The ‘Green New Deal’ proposal being spearheaded by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., can be traced back to the Obama administration, Politico reports.
Former President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus, in 2009 in order to help the economy recover from the recession.
“People don’t understand how forward-leaning the stimulus was on climate issues,” Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., the chair of the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, told Politico. “It’s a road map for a Green New Deal.”
Sean McElwee, who co-founded Data for Progress, added that “there was an incredible amount of green stuff in it that people didn’t see. Now we’re saying: ‘How about a second stimulus that’s more directly green?’”
Although the stimulus did help push the U.S. towards a low-carbon economy, it also pumped money into solar manufacturer Solyndra, which collapsed in 2011. Politico notes that the package boosted American spending on clean energy by a factor of 20, and helped build the largest wind farm in the world.
“A big part of politics is storytelling, and we didn’t tell our story very well,” said former assistant energy secretary Cathy Zoi. “Our investments really catalyzed market transformation, but that message didn’t get out.”
“Look, cutting our emissions in half by 2030 is going to be a tall order for a Congress that can’t even fund the government,” Castor added. “But climate is an issue that unites Democrats.”
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