Green New Deal: An Environmental Movement or A Political Idea?

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~ By Akash Khemka

The economy is basically a go-to excuse for the climate in action but there is a new environmental platform gaining esteem views that aims to flip every argument on the desk. It’s called The Green New Deal.  The name comes from a sprawling package of policies and projects put in place in the 1930s to lift the USA out from a great depression. We are talking about infrastructure investment, several job programs, and even social securities. Fast forward to today, the world facing an even bigger crisis and a handful of politicians are asking does America needs a new deal but for climate change?

According to NASA reports, 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record. The top three are 2015, 2016 and 2017. With rising temperatures come rising numbers of costly natural disasters. Last year alone there were fourteen disasters that cost 1 billion dollars each. Climate change has become a political hot potato. Its very existence has become a red line between some fractions, but because of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s polarizing Green New Deal, climate change could become a big issue in the 2020 presidential election. It’s dividing Democrats and it has become a punch line among conservatives.

It has become an ambitious plan to make America green, meaning dependent upon clean renewable energy in the coming decades. So for a good start, it’s already happening in California where they recently enacted SP100 with the ambitious goal for the state to use 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, by overhauling the transportation systems, upgrading the power grids and shifting to zero-emission energy sources like wind and solar. These all are pretty cool ideas to conserve nature but we are not an energy policy expert, so we have questions.

How would these ideas work in practice? How quickly could we get them done? And are they enough to avoid the impending heat death of the planet? So to find all the answers we did what we all do, we tried to watch the news but none of them explained how this new deal might work instead they focused on politics. Is it going to pass? Does Pelosi like it? What did the Trump tweet about it? Everything except that “is it a good idea?” so it turns out that there is a name for this type of news coverage. It’s called tactical framing. And it’s making us all too cynical to solve big problems before it’s too late. Tactical framing sounds like when we crop our problem areas from our photos or a video. But it’s actually an approach to news coverage that focuses on strategy over substance. So instead of asking is this new policy proposal a good idea? Tactical framing asks is it popular? Can it pass? How will it play in the next election?

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not a normal year politician. She is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and she is taking DC by storm. So why is “AOC” as many now call her, the newest political figure everyone loves or loves to hate? She advocates Medicare for all, a marginal tax rate above the 70%, tuition-free public schools, immigration, and human rights. For a freshman democrat environmentalism is a driving issue. And that’s why she is calling for her Green New Deal.

Many experts say that it’s impossible especially if nuclear power which Green New Deal backers oppose isn’t in the mix. She has said that the deal would be funded and parked by a 70% marginal tax rate on incomes after $10 million per year. President Donald Trump and many conservatives have a word for that “Socialism”. Socialists believe in collective versus individual ownership and that collective can be the government, workers or citizens. Democratic socialists are different. They believe that government and private industries can work hand in hand to provide a better safety net for citizens.

So Green New Deal is now a part of the national conversation. 2020 presidential candidates including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren support the deal despite losing voting in the recent procedural votes.  After a recent Senate vote, the future of the Green New Deal legislation looks over but as a political issue, it is likely to take on new life as the 2020 presidential election comes closer either as a roweling cry or an attack to the socialist idea.

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