What we believe in
The Green New Deal is at the core of what we’re fighting for. It is a vision for our society and our world, but it is also rooted in policy. The truth is, we won’t achieve a Green New Deal by only reaching our emissions targets. We will only reach our vision of a Green New Deal when we stop the climate crisis and no one in this country is left behind.
Each of the Four Pillars are critical to the Green New Deal. This is the only way we can truly stop the climate crisis and take care of people along the way.
Stop the climate crisis
Use the full force of the government to stop the climate crisis: The Green New Deal is a society-wide effort that requires effective coordination across all government agencies and levels of government. The federal government in particular is the only institution with the money and power to act at the scale and speed that science and justice demands. The United States needs to get to zero emissions sooner than the rest of the world to claim historical responsibility. That’s why for us, we demand that we fully decarbonize our economy by 2030.
- Pass ambitious, Green New Deal legislation at all levels of government: Every level of government – from school boards and city councils to Congress and the Presidency – needs to treat the climate crisis like the emergency that it is. That means passing policy that moves our society towards rapid decarbonization by 2030 while investing in the communities most left behind.
- Stop climate change while investing in justice: Black, brown and working class communities – in the US and across the world – are the most affected by the climate crisis. Our solutions must invest in the communities who have historically been left behind.
- End the era of fossil fuels: We need to transition away from all forms of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. This will take an all out mobilization of all sectors of society.
- No new oil, gas, or coal projects. It is long past the time to be building new pipelines and coal plants. Federal and state governments should deny all permits and projects that would further lock us in to a fossil fueled economy.
- Phase out existing projects that don’t leave anyone behind.
- No government investments, bailouts or subsidies may go to support fossil fuel polluters or the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure at home or abroad.
- Permits should be immediately denied or rescinded for the Dakota Access, Line 3, and all other pipelines under federal jurisdiction. Cease all current permits and prohibit any future development of fossil fuels on public lands and waters. Use a “climate test” that ensures no federal investments undermine our mission to limit warming to 1.5° C.
The President should use the full might of his office to address the climate crisis, by taking the following actions.
- Declare a Climate Emergency: We live in an emergency unlike humanity has ever seen: it’s time to act accordingly. In 1933, Roosevelt invoked the National Emergencies Act to act in the face of the Great Depression. Our president should follow suit on confronting the climate crisis.
- Build a Civilian Climate Corps: We need a government jobs program that puts millions of Americans to work combatting the climate crisis. These jobs could range from installing renewable energy to preparing our communities for climate disasters, teaching about the climate crisis to planting native plants. No matter what, we know it will take millions to do this work – and the government should lead.
Honor Indigenous Rights and Sovereignty: Indigenous nations are independent of the United States and are the sovereign protectors of their territories, but they have been repeatedly harmed through genocide, broken treaties, forced assimilation, and the theft of sacred land for extractive projects. The fossil fuel economy of today is built off this foundation of broken treaties and stolen lands. Yet, Indigenous cultures hold enormous knowledge that has otherwise been forgotten or ignored, and will be essential in the coming decades. From sustainable forest management practices like controlled burns, to growing productive food without depleting the nutrients of the soil with monocultures, to planting mangroves for resilience, indigenous knowledge is absolutely necessary for a just transition to a new economy. Indigenous peoples are, and should be seen as, leaders in the project of healing our land and culture.
- This means fully honoring past treaties, respecting indigenous sovereignty when it comes to both fossil fuel and renewable energy infrastructure, and ensuring that indigenous communities are well resourced and safe. We fully stand with the indigenous-led Red Deal as a way to expand the Green New Deal in the context of indigenous peoples
Create Millions of Good, Union Jobs for All
The reason this is part of the Green New Deal is simply because of the sheer amount of work it’s gonna take to transform our economy & society. We will need literally millions of jobs to rework our society to face the climate crisis. And it won’t just be jobs in building, either! We’re going to need to invest in careers like teaching and nursing, too – the type of low-carbon work that we’ll need a lot more of. The government has a responsibility to invest in, and scale, the good work that keeps our country running and works to stop the climate crisis.
