Last week, democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveiled her "Green New Deal," and the responses have come fast and furious from the political and commentariat classes, with supporters on the left rushing to defend it and critics on the right holding it up for ridicule. But what do average people think about the GND, including AOC's supporters?
Campus Reform took some time to talk with a few self-styled progressive students last week and learned that when they heard some of the goals spelled out in AOC's since-deleted explainer and FAQ, their confidence in her plan waned dramatically. In a lengthier man-on-the-street video posted this week that has begun to garner some attention, including over at Hot Air, "Barely Informed With Elad" went to a Green New Deal rally in New York City to ask supporters to explain how exactly the proposal would accomplish its ultimate goal: turning back the "climate change crisis."
In the video, Elad — a conservative filmmaker who says he "like[s] reporting on protests and talking to the people there to find out what's wrong" and finds "they usually aren’t sure" — speaks with a number of GND supporters, most of whom appear to be relatively informed about the plan's initiatives. His central question: Even if the U.S. were somehow able to reach its goal of "net-zero emissions" in ten years, as laid out by AOC, how would that actually impact the climate significantly enough to result in real change?
The U.S., Elad explains, contributes about 15% of the world's carbon emissions. If other countries, particularly China and India, don't have the same goal, and, in fact, seem committed to even more aggressively using fossil fuels as their economies grow, how is the plan actually going to impact the climate?
If you haven't had the chance to read the FAQ, here are a few highlights, including the literally impossible goal of net-zero emissions in 10 years and the infamous "farting cows" line:
Why 100% clean and renewable and not just 100% renewable? Are you saying we won’t transition off fossil fuels?
Yes, we are calling for a full transition off fossil fuels and zero greenhouse gases. Anyone who has read the resolution sees that we spell this out through a plan that calls for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from every sector of the economy. Simply banning fossil fuels immediately won’t build the new economy to replace it – this is the plan to build that new economy and spells out how to do it technically. We do this through a huge mobilization to create the renewable energy economy as fast as possible. We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.
Here's another passage that got more attention than AOC's team apparently intended:
Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle
And finally here is the explanation for how to pay for the tens of trillions of dollars in initiatives:
How will you pay for it?
The same way we paid for the New Deal, the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs. The same way we paid for World War II and all our current wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit. There is also space for the government to take an equity stake in projects to get a return on investment. At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.