11
Feb
2019

Green New Deal proposal includes free higher education and fair pay

Green new deal placard

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey are advocates of the Green New Deal

Pete Marovich/The New York Times/Redux/eyevine

By Chelsea Whyte

Enthusiasm for tackling climate change in the US is rising. An idea called the Green New Deal that aims to address both climate change and economic inequality has gained momentum in recent months and now two members of Congress have drafted a bill to try to gain widespread political support.

The core idea is simple: cut US greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the next 10 years, transitioning entirely to clean and renewable energy by 2030.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and senator Ed Markey, both Democrats, have added more ambitious goals to this in their draft proposals published on 7 February. These include overhauling transportation systems to increase the use of zero-emission public transport and high-speed trains, upgrading buildings and energy grids to lower emissions, and working with farmers to eliminate emissions from the agriculture sector.

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Parts of the proposal may be too progressive for some, such as guaranteeing every person in the US healthcare, housing, and fair pay, as well as access to free higher education.

The proposal will probably be put to a vote in Congress. However, such legislation will be non-binding and will only indicate future priorities.

Getting enough backing for it to pass may be a struggle. While there is growing support for a Green New Deal from Democrats, they only control the House of Representatives, meaning they will have to win over the Senate and the White House too.

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