Does the Green New Deal go far enough?
Before we can answer that question, we have to know what the Green New Deal is. According to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ed Markey’s (D-MA) congressional resolution, a Green New Deal must reduce carbon emissions to net-zero, create jobs, invest in infrastructure, and ensure clean air and water. The Green New Deal resolution that’s been in the news is actually just a document that lays out these goals. Many have praised Ocasio-Cortez for the plan, but others have asked if it does enough to not only slow or prevent climate change, but also retroactively counteract the effects of it.
Climate Change has affected and continue will affect every aspect of human life, from disrupting millions of refugees to causing trillions of dollars in economic damage. Stopping it now may not be enough. Already, rising sea levels have turned hurricanes from dangerous to an existential threat to coastal cities. In South Carolina alone, almost half a billion dollars have been spent on repairing beaches as a result of hurricanes, and the New York MTA reported $5 Billion in Hurricane Sandy damages alone. Climate change will continue to cause both economic and environmental damages forever, even if we stop emissions today. We have to create a plan which not only stops further damage to the Earth and invigorates the economy, but solves the problems climate change caused.
Rep. Ocasio Cortez and Sen. Markley’s plan is comprehensive, but neglects addressing some fundamental causes, as well as reversing climate change. If America were to foster renewable energy, nationalize the energy grid, build electric vehicle infrastructure, develop public transportation, and hold companies responsible for their emissions, we could renew our economy and preserve our planet. Nationalizing the energy grid, or moving energy resources away from private companies to the government, allows us to work to provide energy to communities without greed and profit as a motive. As a part of this plan, we must prosecute energy companies and executives for their crimes. Finally, public transportation and electric vehicle infrastructure will not only make travel cheaper and more accessible, but also friendly for the planet. Subways in major cities as well as national, high-speed rails will give everyone access to the country. Specific policy is the only way forward in the battle against climate change.
Solutions to reverse climate change won’t be easy. We must reverse the amount of carbon in the air and water, using a mixture of technology and nature. This also means replenishing the world’s forests and habitats, and preventing corporations and governments from destruction. These will be some of the most challenging problems that humanity has ever faced, but they are necessary if we are to pass on an inhabitable world to our children.