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The Green New Deal Lands in Congress

Rapid transformation to clean energy seizes center stage and wins over some Democratic presidential hopefuls.

The non-binding Green New Deal resolution, initially sponsored by House newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senate veteran Edward Markey of Massachusetts, sets out to transform the economy to carbon-free energy. (Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.

The backers of a Green New Deal introduced a resolution in Congress on Wednesday to launch an all-out, decade-long mobilization aimed at transforming the economy to carbon-free energy.

They said their radically ambitious goal would restore America’s global leadership on climate change, build national prosperity, and protect the most vulnerable.

The non-binding joint resolution, initially sponsored by Democratic House newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Democratic Senate veteran Edward Markey of Massachusetts, has already become an instant political sensation.

Embraced by a coalition of environmental and social justice activists, the idea is also questioned by many in the energy and climate policy establishment.  Scorned by influential Republicans and powerful industry lobbyists, it has been endorsed by several early Democratic presidential candidates, including co-sponsors Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.).  Ocasio-Cortez’s political mentor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has not yet announced whether he will make another presidential run, also is a co-sponsor.

“This is an incredible moment,” said Markey at a news conference.  “Never have the interests of all Americans been as united on a single issue.  From the air we breathe, to the jobs that employ us, to the neighborhoods we live in, to the economy we operate in, climate change defines our existence.”

In an era when global warming and financial inequality are both setting records, Markey said the Green New Deal was an effort to address not only “the erosion of our coastlines,” but also “the erosion of the earning power of workers.”

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