A group of more liberal Democrats in Congress unveiled a plan Thursday to dramatically shape the debate over climate change in the United States, calling for action to make the nation carbon-neutral in ten years, as supporters set out a broad series of climate goals, without going deeply into any specifics or the financial costs of such a plan.
"This is one of the most urgent moral issues and crises that we have in American right now," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who told a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol that climate change represents 'one of the biggest existential threats' to the United States.
"This is the new climate democracy – of the people, by the people, for the planet," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
"It’s time for Congress to get serious about tackling climate change and creating more good-paying, sustainable green jobs," added Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
"We must aggressively tackle climate change which poses an existential threat to our nation," said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
What exactly is in the plan? First - what was unveiled by Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats on Thursday is not a bill, but a non-binding resolution - basically a set of goals - for making major changes in how the U.S. government, and the nation's citizens, should deal with climate change.
You can download the 14 page resolution on climate change here.
Among the highlights of the Green New Deal:
+ Achieve 'net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.'
+ The Green New Deal should be 'accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization.'
+ The plan includes a host of goals which don't really directly address climate change, but are more of a list of more progressive policy aims, like raising wages, medical leave, retirement security, union rights, labor standards, health care, affordable housing, and more.
No cost estimates were included in this resolution - as it would take much more specific and defined legislation to fill in the blanks.
That didn't stop Republicans in Congress from mocking the plan, with one tweeting a poll on whether the cost 'will be over/under $10 trillion.'
"Dems announce Socialist “Green New Deal.” Sound familiar?" tweeted Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), pointing back at failed green energy projects under the Obama Administration.
"Who knew? “Green New Deal" is a resolution, not a bill, which means it's a statement," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
"When the leader of your own party is throwing shade at your “green dream” you know you have problems," said Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), referring to comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Long was referring to an interview that the Speaker did with Politico, in which she did not exactly embrace the direction of the "Green New Deal."
"It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive," the Speaker told Politico, referring to the new plan as the "'green dream,' or whatever they call it."