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Green New Deal Provides Local Benefits

By Hannah Freedman

The Green New Deal (GND) is a multifaceted domestic policy concept which aims to actively address climate change. The proposal asks that the government invests in clean and renewable energy infrastructure, thereby generating more clean energy jobs and restructuring the economy. The GND began gaining media attention in November, after activists demanded a select committee in Congress to oversee implementation of the deal, which Democratic leadership has failed to create. Instead, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced she would bring back the climate-focused committee that Republicans shut down after taking power in 2010. The East Bay desperately needs bold policies included in the GND at a time when energy policy is at risk of slipping backwards in the Bay Area.

Since 2015, local activists and the City of Oakland have been fighting against a developer named Phil Tagami. He is attempting to build a coal terminal in Oakland which would transport coal in open top train cars from Utah to Oakland for shipping to other countries. Having coal in Oakland would exacerbate air pollution in the East Bay, and specifically West Oakland, which already has some of the worst air quality in California because of all of the freeways close by. The Bay Area is only one of many areas affected by fossil fuel extractions and transportations. Action needs to be taken and the deal will be the most effective in reducing the impact of fossil fuels like coal.

The GND is more promising than many of the efforts by the government to protect the environment because it couples together battling climate change, and improving the US economy. The American economy relies heavily on the fossil fuel industry, but the deal proposes creating a new industry which will offer many new jobs.

Those who oppose policies aiming to tackle climate change commonly do so because they fear economic loss. With the GND, the US would be less dependant on coal which would lead coal to be less profitable, so that the industry would shrink and the Earth would be healthier.

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