Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Democrats seek Green New Deal to address climate change

By Matthew Daly  /  AP, WASHINGTON

With a whiff of presidential politics and a rock-star freshman in attendance, Democrats drew an unusually large crowd for the Green New Deal unveiling. The outdoor event was attended by more journalists and activists than lawmakers. It was a notable gathering for a proposal that is not a bill, but only guidance for any legislation on climate change Congress develops.

The measure is supported by at least six senators with their eyes on the White House: Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

None of the six attended the news conference, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said hours earlier she had not read the proposal. Pelosi did not explicitly endorse it, but welcomed “the enthusiasm” of its backers.

“I welcome the Green New Deal and any other proposals” to address climate change, Pelosi said, adding that she also wants to hear from a new House committee on climate change. Pelosi said the panel will “spearhead Democrats’ work” on climate issues.

Ocasio-Cortez said Pelosi invited her to join the climate panel, but she declined, saying she wants to focus on the Green New Deal and other committee assignments.

The resolution introduced on Thursday marks the first legislative language attached to the Green New Deal, a concept that until now has been loosely defined as a call for action to head off catastrophic climate change and create jobs.

Answering critics who call the plan unrealistic, Ocasio-Cortez said that when tehn-US president John F. Kennedy wanted to go to the moon by the end of the 1960s, “people said it was impossible.” She compared the plan to former US presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.

While focusing on renewable energy, Ocasio-Cortez said the plan would include existing nuclear power plants but block new nuclear plants.

Nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

Asked how the plan would be paid for, Ocasio-Cortez said it would be “the same way we paid for the original New Deal, World War II, the bank bailouts, tax cuts for the rich and decades of war — with public money appropriated by Congress.”

She called the plan an “investment” that would produce more than it costs in new infrastructure, jobs and avoided healthcare costs.

Additional reporting by Laurie Kellman and Elana Schor

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