A sweeping package of climate-change measures unveiled Thursday by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew a tepid response from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who didn’t explicitly throw her support behind the measure.
The proposals, which have come to be known as the Green New Deal, were crafted in conjunction with Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. The Democrats’ plan envisions shifting away from fossil fuels and other sources of emissions that cause global warming within 10 years.
The proposal also calls for moving away from nuclear power, according to a fact sheet on the plan distributed by Ocasio-Cortez’s office, which some climate activists favor as a carbon-free energy source.
“We welcome the enthusiasm that is there with the Green New Deal,” Pelosi said Thursday at a news conference. “Quite frankly I haven’t seen it, but I do know it’s enthusiastic, and we welcome all the enthusiasms that are out there.”
Pelosi described the Green New Deal as one among many proposals to address climate change, emphasizing the urgency of the issue while highlighting the work that existing committees have also begun.
“The public is much more aware of the challenge that we face and that is a good thing,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, said.
The plan has already gathered 60 co-sponsors in the House and has prompted strong opposition from Republicans and industry leaders who say it’s technologically impossible and will costs tens of trillions of dollars.
Advocacy of stronger environmental laws has been an important part of the agenda of Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, and other progressives in the new Congress. Hundreds of young activists stormed Pelosi’s office after Democrats won the House in November and were briefly joined by Ocasio-Cortez in a live-streamed protest to demand passage of a radical plan to fight climate change.
“Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us, our country, our world,” Ocasio-Cortez said on NPR’s Morning Edition. “No one has actually scoped out what that larger solution would entail. And so that’s really what we’re trying to accomplish with the Green New Deal.”
The proposal has no chance of gaining support in the Republican-controlled Senate, let alone being signed into law by President Donald Trump, but has become a rallying cry among some liberals and a lightning rod among conservatives.
“The Green New Deal is a raw deal for the American taxpayer,” said Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “As Democrats take a hard left turn, this radical proposal would take our growing economy off the cliff and our nation into bankruptcy. It’s the first step down a dark path to socialism.”