Progressive Democrats in Congress on Thursday released a nonbinding resolution for a Green New Deal, calling for massive public investment in renewable energy and the power grid to decarbonize the electric utility sector within a decade.
The resolution calls for a "national mobilization" to meet all U.S. electricity demand with "clean, renewable and zero-emission sources" within the next ten years. That transition would include a move away from nuclear energy to renewable resources only, according to a fact sheet on the bill, reported by Bloomberg.
The resolution also calls for investment in the electrical grid, transportation electrification and clean manufacturing technologies with the goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions from the U.S. economy by mid-century. Bill sponsors held a press conference Thursday to spell out more details of the plan.
While short on technical details, the Green New Deal resolution released Thursday represents the first time the goals of the broad environmental movement have been outlined in an official Congressional document.
The resolution released by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and Sen. Ed Markey, D-MA, calls for an unprecedented shift in electric power generation — moving U.S. utilities to zero-emission sources within a decade.
That would be achieved by "dramatically expanding and upgrading existing renewable power sources," according to the resolution, while also "deploying new capacity" and building "energy efficient, distributed and 'smart' power grids."
The document also calls for "overhauling transportation systems" to eliminate carbon emissions and upgrading "all existing buildings" for "maximum energy efficiency … including through electrification."
The goals of the document would represent a sea change for the electric power sector in the U.S., which today generates less than 40% of its power from zero-carbon resources.
More than half of that zero-carbon capacity comes from nuclear energy, which would reportedly be phased out under a Green New Deal. While the resolution does not explicitly exclude nuclear energy, Bloomberg reported Thursday that a fact sheet supplied by Ocasio-Cortez's office singles it out.
"[T]he Green New Deal will not include investing in new nuclear power plants and will transition away from nuclear to renewable power sources only," the fact sheet reportedly says.
The document released Thursday is a nonbinding resolution, meaning its passage would not have the force of law. While the plan is unlikely to gain broad Congressional support in its current form, its outlines are likely to shape climate conversations in 2019 and beyond, particularly in the race for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.