House fails on climate change

A recent poll by Navigator found 22 percent of respondents supported the Green New Deal, 29 percent opposed it, and 49 percent weren’t sure. Republicans who watch Fox News, however, were 65 percent opposed to it.

A Grist article said the problem was that mainstream media reported mostly on Democratic infighting and Republican opposition without ever saying what the Green New Deal was about.

I realized I’d put off commenting on this concept longer than I should.

Washington Governor and presidential candidate, Jay Inslee introduced the term Green New Deal in a mid-January opinion piece in the Washington Post encouraging a full-scale mobilization to reverse global warming, “a national mission that must be led from the White House” similar to the fight Franklin D. Roosevelt orchestrated against the Great Depression.

February 7 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey introduced 40-page resolutions in the House and Senate outlining what their concept of a Green New Deal.

Ocasio-Cortez and Markey set the goal of “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States though clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 had made obvious first steps: training workers for green energy production and stimulating investment in green energy firms. The bankruptcy of the heavily subsidized Solyndra solar company brought a lot of criticism to the program, but it played a role in increasing wind energy production three times and solar capacity, six times.

The Ocasio-Cortez/Markey resolutions are far broader  They call for a ten-year program to make our infrastructure and “all existing buildings” as energy efficient as possible, to develop zero-emission vehicles and expand public transportation, to make industry more energy efficient, to upgrade the power grid, and to work with farmers to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions “as much as is technologically feasible.”

Opponents said 10 years was an impossible goal, and we should call on private investment, not government funds, to drive the program.

Those weren’t the resolutions’ weaknesses, however, that made Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laugh and push to get Democrats on record as supporting or opposing the resolution with no discussion or changes allowed.  (Most Senate Democrats voted “present,” and the resolution failed 0-57.)

McConnell’s discain was caused by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey’s calls for guaranteed jobs, free college, and universal health care. The pair don’t want closing out of fossil fuels quickly to cause people to suffer from joblessness and relocation problems.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the plan as a “green dream,” and promised an alternative plan.

When Pelosi introduced H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, March 27, she declared, “It’s about good paying green jobs.  It’s about public health, clean air and clean water for our children. It’s about defending our national security.”

The media reported it was about stopping withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Both are right.

H.R. 9 has no details about jobs, the environment or security.  Instead, it requires the President to develop a plan to meet our Paris Agreement goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below our 2005 level by 2025. It also bans funding our withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

President Trump has already disbanded the Environmental Protection Agency’s panel on air pollution. Depending on him to come up with a plan to meet goals he opposes is likely to result in no action at all.

It’s time to look at the climate change policies of those vying to be president.

Note this editorial by Judy Ferro published by Idaho Press – 2019

Published by Judy Ferro

Judy Ferro is communication director for the 2C Dems and a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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