Green New Deal: Step in right direction, but a pipe dream

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Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE

By Matthew Fan, Staff Reporter

Stirring up memories of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a policy package called the Green New Deal on Feb. 7. This new “New Deal” aims to attain “net-zero global emissions,” as stated in Ocasio-Cortez’s House of Representatives resolution.

Net-zero carbon emissions.

Just the word “zero” is an immediate indicator that this plan is more of a dream than an implementable reality.

It is simply impractical to think that the United States government has enough money to allocate to this plan. According to the U.S. Green Party, the plan will cost $700 billion to $1 trillion to implement. $400 billion of this will go towards a jobs program that supporters hope will create 20 million new jobs. Additionally, at least $200 billion will be used to complete a 100 percent switch to renewable energy.

The current divided Congress struggled to pass a budget bill that, according to Politico, only gave $1.37 billion to Trump’s border wall. What will happen when it tries to give 100,000% percent of that to the Green New Deal?

Another drawback of the Green New Deal is the timeline. Proponents, including the Green Party, hope to accomplish their lofty goals (i.e. net-zero global emissions) within the next two decades. However, according to research conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the U.S. won’t even be able to achieve complete wind, water, and solar energy by 2050, so it is unreasonable to expect that the world will be able to do so as well. Moreover, if the Green New Deal were to be passed, the extended timeline would most likely require even more than $1 trillion.

Some might say that the fact that the Green New Deal represents a dream actually benefits the nation, citing the reason that the Green New Deal brings back efforts to solve the problems created by climate change to the forefront of political discussion. Indeed, it is important that solutions are brought about quickly. However, the aforementioned unrealistic propositions that the Green New Deal do not help accomplish this goal.

Additionally, the Green New Deal is an inconspicuous and deceptive way for political figures to gain recognition. For example, Ocasio-Cortez is a newcomer in Congress. By taking a strong stance with the Green New Deal, she attracts media attention and thus makes a name for herself in Congress, but more importantly, the Democratic Party. Therefore, not only does she widen the partisan divide, but she also derives personal gain from the announcement of the Green New Deal, showing that the plan doesn’t just benefit the American people; it directly helps her.

As a nation, if we hope to solve the problems posed by climate change, we must come together instead of moving farther to the left or right. In today’s political climate, the strategy of one party proposing something extreme to make its other proposals appear moderate no longer works—rather than causing the intended effect, this tactic increases polarization because the other party takes its own extreme stance in response. A more practical solution entails that members of Congress accept that climate change is actually occurring. They then must compromise to come up with a solution that has implementable components and makes sense financially.

Ultimately, the Green New Deal represents a righteous goal—to switch to renewable energy—but until its supporters, mostly the more liberal Democrats, recognize that it is impractical, it will simply be an illusion of success during a time in which real change is needed.

Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE