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Politics and Activism

Democrats Are Fighting For A New Era Of Clean Energy And Job Security In The U.S., But It Might Be A Bit Idealistic

Only time will tell whether this enthusiasm by our fresh crop of Democrats will be rewarded.


This past week, the cohort of the Democratic Party referred to as "Liberal Democrats" unveiled a revolutionary "Green New Deal" resolution highlighted by a sweeping resolution intended to eliminate additional emissions of carbon from the United States by 2030. The campaign, spearheaded by freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, calls for such prospective measures as a 10-year commitment to convert 100% of the power demand in the United States to clean, renewable, zero-emission energy sources in sectors as varied as electricity generation, transportation and agriculture.

Such a strategy also prioritizes the creation of jobs in order to boost the economy, whilst also paying attention to marginalized communities (such as lower-income Americans and minority communities) that might be disproportionately affected by the economic transitions inherent in the Green New Deal.

The ultimate goal of the bill, as stated by Ocasio-Cortez's front office, is to completely eliminate the usage of fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. Some initiatives intended to combat our current utilization include the upgrading of all existing architecture for maximum energy efficiency, working with farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions whilst not compromising agricultural income, expanding transportation via increased investment in electric car manufacturing and the production of a high-speed rail to render air travel irrelevant in order to reduce emissions.

In addition, the proposition calls for a guaranteed job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security for every American, and high-quality health care across the United States.

Predictably, these goals have come across as highly ambitious aims set about by an overly idealistic sect of the Democratic Party, such that even the current Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has no plan to bring it to the floor for a vote (despite the number of major Democratic presidential candidates that have signed off on it). While the initiative was introduced as a set of nonbinding resolutions in the House and Senate, it has been criticized as having near-impossible goals.

Postdoctoral environmental fellow Jesse Jenkins of Harvard's Kennedy School claimed that the idea of being carbon-neutral within a decade is potentially unreachable, and urged a more conservative approach to a net zero carbon economy by 2050, which would still require vast resources to reduce carbon emissions. Among the Republican Party, the Green New Deal has garnered significant opposition from Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, who claimed it to be "a Washington takeover of our nation's energy system" by the "far-left-wing," and the conservative Club for Growth branded it as a "job-killing, socialist wish list."

While the goals outlined in the Green New deal are certainly ambitious by all metrics, they reflect a growing desire of the progressive movement to work towards financial stability for all citizens and a higher form of efficient energy utilization that is both environmentally friendly and produces far better results than current sources. Only time will tell whether this enthusiasm by our fresh crop of Democrats will be rewarded with the fruits of clean energy and job security for the United States.

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