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What is the Green New Deal? (And why we need it now)

Windmill at dusk A Green New Deal is a plan with the scope and ambition necessary to transition our society and economy away from fossil fuels to fend off the oncoming climate crisis.

According to a major report by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, unless we take drastic action to get carbon emissions under control in the next decade – by the year 2030 – the global ecosystem will tip into an irreversible slide toward breakdown. In the United States, warming will devastate every sector of the economy, from agriculture to public health. Mass migration, widespread flooding, uncontrollable wildfires – all of it will arrive in a matter of years.

A Green New Deal is a plan to prevent this – and it’s much more. Named for Pres. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that helped lift the United States out of the Great Depression in the 1930s, a Green New Deal is a sweeping program of investment – not only in clean energy, but also in jobs, income inequality, infrastructure, and racial justice. It would give us an economy that is sustainable, strong and fair after our transition away from carbon.

By some estimates, a Green New Deal could create 10 million jobs over the next decade by putting Americans to work on sustainable technology and infrastructure projects we need to transition away from fossil fuels. It would reduce income inequality and bring solutions to communities that have been left behind.

Like the original New Deal, this plan would mean a major transformation of our economy. To achieve its goals, we would need to accomplish a lot that is not explicitly mentioned in the plan, like keeping existing fossil fuels in the ground. This vision is bold – but it is necessary, and it is possible. We already know what we need to do to get off of fossil fuels today. What we need is the political will.

And that much-needed political will is coming. Progressive champion Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with her colleague Sen. Ed Markey, recently introduced an ambitious resolution for a Green New Deal in Congress. Their plan would transition the United States to 100% clean energy by 2030, invest in communities on the frontlines of poverty and pollution, and guarantee a good job to anyone ready to make this happen. As of May, 92 representatives and 12 senators have signed on as co-sponsors so far.

But passage of such a bold plan won’t be easy. Big Oil special interests, which have hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, plan to fight this plan to protect their bottom line. In fact, according to an analysis by Maplight, an organization that tracks the influence of money in politics, opponents of a Green New Deal received 24 times more campaign cash from the oil and gas industry as those who support the resolution.

We can fight to counter their influence. If we push as many of our elected officials to support a Green New Deal resolution as possible, we will force congressional leadership to recognize that there is a powerful movement behind a Green New Deal.

That’s why we’ve launched a petition urging Congress to stand with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey and sign on to support a Green New Deal resolution. You can add your name here to join the more than 70,000 CREDO members who have already signed on.

With your help, CREDO and our allies can help tackle the climate crisis and ensure Congress takes this bold step to address the biggest crisis facing our planet. The climate crisis is too urgent to do anything else.

It would look infinitely better. And that’s why CREDO and our allies are ramping up pressure on the Democratic House of Representatives to pass bold, transformative climate and green jobs initiatives and legislation.

If you’re concerned about climate change, here’s another step you can take right now: switch your phone service to CREDO Mobile and your home electricity to CREDO Energy. We fight for climate justice through CREDO Action and donate to environmental organizations that are fighting the climate crisis every day, as well as many other progressive groups. Take a look at who we fund and vote to determine how we distribute donations this month.

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