Facing Pushback, Markey Makes the Case for the Green New Deal

Activists protest outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington, D.C., in support of the Green New Deal. MICHAEL NIGRO / PACIFIC PRESS / SIPA USA

At a time of legislative gridlock, is there any way to make progress on climate change? Last month, Senator Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, introduced the resolution that’s become known as the Green New Deal. The resolution — a statement of principles, rather than an actual piece of legislation — calls for a 10-year “national mobilization” to reduce emissions from the power sector to zero. It also calls for overhauling the country’s transportation system, upgrading all existing buildings, and guaranteeing everyone in the U.S. “high-quality health care” and a “job with a family-sustaining wage.”

The Green New Deal has been praised as “our only hope” and as a move that “could revolutionize U.S. climate politics.” It’s received a great deal of media attention, and some have argued that this alone is reason to celebrate it. “Whatever becomes of the plan,” The New York Times editorial board wrote, “it will have moved climate change — a serious issue that has had serious trouble gaining traction — to a commanding position in the national conversation.”

But the plan has also been criticized, and not only by those who oppose any sort of climate action. In its editorial on the Green New Deal, The Washington Post argued the goal of decarbonization is “so fundamental” that linking it to other policy goals is a mistake. The president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America called it a lesson in “exactly how not to enact a progressive agenda.”

In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Senator Markey discussed the background of the Green New Deal, why it’s an important step in laying the groundwork for tackling climate change, and why advocates of climate action should “be leaning into this fight.” 03-05-19

Read more at Yale Environment 360