Democrats seek ‘Green New Deal' on fuels
Petroleumworld 02 08 2019
US Democrats are launching their push for legislation they hope will push the country largely off fossil fuels.
The Democrats, led by US senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, today introduced a resolution calling for a "Green New Deal" that will achieve a carbon-neutral economy though a "10-year national mobilization" of policies to ramp up renewable energy use, reduce emissions from the transportation system and invest in new infrastructure.
The lawmakers say the resolution will help chart a path for the country to combat climate change while transforming the US economy. The proposal references former president Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal program that sought to the tools of the federal government to push the US out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
"We have acted on this scale before and we must do it again," Markey said. "Our energy future will not be found in the dark of a mine but in the light of the sun."
The resolution itself does not propose any specific policies, but instead "outlines the scope of the bills" that will be needed to achieve the overall goals, Ocasio-Cortez said, making it a starting point for an extensive legislative debate that would encompass a wide range of policy areas, from energy and agriculture to labor and trade.
"We are here to say that small, incremental policy solutions are not enough," she said.
Environmental groups and clean energy advocates cheered the introduction of the resolution as a step forward for the US climate policy debate.
"The Green New Deal points to the need for boldness and ambition at a time when they are sorely required," Environmental Defense Fund senior vice-president for political affairs Elizabeth Gore said.
Republicans are already pushing back against the resolution, calling it "raw deal" for the US economy.
"This radical proposal would take our growing economy off the cliff and our nation into bankruptcy. It's the first step down a dark path to socialism," Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman John Barrasso (R) said.
House Democrats have promised to make climate change a higher priority than Republicans did when they controlled the chamber. Markey said he expects that the House will consider a number of substantial proposals, but he conceded that getting something through a Senate controlled by Republicans remains a tall order. But he predicted that Democrats will either find a way to win over some Republican supporters, or will be in better shape to get a bill through Congress after next year's elections.
"This is going to be such a powerful issue in the 2020 election cycle," he said.
Just before Markey and Ocasio-Cortez announced their resolution, House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) announced the nine Democratic members of a committee to deal specifically with climate change issues.
The panel will not have the power to draft legislation, something Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive had sought, but she and Markey, who chaired a previous version of the committee, said they are confident that Pelosi wants the House to pass significant climate legislation.
The resolution has 60 co-sponsors in the House, including some members of the select committee.
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