We have never faced threats as serious to our democracy and our survival as those we face today. Climate change poses an existential threat to life on Earth. Yet according to the Economist, China, India and even Saudi Arabia are investing more in renewable energy and sustainable climate policies than the United States.
The Green New Deal, a joint resolution proposed in Congress earlier this month, provides Americans with a solution to some of the most pressing economic and climate challenges facing the country. It would provide jobs in the renewable energy sector, often referred to as “green jobs,” similar to the type of blue collar work that was once common in the American economy. Providing jobs in the renewable energy sector would ensure that American jobs could not be outsourced while creating a greener, more sustainable economy. It would also ensure that any infrastructure updates would include provisions for updating the energy grid to make it more efficient and compatible with renewable energy.
The costs of climate change will only continue to grow. While the Green New Deal would be expensive, it would also help make the economy more productive in the long run. By focusing on economic development in all underserved communities, the Green New Deal aims to create a future with economic opportunity for all Americans. Making the economy work better for everyone helps create an environment where democracy can prosper.
We are out of time to address both the political and economic problems our country is facing. In an ideal world, we would have understood the threats we were facing 10 or 15 years ago and implemented policies that would allow us to gradually alter the nature of work, economic mobility and prosperity in this country. But we didn’t. We have waited until the last possible moment to take climate change seriously, and now our options are limited.
Currently, global temperatures are over one degree warmer than pre-industrial levels. If we allow temperatures to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the damage to the environment will be irreparable. Wildfires will be rampant in the west, agricultural farmland will become deserts and America’s coastal cities will be underwater. We need extreme solutions to extreme problems, and the Green New Deal provides us with precisely that.
Jessica Gorovitz ’20 is a political science major from Berkeley, Calif. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.