SAN DIEGO – Grassroots groups such as the Sunrise Movement and 350.org are mobilizing across California and the nation this week and next to promote the “Green New Deal,” a 10-year-plan to fight climate change by weaning the country off of oil and gas.
On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced twin resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate.
Masada Disenhouse, co-founder of the group San Diego 350, said the United States and the world need to work toward “net zero” greenhouse-gas emissions, and fast.
“The vision of the Green New Deal,” she said, “is really a massive program of public investments aimed at transforming the energy sector and the whole economy to create clean-energy jobs in infrastructure, to decarbonize the economy, and to promote economic justice.”
The Green New Deal calls for the United States to switch over to a national smart grid that relies on renewable-energy sources such as solar and wind. It asks government and private businesses to retrofit buildings for energy efficiency, and for job retraining for people working in the fossil-fuel field.
Opponents have argued that the policies would cost too much and be disruptive to industry.
Green groups are asking for a state-level plan to phase out drilling in the Golden State, but Disenhouse said she thinks the real potential is in the transportation sector because in Southern California, vehicles produce almost half of the emissions.
“That will have to change,” she said, “and that can be through combined efforts to increase transit, have more active transportation, like walking and biking, and electrifying vehicles.”
The Green New Deal also emphasizes environmental justice. Its backers have pointed out that lower-income communities have been harmed disproportionately by pollution from drilling and refineries, and by the floods and wildfires linked to climate change.