Why We Need the Green New Deal

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Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time and in the U.S. we need to do more to combat it. The Green New Deal is a group of legislation introduced to Congress by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts. The Green New Deal aims to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions”, which means to emit no gases that contribute to climate change such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. The resolution will also create millions of jobs and ensure that people in the United States will have clean air and water and healthy food for generations.

Reuters/Pauline Askin

Last year NASA and the NOAA said that the last decade was the hottest ever recorded. The effects of climate change can be seen globally. NASA said that between 1993 and 2016, Antarctica lost about 127 billion tons of ice per year and extreme weather events have become more common as sea levels rise and the planet warms. The United Nations warned last year that there were “only 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change”. The goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions is to prevent the average global temperature increase reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius. An increase too much higher than this would cause more droughts, melting of icecaps, decreased food availability, and more harm to ecosystems.
Many youth activists have brought increased attention to the issue of climate change. Greta Thunberg, a Swedish 17 year old climate activist, has made appearances around the world, including addressing the U.N and was even named TIME’s person of the year. Other activists bring attention to specific problems caused by climate change. For example, Vanessa Nakate from Uganda wants to bring attention to the disproportionate harm to Africa caused by climate change when the continent emits the least greenhouse gases.
Being one of the most powerful countries in the world, the United States should be leading on the issue of climate change. The country should make an example that if a country as large as ours can make this change, then almost any other country should be able to too.
Even to someone who doesn’t believe that climate change is caused by humans, there are still obvious benefits of going carbon neutral. Oil, coal, and natural gas are limited in amounts and will take hundreds of millions of years to replenish. When those supplies become limited, prices would increase and it would not be realistic for the United States to be able to continue using electricity at its current rate without these resources. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only 17% of our energy produced is from renewable sources.
It’s important that the world acts quickly to stop climate change. The U.S. needs to elect leaders who will enact the Green New Deal to protect our planet’s future.