The Green New Deal has been the talk of the town this last week, with strong opinions from both democrats and republicans. The majority of democrats are in support of the Green New Deal, as it asks for a fight against climate change and social inequity, two priorities that democrats have. Meanwhile, republicans are in strong opposition as this is an extremely radical plan with little plan for an actual execution. Republicans also do not believe climate change is a priority and think the government should be spending money on other things.
These opinions seem to be widely broadcasted at this point, but there is less clarity regarding what exactly the Green New Deal is. The Green New Deal is a proposal set forth by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and has since been co-sponsored by many other politicians. It is a 10 year plan to make the US carbon neutral. There are essentially two parts to the plan. One part of the plan is addressing climate change and the other is addressing the social issues in our country, especially those that might be caused by reducing carbon emissions. The plan for making the US carbon neutral consists of increasing the availability of electric cars, meeting the demand for power using clean, renewable energy sources, reducing greenhouse gases by increasing the size of forests, etc. In regards to the social aspect of it, the Green New Deal asks for universal quality health care, free higher education, guaranteed jobs with fair pay, and more. While there are people who disagree with the ideas introduced by the Green New Deal, it seems that the largest issues with it are the lack of funding or ideas for funding and the lack of actually policy being presented.
The Green New Deal simply presents ideas and doesn’t suggest any specific policy to implement to make those ideas happen. Republicans, and opposers in general, are being urged to suggest policy for the Green New Deal to see it crash and burn. The idea currently is that since there is no specific policy being suggested, there is almost no way the Green New Deal can really fail in every sense of the word. However, if there is strictly outlined policy attached to it and it is not met within the next 10 years, the Green New Deal can essentially be used against the democrats to avoid the possibility of further environmental policy being approved. Additionally, the fact that funding was hardly addressed in the proposal is not promising. This could be the most difficult part of the Green New Deal because if a viable source of funding isn’t established quickly, the whole thing will fall apart, as the lack of funding means there is almost no way to implement change. Not only would making the US carbon neutral be expensive, but supporting the vulnerable groups who would be most financially negatively affected by this change would be extremely expensive as well. The Green New Deal will only be effective if there is strict policy outlined by its supporters and realistic, sourced funding. That said, this funding would most likely be difficult to find, meaning putting the US further into debt. In addition, while it is good that the people being effective by this environmental policy are being thought of, it is highly unlikely the government would be able to help them as much and it is hoping to considering the current feeling around social policy and, again, the limited funding. If free higher education sounded like the most radical idea during the 2016 elections, then the idea of supplying that and universal health care AND job security is, unfortunately, somewhat unrealistic.