The political outlook gives a spectrum of AOC’s political engagement on how to combat Global Warming and how to do so with the Green New Deal. This section will assess the motivation and the thought of implementation behind H.Res.332 — 117th Congress (2021-2022).
Combining the combat of climate change and social justice into one ACT
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a champion of progressive values, presents a platform rooted in empathy and equality, where she addresses a wide range of pressing issues that affect everyday Americans. Her vision encompasses a comprehensive set of policies aimed at cultivating a socially equitable society, wherein everyone is accorded the same rights and opportunities. This platform is firmly grounded in her core ideals and morals as a person, which accumulated through her ethnic background, her family upbringing, and her educational pathway. Central to AOC’s campaign are the six pillars that underpin her policy objectives: ensuring universal access to healthcare through Medicare for all, recognising housing as an essential human right, reimagining public safety, advocating for dignified immigration policies, fostering Puerto Rico’s recovery from natural disasters, and elevating the standard of public education. Furthermore, her goal of igniting the Green New Deal, which originates from the Environmentalist Conference back in 2003, is a 10-year national mobilisation plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change while also trying to fix societal problems like economic inequality and racial injustice.
AOC’s intrinsic motivation
As a young woman with a cultural heritage in Puerto Rico and growing up in the Bronx, AOC identifies with systemic inequality and the consequences of experiencing the perceived threat of climate change. Addressing the climate crisis in the United States, AOC aims to mitigate the catastrophic impacts of climate change both for the environment and human communities – especially those who can protect themselves the least. Embracing a progressive approach, AOC espouses the twin pillars of environmental justice and economic equality, endeavouring to forge an equitable society intertwined with a sustainable economy. This is realised through the creation of green economy jobs, investments in sustainable infrastructure, and the pursuit of a just transition toward a future that harmoniously coexists with the natural world while prioritising the needs of marginalised communities. By propelling this long-term solution, AOC aspires to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels, thereby minimising the nation’s exposure to geopolitical risks and advancing its national security.
What does H.Res.332 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) really mean?
Theoretically speaking, AOC envisioned implementing landmark legislation nationwide, where the public sector helped to finance a transition into a green economy, primarily by retooling the economy to renewable energy. The multifaceted transition encompasses the fortification of climate resilience, the revitalization of US infrastructure, and the ambitious objective of meeting 100% of the nation’s power demand through the agency of clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources. The Green New Deal aims to address climate change through a set of goals and projects. These goals and projects include building energy-efficient power grids, promoting affordable access to electricity, upgrading buildings for maximum energy efficiency and sustainability, and promoting clean manufacturing. The bill also promotes sustainable land-use practices and building a sustainable food system, as well as overhauling transportation systems to reduce emissions. Beyond these endeavours, the document further advances the cause of sustainable land-use practices and the creation of a resilient food system, while propelling an extensive overhaul of transportation systems to effectively mitigate emissions.
The progressive proposal places paramount importance on human security, striving to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from farming while ensuring access to healthy food and universal healthcare for all Americans. The plan also seeks to safeguard basic human rights, ensuring clean air, clean water, and healthy food while combating all forms of oppression. The outcome of the federal investment is to incentivise domestic production, such as greener steel manufacturing and jumpstarting the decarbonisation of American industry. Via several pieces of legislation, the Green New Deal will likewise include universal health care and a guarantee of federal jobs.
Focusing on energy security, the Green New Deal envisions an extensive transformation, aiming to upgrade all existing buildings for energy efficiency and shift the country’s electricity sourcing to 100 per cent renewable and zero-emissions power. The plan includes digitising the power grid and investing in electric vehicles and high-speed rail to revolutionise the transportation system. Promoting economic stability, the Green New Deal proposes overhauling transportation systems to reduce emissions and foster electric car manufacturing and charging station expansion, diminishing the necessity for air travel.
Moreover, the Green New Deal emphasises social cohesion, prioritising vulnerable groups disproportionately impacted by significant transitions. By guaranteeing family-sustaining wages, family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security, the plan aims to provide economic security to all citizens of the United States. Additionally, it seeks to ensure communities of colour are no longer adversely affected by climate change.
Continuous Efforts to Combat Global Warming after a failed Green New Deal
However in practice, the Green New Deal is on the one side a non-binding agreement and on the other has not been ratified. Nevertheless, there are other pieces of legislation that have passed in the House of Representatives since AOC’s first term. The “Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act” of September 2020 aims to promote specifically the aforementioned green jobs and research for sustainable development. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” from November 2021 is another example of legislation that promotes clean transportation, broadband expansion, and resilience to climate change impacts in infrastructure projects. Furthermore, Ocasio-Cortez’s support and advocacy in the most significant climate law in US history signifies how, although the Green New Deal itself failed, the overall idea of enabling climate justice in the US continues. The “Inflation Reduction Act” of 2021 aims to combat climate change, reduce healthcare costs, and make the wealthiest in society contribute more taxes to finance this. The legislation includes the highest funding for climate initiatives in US history (US $396 billion), lower healthcare expenses, and measures targeting wealthier individuals and corporations. The legislation allows funding over US $55 billion including investments in rural and Tribal communities. More importantly, the IRA amended the Clean Air Act, essentially giving the EPA—a federal agency—stronger power to regulate corporate carbon emissions in the United States.,
Though the Green New Deal faces criticism for its loose framework and perceived high costs, seen as too radical and infeasible in the proposed timeline, its impact remains subject to regulatory challenges and conservative opposition.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s policy outlook and the Green New Deal represent a bold and transformative vision for addressing the pressing challenges of our time. By promoting renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, and job creation, AOC’s platform seeks to build a greener, more resilient future while ensuring that all Americans have access to clean air, clean water, and quality healthcare.
IExRAIA Summer Research Program:
This article is an excerpt from a report on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez produced as part of a research program RAIA on climate leaders. For a full picture of AOC’s climate leadership read the full report. This project was fully financed by IE University’s School of Politics, Economics and Global Affairs.
Authors: Maria Romero & Felipa Eichel
Editor: David Salinger
Project Lead: Joshua Dario Hasenstab
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