In this guide, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the Green New Deal, what it means for you and how it could impact green jobs across the United States (US).
The Green New Deal is a diverse and far-reaching range of policies, programs and investments that are designed to help the United States achieve economic stability and environmental sustainability.
On February 7, 2019, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey released the 14-page Green New Deal resolution. It aims to introduce a range of programs in the US to address climate change, reduce inequality and create a more balanced economy that works for the many rather than the few.
The Green New Deal builds on the concept of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in response to the Great Depression, which was designed to send 1930’s Americans back to work, to restore dignity and bring stability to the country. The Green New Deal combines Roosevelt’s economic approach with modern ideas surrounding renewable energy and resource efficiency to create a sustainable economic blueprint for the present and the future.
At the heart of the Green New Deal is an ambitious but secure economic and environmental program that aims to revive the US economy, turn the tide on climate change, cut the military budget in half, and invest in millions of green jobs. The document also details a 10-year plan to eliminate the US’s carbon footprint by 2030 through renewable energy and energy-saving projects.
The key tenets of the Green New Deal are to:
Increase the share of power created by solar and wind energy from the current 10 percent to nearly 100 percent in 10 years, creating green jobs for many Americans.
Dramatically upgrade local infrastructure and existing buildings in the US to achieve maximum energy efficiency.
Strengthen labor laws, including workplace health and safety, anti-discrimination and wage standards.
Work collaboratively with farmers to reduce the share of US emissions that come from agriculture.
Expand access to clean public transportation by investing in zero-emission vehicles and high-speed rail.
Remedy the historic injustices that have been inflicted on the poor and people of color.
We already have some key details about how the Green New Deal proposes to solve the leading economic and environmental challenges facing the US. However, other the next few months, we also expect to see more detailed plans about how the aims of the Green New Deal will be achieved, and perhaps most importantly, how they will be paid for by the American public.
The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change calls for global decarbonization by 2050. The Green New Deal aims to accelerate the overhaul of America’s industries to achieve complete decarbonization by 2050 or earlier. The wording of the resolution calls for a 10-year mobilization effort to achieve ‘net-zero greenhouse emissions’ but does not provide a precise timetable for complete decarbonization.
Under the Green New Deal, a range of measures will be implemented to achieve decarbonization. Cars and trucks will shift from gasoline to electricity, airplanes will use electricity for short flights while advanced zero-carbon fuels will power longer flights. The generation of electricity will shift from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to solar, wind and hydro. Buildings will also be heated by electricity from renewable sources rather than boilers and furnaces.
As with decarbonization, the argument from corporate lobbies and right-wing politicians is that healthcare for all is simply not affordable under the terms of the Green New Deal. However, the supporters of the resolution argue that the delivery of lower-cost, high-quality healthcare is within reach.
Currently, the US spends 17 percent of GDP on healthcare, compared to 10-12 percent spent by other developed countries around the world. These high prices are largely the result of the market power of healthcare providers and the inflated cost of drugs and medical procedures, as well as disproportionately high salaries.
One approach that could be used to create a more cost-effective healthcare service is to redirect the private insurance premiums to Medicare accounts that reimburse the health providers at Medicare rates. That would lead to vastly reduced management salaries and administrative costs, helping to create cost savings of hundreds of billions of dollars per year. That could be used to reduce the federal budget deficit or even fund a tax cut.
Debt-free higher education is another of the ambitious aims of the Green New Deal. Budget analyses show that higher education can be made more accessible without creating a society that is weighed down by the burden of student debts. One proposal called ‘College for All’ puts the cost of providing affordable higher education at just a quarter of one percent.
The legislation would provide state funding to eliminate undergraduate tuition fees at public colleges and universities. The federal government would cover about 67 percent of this cost, while 33 percent would be paid for by the states. To qualify for federal funding, each state would have to meet a number of requirements designed to protect students, reduce costs and ensure the quality of education.
Done well, the Green New Deal will make businesses more competitive and help to put more people to work in green jobs. Currently, the global economy creates half a million new jobs every year in renewable energy and employs more than 10 million people. In the US, 100,000 new solar jobs and wind power jobs are created every year at a rate which is 12 times faster than job growth in the rest of the economy.
At the very core of the Green New Deal is the shifting of investment away from fossil fuels and other dying industries towards wind, solar, geothermal and tidal power. There will also be a significant investment in the elimination of waste and pollution, organic agriculture and sustainable forestry. This investment will create a raft of green jobs for workers with a wide range of experience and skills.
The Green New Deal will lead to the creation of jobs in sustainable transportation, manufacturing and energy. That includes everything from roles in the generation of renewable energy and energy efficient retrofitting, to land conservation and the clean manufacturing of goods that will be required to support the sustainable new economy. There will also be new opportunities in intra-city mass transit and inter-city railroads, the creation of ‘complete streets’ that encourage safe cycling and walking, and regional food systems based on sustainable agriculture.
But not all the jobs created by the Green New Deal will be green jobs. A public jobs program will be introduced to help the unemployed and those working in low-paid service roles such as fast-food restaurants and retail. That will include public service positions and opportunities in non-profit organizations.
The Green New Deal will also create jobs in the education and care economy. Carers will be required to provide support for those who have gone through climate disasters or help people whose homes are threatened by climate change to relocate. There will also be a wealth of new jobs educating people about the climate crisis and teaching them what they can do to help.
The Green New Deal is a massive investment project that will create tens of millions of good jobs that put money in people’s pockets and empower them to live more dignified and peaceful lives. At GreenJobs.com, we already have a wide range of rewarding, well-paid green jobs in cities across the US and around the world. Take a look at our job listings, sign up to our resume database and apply today for your dream green job.