processes led by frontline and vulnerable communities to implement GND projects locally
o Ensure that all GND jobs are union jobs that pay prevailing wages and hire local
o Guarantee a job with family-sustaining wages
o Protect right of all workers to unionize and organize
o Strengthen and enforce labor, workplace health and safety, antidiscrimination, and wage and hour standards
o Enact and enforce trade rules to stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas and grow domestic manufacturing
o Ensure public lands, waters, and oceans are protected and eminent domain is not abused
o Obtain free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples
o Ensure an economic environment free of monopolies and unfair competition
o Provide high-quality health care, housing, economic security, and clean air, clean water, healthy food, and nature to all