By Amber Athey
The New York Times’ editorial board applauded the Green New Deal on Saturday, insisting that the ambitious and costly environmental bill is “better than our climate nightmare.”
The board addressed the contentious points surrounding the deal, including apparent issues with its rollout and the sheer ambition of the project, but said the more important thing is that the bill “changed the national conversation” around climate change and global warming.
The piece reads:
It has since won the full or partial allegiance of a half-dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls who pray that town hall participants or debate moderators will ask them what they think about global warming. Which in turn means that, whatever becomes of the plan, it will have moved climate change — a serious issue that has had serious trouble gaining traction — to a commanding position in the national conversation. That alone is reason to applaud it.
Democratic New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the chief architects of the bill alongside Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, will likely appreciate the support given her recent decision to lash out at the Green New Deal’s critics.
During a “Girls Who Code” event Friday, Ocasio-Cortez saluted herself for sparking a conversation about climate change and claimed that the “power” goes to the people who are trying. (RELATED: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez To Green New Deal Haters: ‘I’m The Boss. How ‘Bout That?’)
“So people are like, ‘Oh it’s unrealistic. Oh it’s vague. Oh it doesn’t address this little minute thing,’” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And I’m like, ‘You try. You do it. ‘Cuz you’re not. ‘Cuz you’re not. So, until you do it, I’m the boss.’ How ’bout that?”
Democrats are currently divided on the Green New Deal, with some expressing concernsabout the cost and scope of the bill. As the Times board points out, the bill was also significantly harmed by its bungled rollout, which featured an unprofessional and inaccurate fact sheet.
“Unfortunately, that rollout was anything but smooth, due largely to the bungling of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s staff, which posted on her website a set of pugnacious and poorly written talking points (later disavowed) that scared even moderate Democrats,” the Times board explained. “The talking points made other dubious promises, including jobs even for Americans ‘unwilling’ to work. The immediate result of this amateurish mess was to hand Mr. Trump and other climate deniers irresistible political talking points.”
Ultimately, the board claims, the arguably messy Green New Deal is still better than Trump’s “boneheaded” climate policies.
NYT excerpts: Whether such measures will satisfy the activists who have gathered around Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is another matter. After all, her talking points, as well as the resolution itself, speak also of providing higher education for all Americans; universal health care; affordable housing; remedies for “systemic injustices” among the poor, the elderly and people of color; and a federal job guarantee insuring “a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security.”
Which raises this question: Is the Green New Deal aimed at addressing the climate crisis? Or is addressing the climate crisis merely a cover for a wish-list of progressive policies and a not-so-subtle effort to move the Democratic Party to the left? At least some candidates — Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota among them — seem to think so.
Read literally, the resolution wants not only to achieve a carbon-neutral energy system but also to transform the economy itself. As Mr. Markey can tell you from past experience, the first goal is going to be hard enough. Tackling climate change in a big way is in itself likely to be transformative. We should get on with it.
In name and concept, the plan is not new. The term Green New Deal appeared in a column in The Times by Thomas Friedman in January 2007, in which he called for a vast public and private investment program that would throw everything under the sun (including, actually, the sun itself) — wind, solar, nuclear power, energy efficiency, advanced research, tax incentives and a price on carbon — into a massive effort to build a more climate-friendly energy system while also revitalizing the American economy.