On Friday (December 14), the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication released results of a new poll in which the vast majority of respondents—regardless of political affiliation—support the Green New Deal, proposed legislation that marries environmental justice with economic justice to combat climate change.
The Green New Deal, as described in the draft text, is a “national, industrial, economic mobilization plan…for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.”
It aims to do this, as Earther.com reports, by "switching the U.S. electrical grid to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, improving energy efficiency and setting up policies for a green jobs guarantee while planning a just transition for fossil fuel workers as they move into new economic sectors."
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who was elected in November, is the primary Congressional champion of the legislation. Thirty-six other members of Congress are also in support of it. Last Friday, Refinery 29 reported that more than 300 local and state officials added their support to the proposal in an open letter. “This is going to be the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the Civil Rights Movement of our generation,” Ocasio-Cortez recently said in a town hall.
The Yale poll did not mention Ocasio-Cortez’s involvement, nor did it cast the plan as a Democrat-led initiative. It instead showed respondents a brief description of the Green New Deal, followed by the question “How much do you support or oppose this idea?” Reports Earther.Com:
The new polling numbers (which are based on online polling of 966 registered voters) show that 81 percent of respondents support this idea either “somewhat” or “strongly.” That includes 92 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of Independents and even 64 percent of Republicans.
The Green New Deal intends to address environmental racism, which refers to the systemic structures that place disproportionate environmental burdens and hazards on people based on race and ethnicity. The legislation states it will “take into account and be responsive to the historical and present-day experiences of low-income communities, communities of color, Indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm.”
Per The Washington Post:
By championing environmental justice as a foundational principle of a Green New Deal—prioritizing employment for the communities that historically have borne the brunt of pollution—Ocasio-Cortez is counting on building the popular pressure needed to overcome Big Oil’s long-standing stranglehold over federal policy.
To move forward with the Green New Deal, the House of Representatives must create a select committee, a bipartisan group of 15 members who will draft an official bill.