Green New Deal banner, 15 March 2019 Photo: Intothewoods7

By Tully Comfort age 12 and Indykids Staff

In February of this year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bill Markey introduced in Congress a Green New Deal (GND) resolution to take on inequality while eliminating climate pollution, by creating jobs with higher wages and bringing clean air and water to people across the country.

Climate change has become a global crisis. The past five years have been the warmest on record, causing more wildfires and heat waves. The Arctic ice minimum has dropped by 12.8% per decade, and the ice sheets have decreased by 413 gigatons per year. If these continue to drop, we will see overwhelming amounts of flooding. Sea level is on course to increase by 19 inches by 2050.

The Green New Deal aims to prevent further damage, but also recognizes the connection between climate change and inequality. “Our communities don’t experience climate change and inequality as two isolated issues, but as interlinked crises,” wrote labor movement leader Héctor Figueroa, who passed away in July. “A Green New Deal offers an immense opportunity to tackle both crises at the speed and scale that justice and science demand. It’s a bold, essential plan to transition to a clean energy economy built on good, union jobs that leaves no worker — or community — behind.”

The Green New Deal demands a transition to 100% renewable,  zero-emission energy. This would help many African-American communities where the oil and gas industry violates air quality standards, resulting in 138,000 asthma attacks per year among school-age children, according to the NAACP.

The current 14-page Green New Deal resolution is not a single law, but a set of goals and principles. Rhiana Gunn-Wright, policy director for the think tank New Consensus, is leading the GND’s policy development. “Most importantly, the Green New Deal will lay the foundation for a new economy where the dignity and value of all Americans are respected, affirmed, and rewarded, regardless of who they are or what they own,” she writes. “Injustice simply cannot be the price of progress — not again.”

Glossary 

Gigaton: One billion metric tons.