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What exactly is the Green New Deal, anyway?

The Green New Deal is a major talking point when it comes to green energy and the climate crisis. But if someone asked you to explain exactly what it is in a nutshell, could you? (If not, you’ll be able to in about three minutes.) Here’s a quick explainer.

What is it?

One Green Planet sums the Green New Deal up perfectly and succinctly:

It’s a transformation that moves our current economy from one dependent on fossil fuels to one driven by clean energy, which includes reducing economic inequality and expanding health care for all Americans.

It combines President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s approach in the New Deal during the Great Depression with ideas about green energy and renewables. Writers and activists had previously used the term in the 2000s.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) released a 14-page resolution for their Green New Deal on February 7, 2019. It’s a framework, and legislators still need to work out the plan’s nitty-gritty.

Who supports it?

Climate-crisis activist coalition The Sunrise Movement have thrown their support behind the resolution, which they describe as:

A 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030, a guaranteed living-wage job for anyone who needs one, and a just transition for both workers and frontline communities.

At present, the Green New Deal is an exercise in communication and awareness. It would be an extremely difficult bill to pass in Congress, but it’s certainly put the issues on the table.

And as the Sierra Club rightly pointed out, local and state organizations are already taking proactive steps:

From coast to coast, broad local coalitions are leading the way in pushing state-level Green New Deal policies that create good jobs, cut climate and local pollution, and counteract racial and economic inequity… Their local successes offer momentum, and a model, for a nationwide mobilization under a new administration.

It also has global momentum, as Electrek explained on October 10 in our story, “Nearly 100 city mayors announce support of global Green New Deal at C40 summit.”

Ocasio-Cortez told NPR in February:

I do think that when there’s a wide spectrum of debate on an issue, that is where the public plays a role. That is where the public needs to call their member of Congress and say, ‘This is something that I care about. Where I do have trust is in my colleagues’ capacity to change and evolve and be adaptable and listen to their constituents.

The following US Democratic presidential candidates support a Green New Deal:

Joe Biden, Corey Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.