April 23, 2019

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Liberal Democrats Formally Call for a ‘Green New Deal,’ Giving Substance to a Rallying Cry

Liberal Democrats Formally Call for a ‘Green New Deal,’ Giving Substance to a Rallying Cry
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For all of the resolution’s audacity, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Mr. Markey also steered clear of several thorny issues, and there were even signs of concessions to moderate Democrats and Republicans interested in working on clean energy issues.

For example, the resolution does not specify a date for eliminating planet-warming emissions, instead calling for the elimination of fossil fuels from major economic sectors “as much as technologically feasible.” It also avoids denouncing specific types of clean energy alternatives, specifically nuclear power, which in the past has come under fire from climate change activists despite being a zero-carbon form of energy. An early version of the resolution called for phasing out nuclear energy within a decade.

The resolution also sidesteps any discussion of carbon capture and storage technology, which Green New Deal supporters had previously criticized on the grounds that it would enable the continued use of fossil fuels.

Mr. Markey said the resolution is purposefully “silent on individual technologies.”

Instead the resolution calls for generating all electricity through renewable sources like wind and solar within 10 years, eliminating greenhouse emissions in manufacturing and forestry “as much as is technologically feasible,” and re-engineering cars and trucks to end climate pollution.

The measure also includes social justice goals not usually attached to antipollution plans, like eradicating poverty by creating high-paid jobs.

But the resolution goes far beyond that, touching on themes that are animating a rising left but rarely reach the halls of Congress. It aims to “promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities and youth.”

Mr. Markey, who co-sponsored the failed cap-and-trade measure with former Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, said he thought the public was far more ready than in 2009 to support climate change legislation. A decade ago, he said, fossil-fuel backed interest groups poured money into convincing the public that climate change was not real.

“The green generation has risen up, and they are saying we want this issue solved,” Mr. Markey said. “We now have the troops, we now have the money, and we’re ready to fight.”

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

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