A Green Deal or No Deal: Congress’s Climate Agenda
By Joshua Lee and Alex Lee
As the advancements of humanity and technological advancements have significantly revolutionized in the past century, most have not regarded the degeneration that has been inflicted on the environment.
From smartphones, televisions, and factories, to vehicles, all of these inventions lead to one primary concern which we know today as climate change. However, in 2006, American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a plan that may have a significant potential to ameliorate the suffering our environment has sustained.
This plan is known as the Green New Deal and it has a goal of a 100% decarbonized environment by 2050. The Green New Deal has already been supported by several congressmen and has trillions of dollars invested into it.
Of course, there are several doubts about this plan as it is an extremely ambitious one, however, success in this plan will mean success for our environment. As this is a grand plan with many details involved, it may be difficult to understand both sides of this plan. To help better understand this, two passionate writers give their opinions with respect to which side they firmly believe in.
A Plan in Action
The Green New Deal highlights a dramatic revolution to grind the problem of climate change to a halt. Not only does it address issues about environmental preservation, but our individual rights/freedoms such as healthcare, guaranteeing job positions, and covering basic necessities (food, water, and adequate shelter).
These ideas, if implemented, can change the next generation from living in a toxic environment and I believe that it is a step in the right direction in joining the fight for saving our planet.
Climate change can’t be addressed by just one community, state, nation, or even a whole continent. It is a problem that affects everybody worldwide and drastic measures must be taken by every single nation to solve global issues.
At the rate we’re currently experiencing with the increase in global temperature, there will be additional global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. 140 million people around the world would be displaced from their homes with the cities of New York City, Shanghai, Miami, and Jakarta swallowed by ocean waters by 2050.
The reality is that our world is slowly dying from our daily actions and without decisive action now, these consequences will come into life and devastate the once sustainable planet that gave us life.
An Electric Solution
Nobody wants a world in which 13% of the forest areas are projected to shrink and freshwater supplies stagnate by 33% by 2050. However, ideas such as removing greenhouse gasses from manufacturing, overhauling transportation systems to creating energy-efficient vehicles, and working with farmers to control the pollution caused in their fields are needed to slowly progress into a greener society.
This fight is a joint unification front to work all together in tackling shared environmental problems, climate change, and global warming. If one economical sector starts to change its technologies and upgrade preexisting innovations into something more energy-efficient and friendly, it can spread into other sectors that can bolster our economy and create more jobs.
Electric vehicles in the transportation sector by 2030 can create over 150,000 jobs alone from policy changes towards the foundation of the Green New Deal. It is more energy-efficient than cars that run on fossil fuel and doesn’t release barely any carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.
Transportation accounts for 27% of the total air pollution in the United States and can be greatly reduced by new innovations such as electric vehicles drastically reducing that number. We can create the technologies to make our world green again, but financial support from our government and world leaders is crucial in turning a possible creation into an energy-efficient convenience.
Let’s look at another economical sector that can be benefited from the ideas implicated by the Green New Deal.
The agriculture sector in 2020 contributed 11% of the United States’ total emitted greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Inefficient livestock production and synthetic fertilizers make up 65% of global agricultural emissions.
Innovations such as biological nitrogen fertilizers, introducing new diets such as seaweed into the livestock population to reduce the methane storage in our atmosphere, and indoor agriculture from aeroponic technologies are ideas that are slowly progressing into the sector.
If all these innovations and the joint collaboration with farmers to implement such technology into their occupation start to come together, 11% of the total emitted greenhouse gasses will start to become less prominent and more energy-efficient. It also contributes to benefiting the land used in the agricultural sector by maintaining soil nutrition and reducing the number of dead zones caused by synthetic fertilizers.
The Green New Deal takes all this into consideration and supports the financial backing of farmers and innovators of green technology while creating sustainable wages and covering the basic needs of middle-class families. It isn’t only about preserving the environment and advocating for serious change against climate change, but to improve our local communities in sustainable wages, clean water/nature, high-quality education and healthcare, and adequate housing.
The Real Problem
Critics of the Green New Deal say that the Green New Deal is too expensive as the United States currently is under 22-30 trillion dollars of debt and doesn’t specify any significant policy that can be passed through the House or the Senate.
Although the Green New Deal isn’t a specific policy, it is a platform in which ideas of environmental preservation and providing sustainable basic needs to all citizens in this country are voiced. It may only be a set of futuristic ideas on the outside, but government leaders such as representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts have proposed solutions to make the ideas a reality.
They have plans to first repeal the fossil fuel tax breaks as it allows more fossil fuel companies to profit even more and pass an infrastructure bill that has aggressive renewable energy sources and efficient energy standards.
It’s the beginning of the trend to slowly decarbonize the whole country by the end of the decade and at most by 2050. Decisive actions like this come at a cost and if we can’t spare any amount of change in our pockets for our whole world, what else can we do to stop our planet from dying?
Paying little attention to what is going on in our world from the Amazon Rainforest losing 40,000-70,000 square miles of wildlife to some of the driest conditions recorded in the history of the American west, it is imperative that we take big action now to minimize the damage already committed in the past.
Is this it?
As the opinions on how to address climate change each person, the one thing that stays the same for all of us is to discover a solution that helps our world become greener. Whether it's through the Green New Deal or any other policy, what matters is our effort and joint unity in doing our parts to preserve our environment as much as possible.
The Green New Deal was a proposed solution that set the track on what feat it takes to overcome such adversity. It offers one possible way that can lead to many others in which all of our lives can be greatly improved.
The next generation relies on our efforts right now to make a change before a toxic environment can pollute our world. From record-breaking temperatures, deforestation, multiple dead zones in wildlife, and extinctions of numerous, unique organisms, we can all make a difference by simply picking up a single piece of trash on the ground that can save an animal from consuming it.
For some, the Green New Deal is significant in the movement to save our planet and for others, it’s seen as another wild government project. Whatever the Green New Deal may be, it at least lays the foundation for what we have to do in order to visualize a carbon-free and stable environment into reality.
Many people see such visualization as surreal and impossible, but there is hope that we can make this world a better place. We all want to see our world thrive to make our lives a lot easier and more enjoyable, so let’s keep our heads up high and dedicate our mission together to protect the planet we love so much.