Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being criticized by conservatives after she outlined the goals of a ‘Green New Deal’ to combat climate change.
The condemnation against Ocasio-Cortez was swift on Thursday as everyday conservatives and right-wing news outlets slammed the freshman lawmaker over the plan.
Ocasio-Cortez teamed up with veteran Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts on the policy, which aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years and create thousands of jobs in renewable energy.
Critics seized on parts of the plan, including Democrats’ acknowledgement that it would be difficult to reach a zero emissions society in a decade because they weren’t sure if they could ‘get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast’.
The condemnation was swift on Thursday as everyday conservatives and right-wing news outlets slammed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the Green New Deal plan
Conservatives were also critical of a part of the plan that called for every building in the U.S. to be upgraded or replaced to make them more energy efficient.
The reaction on Twitter was unrestrained in its criticism, while other simply poked fun at Ocasio-Cortez’s plan.
Republicans were also quick to criticize the initiative, waving off any kind of proposal as heavy-handed.
The Trump administration does not believe action on climate change is necessary and is focused on increasing production of oil, gas and coal on federal and private land.
Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, said at a climate change hearing in the House natural resources committee on Wednesday that the policy was akin to a ‘Soviet five-year plan’.
The non-binding resolution outlines several goals for the United States, including meeting 100 percent of power demand from zero-emission energy sources.
The plan also calls for new projects to modernize U.S. transportation infrastructure, de-carbonize the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, make buildings and homes more energy efficient and increase land preservation.
The reaction on Twitter was unrestrained in its criticism, while other simply poked fun of Ocasio-Cortez’s plan
The Green New Deal also aims to create an economic safety net for ‘frontline’ communities that will be affected by the impacts of climate change and by a radical shift away from fossil fuel use. In addition, it calls for universal healthcare and federal job and training guarantees.
While setting lofty goals, the plan does not explicitly call for eliminating the use of fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas, a nod to pragmatism that may disappoint some of Ocasio-Cortez’s strongest supporters.
Even so, the Green New Deal goes far beyond the Clean Power Plan proposed by former President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump has scrapped Obama’s plan, which imposed emissions limits on coal-fired power plants, as a job-killer.
The Democrats are likely to meet resistance to their proposal in Congress, especially in the Republican-controlled Senate. Trump, who has expressed doubts about climate change, also is likely to oppose it.
The announcement of the Green New Deal came as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped eight Democrats to serve on a special committee to address climate change. Ocasio-Cortez was not among those named to the panel, which is chaired by Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla. Ocasio-Cortez said Pelosi invited her to join the panel but she declined, saying she wants to focus on the Green New Deal and other committee assignments.
Pelosi said Thursday she hadn’t seen the Green New Deal proposal but welcomes ‘the enthusiasm’ of its backers.
‘I welcome the Green New Deal and any other proposals’ to address climate change, Pelosi said. She said she also wants to hear from the new climate committee, which she said will ‘spearhead Democrats’ work’ on climate issues.
The resolution being introduced Thursday marks the first time Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers have attached legislative language to the Green New Deal, a concept that until now has been largely undefined other than as a call for urgent action to head off catastrophic climate change and create jobs.
Ocasio-Cortez said that the plan will create ‘unprecedented levels of prosperity and wealth for all while ensuring economic and environmental justice and security.’ She calls for a ‘World War II-scale mobilization’ that includes high-quality education and health care, clean air and water and safe, affordable housing.
Answering critics who call the plan unrealistic, Ocasio-Cortez says that when President John F. Kennedy wanted to go to the moon by the end of the 1960s, ‘people said it was impossible.’
She also cites Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and the interstate highway system begun under Dwight D. Eisenhower as examples of American know-how and capability.
While focusing on renewable energy, Ocasio-Cortez said the plan would include existing nuclear power plants but block new nuclear plants. Nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.
The resolution does not include a price tag, but some Republicans predict it would cost in the trillions of dollars. They denounced the plan at House hearings on climate change on Wednesday.
‘If anyone thinks that decarbonizing America is going to save the planet, they’re delusional,’ said Rep David McKinley, R-W.Va.
The Green New Deal would be paid for ‘the same way we paid for the original New Deal, World War II, the bank bailouts, tax cuts for the rich and decades of war – with public money appropriated by Congress,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.
Read the Green New Deal below
These six pages are the talking points for rolling out the ‘Green New Deal’