Learning With: ‘Nine Key Questions About the Green New Deal’

Learning With: ‘Nine Key Questions About the Green New Deal’

Before reading the article:

On Feb. 7, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts introduced a congressional resolution known as the Green New Deal — a sweeping and ambitious call for a “10-year national mobilization” to combat climate change.

In “Liberal Democrats Formally Call for a ‘Green New Deal,’ Giving Substance to a Rallying Cry,” Lisa Friedman and Glenn Thrush write:

Liberal Democrats put flesh on their “Green New Deal” slogan on Thursday with a sweeping resolution intended to redefine the national debate on climate change by calling for the United States to eliminate additional emissions of carbon by 2030.

They continue:

… as a blueprint for liberal ambition, it was breathtaking. It includes a 10-year commitment to convert “100 percent of the power demand in the United States” to “clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources,” to upgrade “all existing buildings” to meet energy efficiency requirements, and to expand high-speed rail so broadly that most air travel would be rendered obsolete.

Watch the two-minute video, “How Politicians Are Reacting to a Green New Deal,” and answer the following questions:

• Who has endorsed the Green New Deal and why?

• Why are some Republicans criticizing it?

• Why is the resolution getting so much attention?

Now, read the article, “Nine Key Questions About the Green New Deal,” and answer the following questions:

1. What kind of a congressional proposal is the Green New Deal? If it is approved by Congress, what will happen?

2. The resolution uses two major reports as its guide. What picture of climate change do those reports present?

3. What are the central goals of the Green New Deal? Give three examples of provisions intended to meet them.

4. How have critics responded to the Green New Deal? Why has there been some confusion about what exactly is in the resolution?

5. Why does the resolution include issues of social justice, like jobs, housing, human rights and oppression? How does it connect these issues to climate change?

6. The article says the Green New Deal would “change the way we design buildings, travel and eat.” In your own words, explain how.

7. From where does the Green New Deal take its name and inspiration? Why do you think the drafters of the resolution chose this historical precedent?

8. How much might the Green New Deal cost? Why is it difficult to calculate this figure?

9. The article concludes:

There is going to be a lot more political jockeying around the Green New Deal in coming weeks and months …

It is likely that the Green New Deal will remain a lightning rod throughout the 2020 presidential campaign.

How has the Green New Deal affected debate on climate change and the 2020 presidential campaign?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

— What do you think of the Green New Deal? Is it a bold vision to address the dire situation of global warming? Or is it an unrealistic, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach that will not lead to real changes? Which aspects of the Green New Deal resonate the most? Which do you find least persuasive?

— How important is the issue of climate change? Do you think this country is doing enough to address the problem? Is the Green New Deal a step in the right direction or an example of government overreach?

In “The Green New Deal Is Everything That’s Wrong with Progressive Environmentalism,” David French writes:

Nobody has to be a progressive to be concerned about the environment. Nobody has to be a progressive to respond to climate change. Any proposal that conditions response to climate change on the adoption of the full progressive platform is not only doomed to fail, but raises the question of whether the declared climate emergency is more pretext than crisis. There’s a need for a serious discussion about our climate. The Green New Deal is not serious.

— Do you agree? Is the Green New Deal wrong to connect climate change to other progressive issues?

Related New York Times Coverage:

“The Daily” podcast: “Promise and Peril of the Green New Deal

A Green New Deal Is Technologically Possible. Its Political Prospects Are Another Question.

Pressed by Climate Activists, Senate Democrats Plan to ‘Go on Offense’

Opinion: “The Green New Deal Is Better Than Our Climate Nightmare

Can America Still Build Big? A California Rail Project Raises Doubts