A Green New Deal for the US and the world

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A Green New Deal for the US and the world

Mark Engler says that the Green New Deal would move the direction of the US from stopping multilateral negotiations to helping other countries make their economies carbon-neutral.


Before the US elections in November 2018, very few politicians in the country had said the words ‘Green New Deal’. Now, it is becoming necessary very quickly for important Democrats to support the Green New Deal. It is necessary if they hope to convince their party that they should be the candidate to challenge Donald Trump.

We have a climate movement with new energy to thank for the change.

In the week after the midterm elections, about 200 young people – members of the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats – had a sit-in in the offices of Nancy Pelosi. She is the new Speaker of the House. Capitol police arrested 51 of the activists. The activists wanted the party to support a plan to move the US economy away from fossil fuels in 10 years.

The demonstration attracted extra attention when newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided to join the young people. She is a 29-year-old socialist and her election was an important win for the movement.

It is true that protesting in your own party leader’s office is unusual for a new congressperson. But it is exactly the kind of direct action we need if we are going to listen to scientists and not to ‘experts’ paid by the oil industry. These ‘experts’ like to play at being climate specialists on TV.

Politicians who want to be president and politicians who don’t want to be targeted have rushed to support the Green New Deal. David Roberts is a climate journalist. He writes that the push for a Green New Deal has made climate change part of the national conversation and so more and more politicians want to talk about it.

The Green New Deal wants to change the US economy from a carbon economy, to invest in green technology, and to support communities hit the most by climate change. It wants a green jobs guarantee, and to give full employment for the change to renewable-energy. And all of this is very popular in the polls.

The ideas are also internationalist. They see the US move from stopping multilateral negotiations to helping other countries change to carbon-neutral economies.

The ideas of the ‘Green New Deal’ are not new. Obama’s 2009 economic plans included investments in renewable energy. But this time they are very different from 10 years ago. 10 years ago democrats talked about plans that were much weaker so that business leaders and centrist officials would accept them. And in the end these same neoliberals did not accept a final agreement.

Now the Green New Deal wants to change the public discussion completely. It does not want to talk about drought and how terrible life will be. But like something as important and as big as a moon landing it wants to change our society 100% in many positive ways. It offers well-paid work, cheaper housing, wonderful green public spaces, and very green transport.

Before, Washington could not imagine a plan like this. ‘Now,’ as Roberts says it is ‘a real answer to climate change. It is a possibility. It has a name.’

It will be good to repeat the name in many more offices, and in many more sit-ins and demonstrations.



(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed)