There’s been a lot of news about proposals by young activists and some Democrats in Congress on what they’re calling “The Green New Deal.” Its purpose is two-fold, saving our environment by quickly converting to the use of clean renewable energy production and resetting the economic disparities broadened by crony capitalism over the last 40 years harking back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s efforts to revitalize the economy so that impoverished Americans could find jobs and care for their families.

We must address our production of greenhouse gases soon because scientists working together from all over the world and involving multiple disciplines have concluded that the earth is on track for 5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming, causing sea level rise of several feet and making extreme weather more frequent and dangerous. The next four to 12 years are critical if humanity wants to limit that warming to something survivable. Every year we wait to reduce greenhouse gases makes it harder to achieve.

So far, America’s efforts to address the problem have failed like the Obama administration rules to reduce coal use, which have been stalled by lawsuits brought by polluting industries. Donald Trump is rescinding most of those rules and Republicans have generally opposed any substantial action using the truly stupid argument that it is too expensive. That’s like telling a 40 year old with a bad heart that surgery is too expensive you’ll just have to die.

Right now The Green New Deal is a statement of principles, just the goals to be achieved. There are plenty of details to work out which is why it’s important to start work on it now and not wait until 2020 with the hope of a Democrat in the White House. The goals of the 10 year plan will require the effort of World War II and the scientific focus of the Apollo project to land a man on the moon. Some key points are dramatically expanding existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100 percent of national power demand through renewable sources.

Achieving the goals of The Green New Deal will require upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety. We’ll have to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries. We’ll work on eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by repairing and improving roads, highways, bridges and other infrastructure.

The effort to save our climate will require all hands on deck which makes it a great opportunity to provide all members of our society the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one.

Our congressman, Vicente Gonzalez, should be a vocal supporter of The Green New Deal given that his district — including Guadalupe County — will be among those suffering the most if we don’t address climate change quickly. Unfortunately he hasn’t joined the other 40 Democrats including Joaquin Castro in speaking out in favor of the effort.

There is a way to get him to join the call for The Green New Deal and that involves you, your family, and your friends. If we all take five minutes to call his office and let his staff know that climate change and good paying jobs in the green energy industry are important to us he can be convinced to join those other Democrats already working toward The Green New Deal. Call his Washington DC office at 202-225-2531.

JC Dufresne is a liberal activist and current member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, representing Senate District 25.

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