In a Democratic clash on Capitol Hill, progressives are pushing an ambitious plan to wean the U.S. off fossil fuels, boost renewables and build a “smart” grid.
Meet the “Green New Deal.”
The proposal, drawing inspiration from President Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal, is one that progressives — led by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a rising star on the left — want Democratic leaders to embrace.
The thinking is that a newly revived Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in the House would produce a draft of the plan by Jan., 1, 2020, and finalized legislation no later than March 1, 2020.
The scope of the plan, laid out on Cortez’s campaign website, is cast as a work in progress. House leaders would be able to review the results of investigations and studies, along with detailed findings and interim recommendations. And there’s time for collaboration.
Pushing the proposal is the youth-driven Sunrise Movement, a growing grassroots movement that’s taken over the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California this week and Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey today.
Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the group, told E&E News earlier this week that progressives are calling on Pelosi to start building consensus around the ideas. That way, Democrats can move quickly if they regain power in 2021 and beyond (Climatewire, Nov. 14).
And yet disagreement is brewing, even among those eager to tackle climate change policy. Also outstanding are specifics on what programs would be included in a Green New Deal and how Congress and the federal government would pay for the plan.
“Democrats are united in decarbonizing our economy and addressing climate change in stark contrast to Republicans. But House leaders have to be strategic in how they approach climate change,” said Paul Bledsoe, an energy fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute who worked on climate change in the Clinton White House. “Impossible-to-reach targets will only disappoint.”
Here’s a look at what the plan calls for — so far — within a decade of being enacted: