Elizabeth Warren's $10 Trillion Green New Deal Could Change America Forever

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Barely two weeks after she announced a Green New Deal for the oceans, U.S. presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has released the specifics for her vision of a Green New Deal for those of us who live on land.

She’s the queen of plans, and I gotta say: This one is pretty damn awesome. It includes the necessary features of any Green New Deal—investment in clean energy jobs, unions, decarbonization of the economy—but also highlights investments in housing, water infrastructure, and new loan programs. Equity and justice rest at the heart of it all. Warren wants everyone to be a part of the revolution to combat climate change, and that’s gonna be what it takes to avert a real crisis and make the world a better place at the same damn time.

Warren’s proposal calls for a $US10.7 ($16) trillion investment from the public and private sector that would create 10.6 million new jobs, including 6.8 million in the energy sector alone. This is the first presidential climate plan to seriously go toe to toe with Senator Bernie Sanders’ $US16 ($23) trillion proposal, which says it would create a whopping 20 million jobs. It’s no wonder Warren is edging really close to Sanders on Greenpeace’s scorecard.

The Green New Deal that Warren is proposing shows the way her plans all interlock (and indeed how climate change will affect every aspect of American life). In addition to her labour plan, her proposal for a Green New Deal touches on her Blue New Deal, green manufacturing, clean energy, education, and military plans as well. In essence, her latest proposal shows how she would reshape American society over the next decade.

Warren’s plan leans into the idea that the jobs creating our clean energy future should be fair, high-paying jobs. She calls for “working hand-in-hand with unions to do so,” and highlights her labour policy that would expand who could be a union member to include supervisors at construction sites who are sometimes left out due to current regulations. She’ll place new requirements on companies that want federal contracts to ensure women and people of colour can find employment with them as well, a move that would ensure that everyone has a chance to be part of the transformation needed to address the climate crisis.

And then there’s transportation. The days of petrol-guzzling cars must end, so the senator proposes all light- and medium-duty vehicles sold by 2030 be zero-emission. By the end of her first term, every single rest stop in the U.S. will have a charging station. And this electrification will include public buses, school buses, and trains. The U.S. Department of Transportation will be plenty busy if Warren winds up president.

We all expect a Green New Deal to discuss renewable energy jobs and reducing carbon emissions. What stands out about this policy, however, is its attention to how this investment in the labour sector can help tackle the other crises the U.S. faces. Water issues are worsening across the U.S. as decrepit pipes and stresses of climate change on water supplies take their toll. Warren wants to build a workforce to rip out our ageing pipes and prepare dams and levees for an unpredictable future full of storms and floods.

Beyond how we work and get around, Warren’s plan also includes a call for changing how we live. Specifically, the plan would address the housing crisis in the U.S., particularly the failures of the public housing system. Warren has already signed onto the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act (which Sanders introduced), and she imagines her Green New Deal working in line with this act, which seeks to invest heavily in public housing. The people who live here may not be wealthy or ballers, but they deserve a healthy living standard, especially as climate change makes their homes even more vulnerable.

The senator worked closely with Data for Progress, a progressive think tank, to crunch the numbers in her Green New Deal using modelling and federal data to see just how Warren’s plan would change the U.S. economy. Data For Progress senior fellow Kira McDonald worked on the plan and said that there’s potential for job creations numbers to be even higher.

“There’s room for more dramatic change,” she told Earther.

Candidates have been going hard for the climate crisis this election season, and if we can get a Democrat (really, any Democrat this point please) into the White House, the planet and those of us that call it home may have a fighting chance. The Green New Deal gives us a chance to not merely survive but thrive.

“I think we’re facing a crisis of social continuity, both politically and environmentally,” McDonald said, “and I think the Green New Deal—by building a coalition, by rebuilding family-sustaining jobs as a reasonable expectation for people in the workforce, and by addressing climate change—really addresses these crises in a unified and strategic way.”

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