Opinion

The Green New Deal: Admirable but flawed

The “Green New Deal” recognizes the issue of climate change, but it falls short in policy proposals.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

I'm just going to say it: Americans have no idea what the “Green New Deal” calls for. 

With the snazzy new name that holds the same connotations of the mainstream environmentalism movement, how could it NOT be the perfect gateway to renewable and clean energy?

As great as the document is at stuffing the liberal agenda into one seemingly tightly-packed sausage of ideas, it is actually pretty sporadic and won’t lead to positive reforms to tackle the issue of human-induced climate change. 

Introduced by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts on Feb. 7, the “Green New Deal” adequately takes responsibility for the United States’ historic role in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, but the portrayal of the proposition has not been transparent in the media. 

Modeled after FDR’s “New Deal,” this document hopes to seize the same opportunity to “create millions of good, high-wage jobs,” “provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people” and “counteract systemic injustices.” 

Oof. 

The document also includes a laundry list of other ideas, with goals of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, investing in sustainable infrastructure, securing clean air, water and healthy food for all Americans and providing protection for “frontline and vulnerable communities” that include indigenous peoples, communities of color, women and other individuals that have historically been systematically disadvantaged. 

Even the small number of specific goals listed, such as overhauling the transportation sector via clean public transit and instituting high speed rails, or cleaning up hazardous waste sites in hopes of spurring economic development on this land, seem to be too lofty and vague to install at a national level. 

Never-ending lists in a single document will not be effective. It doesn’t help that the content of the lists feels random. 

They also cater solely to the far-left wing of the party — there are few parts of the Green New Deal that are likely to appeal to Republicans. 

Sure, the document lays out the economic implications of climate change, which would normally be a good pull factor for the right, but upon taking a closer look, the most jarring part of this document is the amount of resolutions listed that do not seen to be directly tied to sustainability and curbing climate change.

The already-complicated proposition became even more convoluted when the US Green Party added to the original document, thus creating what we now know as the “Green New Deal.” 

The Green Party added off-topic and unrelated resolutions like cutting military spending significantly, complete student loan forgiveness and tuition-free college, a Medicare-for-all program and even repealing the Patriot Act.  

Such ideas were not proposed by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez or Sen. Merkley, but given that they are the faces of the document, they must now own up to all components of it.

Thus it is no surprise that AOC is taking the most heat for the Green New Deal, given she is arguably the most-demonized politician by the right in the current media landscape. Conservative news outlets are calling the “Green New Deal” “economically destructive,” “job-killing,” and have even gone so far as to say that, if implemented, “we’d all be poverty stricken and America would be turned into a Third World basket case.” 

While these criticisms are harsh, and the last wildly offensive, there are many questions left up in the air regarding this proposition, such as the choice to encompass the whole liberal agenda at a national level in one document, rather than attempting to institute smaller legislation regarding climate change mitigation. 

If it was known that the document would be controversial, why was Ocasio-Cortez chosen as the face of this proposal, given her massive following? 

And finally, while the whole point of the “Green New Deal” is to start fighting climate change as soon as possible, why introduce it now, when the president and numerous members of the Republican Party refuse to believe climate change research? 

Overall, I believe that at the surface level, the “Green New Deal” does a great job recognizing the widespread, pervasive effects of climate change and the United States’ massive role in contributing to it — and thus responsibility to mitigate these effects, but lacks the clarity, bipartisanship and reasonable funding to achieve such lofty goals. 

Sam Jones is a sophomore studying journalism, with certificates in environmental studies and developmental economics. What do you think about the “Green New Deal”? Do you agree with the way the proposed bill has been portrayed in the media? Send all of your questions, thoughts and comments to opinion@dailycardinal.com. 

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