Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal Sparks Controversy
Back in the throes of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt championed the first “New Deal.”
His program was full of financial reforms, public works projects and regulations to help the nation recover from economic collapse. Roosevelt wanted to restore prosperity to America.
The New Deal was a big success. And we hope the recently introduced “Green New Deal” will be too.
Freshman Dives In
As an engineer, I’ve looked critically at both sides of the climate change debate. Over time, several things have happened to make me a believer.
We’ve seen terrible climatic events happening worldwide. And rising carbon dioxide levels point to even more in the future.
To address these growing worries, freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey introduced the Green New Deal on February 6.
It’s a nonbinding resolution whose goal is to transform the U.S. economy by completely removing carbon emissions – as well as addressing a host of other critical national issues like updating the power grid, providing family leave, strengthening labor laws and increasing access to higher education.
The legislation aims to make the country carbon-free within a decade.
That proposed time frame is impressive… And I applaud Ocasio-Cortez’s enthusiasm. But it may be a pipe dream to think we can be carbon-free in just 10 years.
Apparently, I’m not alone. Several individuals in the climate policy and energy establishments think so too.
But Ocasio-Cortez is a feisty new member of the House. And she’s already fired back at her critics in a news conference.
“Climate change and our environmental challenges are one of the biggest existential threats to our way of life – not just as a nation, but as a world,” she said. “For us to combat that threat, we have to be as ambitious and innovative as possible.”
The Newer Deal
Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal isn’t the first one.
Back in 2007, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote about a Green New Deal of his own. Its focus was on ending fossil fuel subsidies, instituting a carbon tax and providing incentives for using solar and wind energy.
And in 2009, President Barack Obama included Green New Deal initiatives in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was an economic stimulus package.
However, Ocasio-Cortez’s New Deal wasn’t well-received by President Trump. He said, “It sounds like a high school term paper that got a low mark.”
But what President Trump must be missing – and Ocasio-Cortez clearly gets – is how much the market is doing on its own.
Energy sustainability is a big business.
Many individuals, companies and entire communities are embracing the move to renewables and sustainability. They view the “greening” of the economy as a patriotic and nation-building effort. They also see it as an opportunity.
Polls indicate that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of increasing renewable energy efforts and reducing pollution – even if they have to pay for it.
And here’s the interesting part: 61% of people who voted for Obama and then voted for Trump support the use of renewable energy.
Trump is all about job creation. A smart move on his part would be to champion the 3 million clean energy jobs that already exist in the U.S. and then embrace the Green New Deal, which has the potential to create millions more.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
P.S. Ocasio-Cortez and Trump should sit down with my new book, The Energy Disruption Triangle: Three Sectors That Will Change How We Generate, Use, and Store Energy.
In it, I delve into the technology triad that is disrupting the energy sector as we know it: solar energy, energy storage and electric vehicles. This revolution is happening right before our eyes, as the Green New Deal suggests.
To order The Energy Disruption Triangle today, click here.