What is the Green New Deal?

There has been a lot of confusion regarding a “Green New Deal.” The fact that people are now talking about a greenhouse gas reduction measure (regardless of what it really means) is an astounding turn-around from just two years ago when the new administration came to Washington with a pro-coal agenda. Now the winds are blowing in a distinctly different direction yet again.  But what is the Green New Deal? Politicians and pundits are quoted saying that the House Resolution 109  would ban cows, cars, trains, air travel, and pay people not to work.  I pulled up the proposed Green New Deal law (look it up by clicking the Congressional link above) and noticed several things. First, it is a resolution. As a resolution it really can’t do anything. It is just a statement. To be a law it needs to actually make something illegal, create a bureaucracy that will write rules that will make something illegal, or, conversely, make something that was illegal legal.  Here is what the proposed resolution says:

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

(1) it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal—

(A) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;

(B) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;

(C) to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;

(D) to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—

(i) clean air and water;

(ii) climate and community resiliency;

(iii) healthy food;

(iv) access to nature; and

(v) a sustainable environment; and

(E) 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 (referred to in this resolution as “frontline and vulnerable communities”)

You can take a breath and know that this resolution does nothing it is claimed to do. It is about as effective as your New Year’s resolution where you said you were going to lose 40 pounds by March 1st, be able to lift 200 pounds, and run a mile in seven minutes.

To be fair, the resolution adds some projects:

(2) the goals described in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1) (referred to in this resolution as the “Green New Deal goals”) should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization (referred to in this resolution as the “Green New Deal mobilization”) that will require the following goals and projects—

(A) building resiliency against climate change-related disasters, such as extreme weather, including by leveraging funding and providing investments for community-defined projects and strategies;

(B) repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including—

(i) by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible;

(ii) by guaranteeing universal access to clean water;

(iii) by reducing the risks posed by climate impacts; and

(iv) by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change;

(C) meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including—

(i) by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources; and

(ii) by deploying new capacity;

(D) building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and “smart” power grids, and ensuring affordable access to electricity;

(E) upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;

(F) spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry;

(G) working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including—

(i) by supporting family farming;

(ii) by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and

(iii) by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food;

(H) overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in—

(i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;

(ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transit; and

(iii) high-speed rail;

(I) mitigating and managing the long-term adverse health, economic, and other effects of pollution and climate change, including by providing funding for community-defined projects and strategies;

(J) removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as land preservation and afforestation;

(K) restoring and protecting threatened, endangered, and fragile ecosystems through locally appropriate and science-based projects that enhance biodiversity and support climate resiliency;

(L) cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites, ensuring economic development and sustainability on those sites;

(M) identifying other emission and pollution sources and creating solutions to remove them; and

(N) promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding, and services, with the aim of making the United States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal

Again, these “projects” are aspirational  and certainly don’t eliminate cows, planes, automobiles or trains. In fact, many of these projects can be found in both Republican and Democratic planks.  Even if this resolution passes the house, I will wait to see what the Senate is willing to do through 2020, and I bet this goes nowhere until after the next election.

About James Pray

Attorney with BrownWinick Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa.
This entry was posted in Energy, Uncategorized, USEPA News. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What is the Green New Deal?

  1. MYRON TEPE says:

    World war 2 we fought the germans & the Japanese.
    World war 3 WE WILL fighting the AIR. If our veterans only KNEW we would be fighting AIR IN THE FUTURE.

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