The weather has been all over the place this winter, serving as further proof that global warming is definitely not going away. (Recent bouts of cold weather do not mean the whole thing is fake news, sorry.) On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the Green New Deal, a point-by-point strategy to tackle the problem. According to NPR, the plan focuses on the importance of lowering carbon emissions in various industries, including agriculture and transportation, as well as an overall reduction in the usage of electricity.
Ambitious? Yes. Complicated? Also, yes. Get ready to look so smart when it comes up at work because we’ve got a cheat sheet outlining the main objectives of the Green New Deal:
Goal 1: Stopping fossil fuel usage completely by 2050. This is the part of the deal that has people talking the most. Markey and Ocasio-Cortez want to see anything and everything currently that currently uses fossil fuels to switch over to clean, renewable energy sources. That means buildings, transportation, farmers…everything.
Goal 2: Cutting down on airline travel. Diverse and reliable modes of transportation could significantly reduce the amount of pollution caused by air travel. The Green New Deal includes an expansion of electric car manufacturing and upgrades to train infrastructure, making it significantly faster and more efficient and thereby reducing our overreliance on air travel.
Goal 3: Working with farmers to create a more eco-friendly supply chain. Next time you sit down to eat, think about how much energy it took for farmers to harvest your food, package it, and ship it. The Green New Deal seeks to make this process more sustainable, in part by using cleaner energy sources.
Goal 4: Providing a good job and health care for every American. The health of the environment is deeply connected to the economic health of the country. The Green New Deal aims to save the planet before it’s too late while simultaneously boosting the economy, ensuring every American is paid a living wage and has access to adequate health care.
Talk about going big or going home, right? The biggest criticism of the Green New Deal is, of course, whether its lofty goals are realistic. “Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us,” Ocasio-Cortez tells NPR of any skepticism. The Green New Deal also doesn’t outline how exactly these goals will be met. If passed, the next step is to figure out how to get it done. “It could be part of a larger solution, but no one has actually scoped out what that larger solution would entail,” Ocasio-Cortez says. “And so that’s really what we’re trying to accomplish with the Green New Deal.”
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