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A clarion call to combat climate change

When almost all news about climate change concerns catastrophic events, there are a few shining lights in the U.S. and Europe. One is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, the newly elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The other is Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swede whose school strike outside the Swedish Parliament, in a clear-minded effort to force politicians to act on climate change, has inspired students in many countries to walk out of their classrooms and make similar demands. If Ms. Thunberg’s voice is inspiring for the way it has roused the youth, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is daring in her imagination and policies. The Green New Deal “is a four-part programme for moving America quickly out of crisis into a secure, sustainable future”. It takes its name from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous New Deal, a series of economic and social measures launched in the 1930s to end the Great Depression. The Green New Deal audaciously aspires to make sweeping changes to the environment and economy and meet all of the U.S.’s power demand from clean, renewable and zero emission energy sources by 2030, while at the same time addressing racial and economic justice. Thus, in many ways, it is more than just a climate change plan. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez along with Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey introduced the resolution in the House and Senate on February 7. What the deal says The resolution acknowledges the 1.5° report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment. It identifies the worldwide effects from warming, the disproportionate responsibility borne by the U.S. as a result of its historical emissions, and calls for the country to step up as a global leader. It speaks about the fall in life expectancy, economic stagnation, erosion of workers’ rights, and rising inequality in the U.S. Climate change that will asymmetrically affect the most vulnerable sections of U.S. society and ought to be considered a direct threat to national security. The resolution goes on to recognise the momentous opportunity available to take action. It states that it is the responsibility of the federal government to create a Green New Deal, which would meet its power demand through renewable sources in 10 years. It calls for a 10-year national mobilisation that would build infrastructure, eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as much as is technologically feasible, and reduce risks posed by the impacts of climate change. These goals entail dramatic changes in manufacturing, electricity generation, education, livelihoods, sustainable farming, food systems, an overhaul of transportation, waste management, health care, and strong pollution-control measures. The resolution also calls for international action by the U.S. on climate change. It recognises that public funds would be needed for these changes and need to be leveraged. It states that the federal government needs to take the full social and environmental costs of climate change into consideration through new laws, policies and programmes. Importantly, the Green New Deal calls for a federal jobs guarantee for all.

Source  : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/a-clarion-call-to-combat-climate-change/article26263472.ece

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