Create federal, state, and municipal job programs to overhaul every sector of society to face the climate crisis. These jobs will do the necessary work to…
- Retrofit and upgrade all commercial and residential buildings to 100% sustainability, focusing on public schools, colleges, and universities
- Expand and retrofit public housing and upgrading low-income homes
- Expand regenerative agriculture and level the playing field for family farmers through supply management and enforcing antitrust laws
- Build accessible and low-carbon public transit for all
- Expand wind and solar energy, including rooftop solar; and modernize and democratize our energy grid
- Fix, replace, and expand water infrastructure to guarantee clean water for all, and care for the planet by restoring natural ecosystems and remediating toxic sites
- Respond to climate disasters, such as heat waves, floods, fires, and hurricanes
- Invest in the low-carbon, care based economy, in sectors such as education, the arts, public recreation, childcare, elder care, health care
All job programs and all benefits of these programs must be accessible to all people regardless of citizenship status, good-paying, and unionized.
Empower workers in the workplace and in the economy: Protect the right of workers to organize and form a union. Prevent exploitation by requiring that all Green New Deal projects adopt strong wage standards and project labor agreements. Encourage expansion of worker ownership, including worker co-ops, as a way to democratize the economy and build community wealth. Protect workers at home and abroad by reforming trade agreements to prioritize workers and climate over corporations.
Ensure a just transition for fossil fuel workers: Workers in fossil fuels and other polluting industries have given their lives and bodies to power this country. We owe it to them to make their families and communities whole as the economy transitions away from fossil fuels, through direct provision of five years of wage and benefit guarantees, other benefits, and targeted industrial policy to establish diversified and healthy economies in former extractive regions and deindustrializing communities. The energy transition is happening one way or another; the government has a responsibility to manage this transition for the benefit of all, and with impacted workers and community members as equal partners in the process.
Invest in Racial and Economic Justice
The Green New Deal sees the climate crisis not just as a crisis, but as an opportunity. If we’re going to remake all of our society, we should work to undo historical wrongs and ACTUALLY build a society that ensures equality for all people. Not only is this the right thing to do – it’s also the only way we will win.
The climate crisis disproportionately affects Black, brown and working class people, in the US and across the world. Our vision of the future must protect those most affected. Here’s what this could look like.
- 40% for Frontlines
- At least 40% of decarbonizing investments—equating to at least $1.6 trillion over 4 years and $4 trillion over 10 years—must go directly to communities on the frontlines of pollution and historically excluded from investment.
- Use climate action as a form of reparations
- The Green New Deal is a once-in-a-century reinvention of our society; we must take this opportunity to eliminate the foundational inequalities that have plagued America since its founding. Black people in this country are owed reparations for the historic injustices of slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and ongoing discrimination to this day. People of the Global South are owed climate reparations–through the Green Climate Fund and more– to manage the impacts of climate change, which have fallen disproportionately on the Global South despite being driven by nations of the Global North.
- Abolish the Police, Fund Social Programs
As a movement for climate justice, we know that it is necessary to dismantle the underlying systems of extraction, segregation, and racist inequality that have allowed for the exploitation of people and the environment they live in. That means we cannot achieve climate justice without moving away from police and prisons. In following the lead of Black-led movements like the Movement for Black Lives, we believe that we must divest from brutally violent and discriminatory policing, and instead invest in social programs that better our communities. That is how we can keep everyone safe.
Reimagining our Government to Work for Everyday People
Corporations can’t and won’t address the climate crisis, so we need the government to step up and take the action we need. That means investment in the public sector. We need a social safety net because the climate crisis will cause huge devastation to everyone, without a safety net only the rich and wealthy can survive. And in order to have those things, we need a functional democracy – that actually listens to us. It’s about bringing more and more parts of society under democratic control, instead of allowing unelected, unaccountable corporations to make all the decisions that run our lives.
- Social Safety Net
- When climate disasters hit, we will need a social safety net in place – to make sure it’s not just the wealthiest who can survive. This means everyone is guaranteed a good job, health care, and every other human right.
- Public Sector
- Corporations will take the coming green transition as an opportunity to expand their reach and exploit us. But the reality is that we cannot stop climate change under corporate leadership. It’s time to invest in the public good, not just corporate control.
- Working Multiracial Democracy
- Since our founding, American democracy has excluded huge groups of people – people of color, working class people, women, and young people in particular. Now, extremists are trying to erode democracy and dismantle life-saving government programs. Their goal is permanent minority rule by a few rich white businessmen. It’s time to realize the dream of a thriving multiracial democracy that works for all people.