Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ed Markey’s Green New Deal

By Rachel Stevens

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a Green New Deal that sets goals to cut carbon emissions and aims to create jobs to boost the economy.

Catholic U students who care about the environment, or want to stay informed on legislation, are looking closely at this bill and its implications. Students aim to stay up-to-date on proposed legislation because this will directly affect them in the future.

There are constant reminders of the impact that man is making on the environment. All over the news, climate change and global warming has become a hotly debated issue. Those who recognize that there is an issue say we need to act now in a dramatic way to make change. Cortez and Markey think that they have found the solution.

The bill calls for a “10-year national mobilizations” toward accomplishing a series of goals that the resolution lays out.

The most prominent portion of the bill is the section that aims to meet, “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” The ultimate goal is to stop using fossil fuels and move away from nuclear energy, Ocasio-Cortez’s office told NPR.

In terms of travel, the bill proposes that more electric cars be put onto the market and that car charging stations be built everywhere. In addition, they would like to see the end of air travel by expanding high speed rail systems.

There are a variety of other miscellaneous goals including upgrading all existing buildings in the country for energy efficiency and working with farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as is technologically feasible (while supporting family farms and promoting universal access to healthy food). Another goal is guaranteed jobs with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, retirement security for every American, and high-quality health care for all Americans.

Some left leaning environmental activists see this as good ambition to save the environment and reduce America’s carbon footprint, while others who are more moderate or right leaning think this is just not feasible and too extreme. Many political analysts believe the bill is unlikely to pass due to the fact that it has lost steam with republicans and a decent portion of democrats. It is also very unlikely to be signed by President Donald Trump.

“I care deeply about our environment, but this is extreme. I hope they realize this has no chance of passing and that there are more ways we can help the environment without taking drastic measures right away,” said Shannon Saulnier, a sophomore drama major, when reacting to this bill.

A global survey conducted by Gen Z Global Sustainability found that, “Almost half, 46 per cent, chose to spend money on products from companies that behaved in a sustainable way and 31 per cent would boycott a company they perceived as following unsustainable practices. The survey also found that young people did not see the older generation as capable of addressing climate change.”

The survey questioned 5,000 people between the ages of 18-25. Climate change according to this survey is a hot issue for this generation of young people. It is also telling that this generation does not trust an older generation to be able to make this change. Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez being the youngest representative may have an effect on the way young people perceive the bill. Youth are demanding a more sustainable future, but it is to be seen if this bill can accomplish this.

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