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The Green New Deal

The Green New Deal is at the centre of the 2020 US presidential campaign. It has massive support among Democrats, and its most vocal proponents are congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey.

The Green New Deal proposes to transition the United States to use 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources by 2030. With that comes the creation of millions of new jobs sponsored by the public sector that will generate enough income and tax revenues so that the proposal will pay for itself. It includes investment into electric cars and high-speed rail systems, and it pledges to address poverty by improving the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

The proposal is ambitious: the US is one of the world’s biggest climate offenders. But while the Green New Deal is radical, it is well-founded. The name is a reference to the New Deal, a set of social and economic reforms and public works projects implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. They were a response to the Great Depression that hit the US after the 1929 Wall Street crash.

The Green New Deal has its critics: some say that it is too ambitious, some, that it is not ambitious enough. Many Republicans ridicule it. US President Donald Trump says climate change is a “hoax”.

The proposal has attracted international praise, however. As Ocasio-Cortez says, climate change is not only a political issue, it’s about sustaining life on Earth, and many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) support such an initiative, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

Learn more about the Green New Deal in this month’s Speak Up!