The Green New Deal unveiled last week by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is a powerful and ambitious statement. It’s more than just a delineation of the enormous changes that will be required to stave off the most cataclysmic impacts of climate warming.
Green New Deal is framed as a joint resolution, not a formal law, meaning even if it passed, the measure wouldn’t bind the government to any new policies. This distinction is key to understanding what the Green New Deal is — and is not — and how to usefully talk about it now. It is a major statement of the Democratic Party’s political priorities. It is not a detailed blueprint of how to get there — or how to pay for it.
The Green New Deal’s agenda, however, is clear: Dramatic action must be taken to avert a climate disaster that will otherwise render much of the world uninhabitable. This is an emergency that deserves immediate attention. Millions of lives are quite literally at stake.
Some of this faux controversy over the Green New Deal comes down to a feud within the economics profession over the rising prominence of a school of thought known as modern monetary theory.