‘This is life and death’: AOC re-introduces Green New Deal with Ed Markey

Progressive New York lawmaker calls for ‘all-hands-on-deck approach’ to climate crisis

Louise Hall
Wednesday 21 April 2021 11:02 BST
AOC re-introduces Green New Deal with Ed Markey

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has re-introduced the Green New Deal climate and energy proposal alongside Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.

The Democratic lawmaker's introduction of the initiative on Tuesday alongside co-sponsors and leaders from the labour, environmental justice, and climate movements.

The sweeping deal reflects an environmental plan to combat climate change that AOC originally unveiled in 2019, seeking to fight the climate crisis and tackle inequality simultaneously. The resolution is inspired by President Franklin D Roosevelt’s vast public works in the 1930s.

The new resolution calls for the launch of a “10-year national mobilisation” to create jobs, repair infrastructure, reduce air and water pollution. It also aims to combat economic, social, racial, and climate crises.

AOC, who described the package as “huge in scope” at a press conference on the National Mall said: “It’s going to be an all-hands-on-deck approach and we refuse to leave any community behind in the process.”

The progressive lawmaker insisted that the notion that the country has to choose between the planet and economy is “false”.

“We’re going to transition to a 100 per cent carbon-free economy that is more unionised, more just, more dignified, and guarantees more healthcare and housing than any we ever had before,” AOC said, adding: “That’s the goal of the Green New Deal.”

The last iteration of the deal proposed a sweeping plan costing at least $10trn (£7.2m) to transform the US economy to combat climate change and create thousands of jobs in renewable energy.

In 2019, the Republican-controlled Senate defeated a motion to take up the legislation, but the proposal has become an overarching force in politics, prompting a discussion on the climate crisis.

“In the past two years, the Green New Deal has become the DNA of climate action, and the principles of jobs, justice, and climate action are now widely represented in legislation and state and local actions across the country,” Mr Markey said in a statement. “The Green New Deal isn’t just a resolution, it is a revolution,” he said.

Thirteen new co-sponsors joined the Green New Deal resolution this year to support the resolution, which has three “core components” of “jobs, justice, and climate,” AOC said.

Mr Markey said the movement was spearheaded by “young people who are going to face the most dire impacts of the climate crisis if we do nothing to stop it” adding that “for them, this is life and death.”

President Joe Biden’s provisions for addressing climate change are included in his $2.3trn (£1.6m) infrastructure bill. During his campaign, he said he would not pursue the Green New Deal, which has become a lightning rod in conservative circles.

The proposal would likely face an uphill battle on Capitol Hill. Even if the measure managed to pass the House, it would require support from at least 10 Republican incumbents to pass the Senate – a nonstarter in the current era of political polarisation in Washington.

AOC and Mr Markey also confirmed that they plan on Tuesday to introduce the Civilian Climate Corps Act, a name that comes in reference to plans laid out in Mr Biden’s executive order regarding the climate crisis.

In the executive order, Mr Biden outlined that he would create a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative “to mobilise the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs.”

Ms Ocasio-Cortez also noted on Twitter that she would be working on reintroducing the Green New Deal for Public Housing alongside Missouri Rep Cori Bush and introducing the Green New Deal for Cities with Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders.

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