Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders are taking giant steps towards averting the world’s greatest crisis

Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at Climate Change Town Hall, 3 December 2018
John McEvoy

Noam Chomsky famously described the US Republican Party as “the most dangerous organisation on earth”. He continued: “What does it mean to say not only are we not doing anything about climate change, but we’re trying to accelerate the race to the precipice?”.

Now, at long last, progressive Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders are forging a credible solution to this spiralling crisis. And it’s called the ‘Green New Deal’.

Green New Deal

Since the Democratic Party gained a majority in the House of Representatives, progressives like Ocasio-Cortez have been pushing for a ‘Green New Deal’. The plan combines promoting “economic and environmental justice and equality” with a “detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan” to turn the US economy “carbon neutral”.

It now has the support of over 14 representatives and, if successful, would be released in January 2020.

According to climate activist Naomi Klein:

This is not a piecemeal approach that trains a water gun on a blazing fire, but a comprehensive and holistic plan to actually put the fire out.

Vitally, the Green New Deal has the potential to meet the targets of this year’s UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which showed that we have only “12 years left to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown”.

And the Green New Deal “train keeps chugging”:

Climate change town hall

At a televised town hall meeting on 3 December, Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez blasted Donald Trump, Republicans, and Democrats alike on climate policy. And both shared their thoughts on Twitter:

“This is going to be the Great Society”, said Ocasio-Cortez, “the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation. That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require.” The New York member-elect’s comments echo remarks made almost a decade prior by Bolivian diplomat Angélica Navarro Llanos, who declared that we need “a Marshall Plan for the Earth”.

Dare to hope?

Various prior attempts by Democrats to change climate policy have collapsed. To a large degree, this is because establishment politicians have been all too aware that averting climate breakdown requires systemic economic change. But now, we can see the first significant instance of elected US politicians recognising the necessity of systemic change as fact – and supporting it.

After an interview with Sanders, Naomi Klein wrote:

I feel more optimistic about our collective chances of averting climate breakdown than I have in years. For the first time, I see a clear and credible political pathway that could get us to safety, a place in which the worst climate outcomes are avoided and a new social compact is forged that is radically more humane than anything currently on offer.

A Sanders victory in 2020 could well be our best chance to avert the world’s greatest ever crisis.

Featured image via screengrab via Senator Bernie Sanders/YouTube

Get involved

  • Read about the Green New Deal here.
  • See more of The Canary‘s coverage of US politics.

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