On Thursday, February 7, New York City Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined Massachusetts Senator Jeff Markey in Washington, D.C. to introduce a public policy proposal to combat both man-made climate change and create millions of jobs with better wages as well as benefits to reduce income inequalities. Called the Green New Deal, co-sponsors of the resolution in the House of Representatives include California Congressman Ro Khanna, Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse, Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan. Co-sponsors in the Senate include 2020 contenders such as California Senator Kamala Harris, New Jersey Senator Corey Booker, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Originally conceived in the mid to late 2000s by journalists such as Thomas Friedman of The New York Times and advocated by political organizations such as the Green Party and the Sunrise Movement, the Green New Deal includes a transition towards 100% renewable energy by 2030, upgrading towards energy efficient infrastructure, expanding public transportation, and guaranteed job program with a higher wage and better benefits through increased federal investments.
While the bill is unlikely to pass in the divided 116th Congress, Progressive Democrats in Congress and grassroots activists are further pushing environmental policy forward into the public mainstream, especially during the upcoming 2020 presidential election. According to a recent December 2018 public opinion poll conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, 80% of registered voters surveyed support a Green New Deal, including 92% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans.
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