U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making good on her promise to make the fight against climate change one of her main legislative priorities. The freshman congresswoman, alongside Senator Ed Markey, will be introducing a resolution on Thursday outlining the goals and specifics of the Green New Deal, Refinery29 has learned.
The Green New Deal, an ambitious reform that seeks to tackle climate change and income inequality in the next decade, used to be discussed mostly on the fringes. But Ocasio-Cortez helped launch it into the nation's consciousness soon after being elected, leading to an electrifying debate over how the nation plans to fight the threat of climate change.
It worked: According to a mid-December poll, a staggering 81% of registered voters said they supported supportive of some the general policies discussed by Green New Deal proponents, including transitioning the U.S. to using 100% clean energy and providing training for green jobs. Per the survey, 92% Democrats, 88% Independents, and 64% Republicans supported the proposal.
Thursday's resolution, which Refinery29 has reviewed, is the closest to an "official" Green New Deal we've seen so far. Some of the goals outlined include achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years, the creation of green jobs, upgrading infrastructure so it's energy efficient, and more. The resolution says it's the "duty of the federal government" to create the Green New Deal and the legislation that would allow for this type of reform to become a reality.
Nine senators and 60 House members support the plan, according to the Washington Post. These includes several 2020 presidential contenders: Sens. Cory Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. All had previously endorsed the Green New Deal.
"We're positioning the Green New Deal as an umbrella for a set of policies and programs that get America out of fossil fuels and transitions our country to stop the climate crisis, eliminate poverty, and improve the lives of million of working families," Varshini Prakash, co-founder of Sunrise Movement, told Refinery29 last year. (Sunrise has been at the forefront of organising a grassroots campaign for the Green New Deal.) She added: "It's not gonna be one bill or one policy, it's going to be it's going to be a sweeping set of reforms that go beyond simple climate policy."
Climate change is perhaps the greatest threat against humanity. A report released by the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change found that by 2040 — 21 years from now — the globe would be in absolute crisis, struggling with everything from food shortages and extreme poverty to wildfires, droughts, and the death of coral reefs. Another report, commissioned and released by the U.S. government in November, concluded that not only the environment will be threatened by climate change in the next century — both public health and the national economy are also at risk. The only way to fight climate change, the UN panel said, is to transform the global economy at a scale and pace that has "no documented historic precedent."
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey will discuss further details at a press conference at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.