The Green New Deal is a congressional resolution that lays out a grand plan for tackling climate change.

Introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, the proposal calls on the federal government to wean the United States from fossil fuels and curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions across the economy. It also aims to guarantee new high-paying jobs in clean energy industries.

The resolution is nonbinding, so even if Congress approves it, nothing in the proposal would become law.

Read H. RES. 109 – The Green New Deal

What is the Green New Deal?

There are five goals, which the resolution says should be accomplished in a 10-year mobilization effort:

  • Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers
  • Create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States
  • Invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century
  • Secure for all people of the United States for generations to come: clean air and water; climate and community resiliency; healthy food; access to nature; and a sustainable environment
  • 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 (“frontline and vulnerable communities”)

The primary climate change goal is to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions in a decade. “Net-zero” means that after tallying up all the greenhouse gases that are released and subtracting those that are sequestered, or removed, there is no net addition to the atmosphere. The goal, then, is slightly less ambitious than calling for no greenhouse gas emissions at all. – Read More

Summary of bullet points of the Green New Deal

  • Electricity: 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”
  • Transportation: If the country wants to reach net-zero emissions in a decade, one of the most important areas in which emissions reductions need to occur is transportation. Transportation recently surpassed power generation as the sector with the highest greenhouse gas emissions and is responsible for about 28 percent of the U.S. total.
  • Agriculture: A third major industry the Green New Deal targets is agriculture. About 9 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases stem from agricultural activities, including the release of nitrous oxide from soil and methane from livestock.
  • Economic Security: Along with its environmental goals, the Green New Deal aims to provide economic security for Americans. One of the proposal’s key goals is to “create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States.” The plan also guarantees “a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”

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