The green new deal is a term that was first used by Thomas Friedman in 2007, following increased temperatures in the year (DSouza). The United Nations, later in 2008, adopted the green new deal as a way to mitigate climate change. However, after the great economic depression, the initiative was lost and reemerged in 2018 and currently in its initial stages of discussions on how it will be implemented according to the plan by Ocasio-Cortez. Even though the whole concept of climate change and greenhouse emissions is widely known, it is only the green new deal that offered serious action and attempts at climate change mitigation. While the plan is seen as the most appropriate action for climate change mitigation and adaptation, it is cited as being expensive with many other factors, also making it a difficult mission to embark on.
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Friedman had recognized this as the effect of climate change and brought in the green new deal as an idea to try and mitigate the effects of climate change (Dsouza). Some of the remedies suggested in the deal included the transition from fossil fuels and embraced new technology. The government was, therefore graced with a huge responsibility. This transition would involve raising prices on fossil fuel and uptaking massive projects on green energy and technology. The main objective of the project to decrease the green gas house emissions in America and achieve 100 percent clean energy by at least 2030 (Dsouza). From the plan, there will be the creation of jobs, sustainable development, and environment protection. Different actions were put in place to achieve the objective including investing and leveraging funding for communities affected by climate change,upgrading infrastructure for extreme weather conditions;embracing renewable power technologies; encouraging clean energy use by industries; encouraging family farming; cleaning hazardous wastes and sites; working with the international community and restoring degraded habitats (Dsouza). Considering these actions, stakeholders, experts, and the public, in general, have had varying opinion indicating the merits and demerits of the deal.
The issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emission is one that cannot be taken lightly. While there still debates on its existence and how its impacts can be measured, the overwhelming evidence on its adversity is not debatable. Therefore the Green new deal offers an opportunity to mitigate climate change challenges, protect nature and sustainable development. In the past ten years, the United States has been reported to use about $ 350 billion by the government accounting office on extreme weather and fire events (Dsouza).
The experts project an increase in these events, which would not only cost the country a lot of money and property but also the lives of its citizens. Reports from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United States Global Change Research Program indicate that there would be a rise in global average temperatures which will cause more than $500 billion annually by the beginning of the next century (Dsouza). Further by 2050, the effects of wildfires and other occurrences would bring in loss of public infrastructure of about $1 trillion(Dsouza). This means while the project seems expensive now it much sustainable in the long run. It is a long term one, and it is more like investing in a crucial future. However, with all this information there, it has been challenging to prepare a strategy of action. The plan, therefore, comes in as a great step in preparation for the adversity of climate change.
The deal has a clear thought out resolutions that try to put the government on the action for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. The idea itself is simple and therefore makes it easily acceptable to the public. This would make it easy for the citizen to adopt the idea and play their end of the bargain. A government’s initiative could be much successful when its citizen customizes the idea and help in the implementation.
The plan has been properly designed as an investment rather than a project offering mere subsidies. With the expected changes in weather that would bring extremes, there is a need to improve infrastructure to adjust and shield against the future calamities while allowing economic growth. For cities to thrive, then infrastructure is important with proper drainages and sewage systems, there is improved health and environmental protection due to reduced pollution and proper waste management. The jobs created in this project give opportunities for unskilled labor. As a plan, Green New deal lies on decarbonization and Justice which as key aspects of climate change mitigation. Moreover, it is a plan that tries to give real solutions to the challenges of global warming with a little time left.
The Green New Deal could not have it all as an idea that is simple, visionary, with clearly thought out actions, realistic solutions, and one that gives solution on the need for infrastructural development. This plan has been cited as one that is expensive to implement. The challenging thing about the project is its nature of urgency, which gives it a high priority. However, the cost of its implementation brings into question how the funds will be raised, a solution the same plan does not give. Furthermost of the critic feel that it is impractical when the costs and time factors are considered.
The plan suggests a total shift from the use of fossil fuel to the use of renewable energy in a decade. This shift would expensive and require high technological interventions with help from the government. Currently, the country uses about 80 percent of its energy from fossil fuels, including coal petroleum and gas (Dsouza). The technology required for renewable energy would, therefore, be funded using a high debt, which could be difficult to pay. The cost of the shift has been estimated at $93trillion (Dsouza). Planning for such an amount of money could have a great adverse effect on the economy. However, there still debates on how best to approach this issue without the challenges of fiscal imbalances.
Another weakness of the Green New Deal is the timeframe set for the renewable energy shift. For every objective, time is usually of the essence. However, the timeframe set should be realistic. According to critics, it is impossible to achieve 100 percent shift to renewable energy within ten years or rather by 2030 as planned. Studies show that American can replace about 80 percent of the existing energy systems with the one used entirely by wind, water, and sunlight by 2030 and reach the 100 percent target by 2050 (Dsouza). This, therefore, means the plan may not be as effective as expected to be. The plan presents a challenge in the direction of nuclear energy. While nuclear energy is considered renewable for most American, it raises eyebrows on the matters of health. The plan has also overlooked the social and political implications of the elimination of the fossil fuel industry. Fossil fuel industry is one that determines the global economy and therefore phasing it out would not come down well for most of the stakeholders and even countries. The debates surrounding the use of nuclear energy would also rally forces against adopting the initiative. Such social and political factors would undermine the implementation of the green new deal.
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The Green New Deal is the plan that America needed long before it realized. In short, the country must adopt it, considering the circumstances surrounding it and the threats of climate change. The plan brings in a long-term approach to sustainability in production and consumption. However, the political climate surrounding GND provides a problematic situation for the passage of the initiative. While considering the many factors such as cost, political, and social factors, GND is still the best solution for the anticipated adverse future. Debates on the existence of climate change are pulling down the fight put in for climate change mitigation.
Further, the limitations cited by the critics can be easily solved. The GND could be costly for now, but it provides security for the future. Other proponents suggest that the government should be caring more about humanity than the economic costs that would be incurred. Further, the short timeline of implementation should give the stakeholders the motivation to work hard towards the set objectives.
The passing of GND has a however great effect on fossil fuels which therefore is fought hard by those who benefit from the industry. For urban development, GND gives a solution based on sustainability but which also comes in the form of disaster preparedness and management. It is also important in reducing air, land, and water pollution with an emphasis on the use of renewable energy. The upgrading of the infrastructure is not only for climate change resilience but also to improve the economy. The critics cite technology as one of the major challenges to implementation of GND. However, renewable energy has been studied for quite some time, and its knowledge and expertise is available. Generally, the limitations of technology, time, and costs are part of the politics and social justifications under the whole debate of climate change.
The Green new deal is a plan that is urgent and crucial, therefore should be considered despite its cited demerits. The idea was first developed in 2007; however, it was never implemented following the impacts of the great depression. Later it was adopted by the United Nations and currently presented in America. The discussions surrounding the Green New deal try to draw its strength and weaknesses making the whole idea a great debate with limited time. If any action has to be taken, then decisions should be made fast but without jeopardizing or overlooking any crucial detail. The plan has numerous strengths coming out as the solution for an urgently needed strategy for climate change adaptation and mitigation. It also gave clear thought out actions on the road towards environmental sustainability and reduced greenhouse emissions. On the hand, criticism cites technology and high costs as the major obstacles rendering the project impractical. However, when thinking of it, the barriers to GND are merely social and political.
- DSouza, Deborah. “The Green New Deal Explained.” Investopedia, Mar. 2019, https://www.investopedia.com/the-green-new-deal-explained-4588463.
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