Wildfires are raging in the American west. There’s another triple digit heat wave headed for the Pacific Northwest, as communities across the Gulf South and East Coast prepare for a record breaking hurricane season. Climate change is here, and we need a Green New Deal to address this crisis, create millions of good paying, union jobs and advance racial and economic justice.
President Biden and Democrats in Congress are putting together an infrastructure package that could signify the beginning of the decade of the Green New Deal — but only if they pass policy at the scale this crisis demands.
During the presidential campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed spending $16 trillion over the next ten years investing in solutions to the climate crisis. Now, the biggest, boldest proposal in Congress would spend a total of about $4 trillion over the same period. We know this infrastructure package isn’t everything we need.
But still, this package would represent the biggest-ever investment to combat climate change, and the biggest public investment towards supporting working people since the New Deal. It will create good jobs, start to address the climate crisis and begin to transition the economy from one of destruction and despair to one of care and compassion. It’s our chance to show people that the government can make their lives better and that when we organize, we can win the change we deserve. We’ll build on this foundation in the years to come and bridge the gap between what’s on the table and what we know this crisis demands.
But right now, this legislation is at risk. We know that the fossil fuel industry is lobbying Members of Congress — on both sides of the aisle — and pushing for a smaller, weaker bill that will let them continue polluting frontline communities, warming our climate, and locking us into decades more fossil fuel development. The scary part is that it’s already working; Democratic Chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources committee Joe Manchin has said that fossil fuels should be part of any “clean” energy policy, and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said that she wouldn’t vote for the infrastructure package as is, threatening its chance of passing unless it gets even smaller.
We need to fight back, and stiffen the spines of Democrats in Congress to hold the line. We can’t let Exxon and their lobbyists attack our priorities and take them out of the legislative package.
We are fighting for Biden and Congress to pass an infrastructure package that will combat climate change, create millions of good jobs, advance racial and economic justice, and usher in the decade of the Green New Deal. This must include:
A fully-funded Civilian Climate Corps
- $132 billion to train a new workforce in long-term careers to tackle the climate crisis and improve community resilience, in line with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey’s Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act.
Bold investments towards public housing, schools, transit, and renewable energy
- $172 billion towards retrofitting existing public housing and building new units to expand safe, affordable housing, in line with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Sanders’ Green New Deal for Public Housing.
- $446 billion towards retrofitting America’s public schools, in line with Rep. Bowman’s Green New Deal for Public Schools.
- $653 billion towards electrifying and expanding public transit, in line with Sen. Schumer and Brown’s Clean Transit for America Plan, Rep. Hank Johnson’s Stronger Communities Through Better Transit Act, and Reps. Andy Levin and Ocasio-Cortez and Sens. Markey & Warren’s BUILD GREEN Infrastructure and Jobs Act.
- $250 billion towards funding climate projects and jobs in every local and tribal government in line with Reps. Bush and Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal for Cities Act.
- $1.1 trillion to transition the power sector towards 100% renewable energy through a Clean Energy Standard that prioritizes renewable energy and excludes fossil fuels including natural gas, in line with Reps. Clarke and Welch’s American Renewable Energy Act, as well as through other incentives and direct investments towards new renewable construction and deployment.
Worker protections as outlined in the PRO Act
- Every project of the Green New Deal must be driven by union labor. Congress must enact the largest labor law reform since the New Deal to protect and expand union organizing, in line with the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
At least 40% of investments to frontline communities
- All climate investments must work towards reversing systemic racial and economic injustice and actively advance environmental justice. In order to ensure this is the case, Congress must utilize a robust mapping tool, such as what is outlined in Rep. Bush and Sens. Markey and Duckworth’s Environmental Justice Mapping and Data Collection Act, to help identify frontline, environmental justice communities who have borne the brunt of fossil fuel and other toxic industry pollution, impacts of the climate crisis, and decades of disinvestment and environmental racism, and direct at least 40% of all investments towards those communities. Every committee of jurisdiction must ensure at least 40% of funds are being granted to environmental justice communities, and Congress and the public must have oversight to hold the federal government accountable and ensure the funds reach communities justly and directly.
An end to fossil fuel subsidies
- Congress must stop spending public money as a lifeline for the fossil fuel industry. Congress must repeal fossil fuel subsidies, in line with Rep. Omar and Sen. Sanders’ End Polluter Welfare Act, and invest in all of the above priorities to tackle the climate crisis rather than continue to fund the industry that created it.