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Green New Deal Dialogue: The Politics & Implementation of US Climate Policy

March 14, 2019

Leading experts and academics convened at the school to discuss the Green New Deal – legislation laid out by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey. According to Jonas Nahm, an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS, the Green New Deal is an ambitious 10-year mobilization plan that aims to achieve zero net emissions by decarbonizing the US economy and promoting economic opportunity for all. He explained that the value of the new deal is that it focuses on addressing the issues of climate change at the right time.

The dialogue featured keynotes from Lizabeth Cohen of Harvard University and John Zysman of the University of California, Berkeley. Cohen discussed the legacy of the Green New Deal and its potential to achieve economic goals. She explained that the legislative proposal was inspired by the original ‘New Deal’ of President Franklin D. Roosevelt – which was most remarkable for inspiring Americans’ trust in the government. Zysman explained there are three interconnected challenges to the Green New Deal: existential threat of climate change, fundamental transformation of the operation of the economy, and the need to achieve a more equitable society. He said that the Green New Deal at its minimum forces an actual debate about how to solve these issues.

The second panel focused on the challenges – such as inequality and racism – facing the Green New Deal. On this panel, Darrick Hamilton of Ohio State University discussed inequality and the structure of the labor market in the United States while David Hart of George Mason University explained the challenges facing the US energy system.

The conference also featured discussions on the political strategies for implementing the Green New Deal, which highlighted the role of activists and civil society in the deal’s viability.