Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced their long-awaited resolution to create a Green New Deal on Thursday. They will hold a press conference at 12:30 ET.
The 14-page resolution has 60 House and nine Senate co-sponsors, including all leading Democratic Party contenders for president, according to The Guardian.
It calls for the U.S. to decarbonize all sectors of the economy, from electricity and transportation to agriculture and infrastructure, in order to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
In the process, it calls for the creation of millions of jobs in the clean energy sector and a just transition for all workers in the fossil fuel industry.
The proposal stresses the need to protect “frontline and vulnerable communities” who have been most affected by environmental and socio-economic injustices, such as migrants, people of color, women, and people from deindustrialized communities and depopulated rural communities.
Instating such change, it says, would present an opportunity for a federal jobs guarantee and universal health care.
To pay for these policies, the resolution calls for massive public investment and for the creation of public banks.
Though the resolution calls for rapid decarbonization, it does not directly confront the fossil fuel industry. “Just two days ago in the State of the Union address Trump bragged about an all-time high in oil and gas production—willfully ignoring the global climate crisis and the inequality it exacerbates here in America,” said Janet Redman, Greenpeace Director of Climate Policy, in a statement.
“This kind of climate denial is exactly why a Green New Deal must include a just and managed phase out of oil, gas and coal, starting in the most overburdened communities. Now is the best time to be bold and confront the industry at the dead center of the climate crisis and most in need of a managed transition,” she said.
In the House Natural Resources Committee’s first session since the Democrats took control of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) likened the Green New Deal to a “five year Soviet Plan.” He called the bill unrealistic, and said he couldn’t believe “adults and grown-ups” are supporting it.
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has acknowledged that the bill, which would have to go through a Republican-led White House and Senate—and through skeptical House Democrats, too—has essentially no chance of passage during this congressional session. But she says it can serve as a roadmap of sorts of where the U.S. needs to go in the years to come to tackle the enormity of the climate crisis.
“This is a moment for us to push a comprehensive view of the challenge before us,” she told The Guardian, “and therefore to offer the solution that we need to address that challenge.”
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in an interview published on Feb. 7 by the publication Politico that the congressional Select Committee on the Climate Crisis sees the Green New Deal as a “suggestion” which may or may not receive uptake from House Democrats at large.
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi told Politico. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”
Two of the campaign managers for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for office, Neera Tanden and John Podesta, have also put out a joint statement in support of the Green New Deal.
“The new Congress and the Green New Deal resolution show us there is a better way,” stated Podesta. “A Green New Deal can help America make the right investments to build a 100 percent clean energy economy, create good-paying union jobs, conserve our lands and waters, protect our children so that they are no longer breathing toxic air, and ensure that new energy technologies are invented and manufactured in America and are exported and used around the globe.”
The resolution is nonbinding, and if passed would not itself create any programs, but Green New Deal advocates are expected to follow up with proposals for legislation.
This resolution comes after youth environmental organizers with the Sunrise Movement stormed Capitol Hill before the Congressional session began.
Stephen O’Hanlon, a Sunrise Movement spokesman, voiced optimism about the resolution and the mandate it provides for Democratic congressional action moving forward.
“It’s not a bill, which means there’s a lot of details to be worked out,” O’Hanlon told the HuffPost. “We still feel very good about the pieces that are still being figured out.”
Early Green New Deal supporters included Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA). It’s now been endorsed by many: Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) all signed onto the resolution. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has also said she supports the Green New Deal, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) says she supports the “idea” of it.
For more of our reporting on the Green New Deal, check out the videos below: