Capitol Report: The ‘Green New Deal’ isn’t really that new

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey speak during a press conference to announce Green New Deal legislation on Feb. 7, 2019.

The “Green New Deal” isn’t actually that new.

Released last week by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, the much-ballyhooed plan to combat climate change and create jobs has some broad goals in common with an identically named blueprint that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein ran on in 2012 and again in 2016.

Stein herself said as much on Twitter on Feb. 7, and said credit was actually due to her party’s Howie Hawkins, who ran for governor of New York on such a platform in 2010.

Here’s a look at some key similarities and differences between Stein’s plan (using the 2016 version) and the nonbinding resolution offered by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey last week.

2030 goals: Stein’s plan calls for shifting the economy to “100% clean, renewable energy by 2030,” while the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey version aims to eliminate the U.S. carbon footprint by 2030. That’s similar enough, but differs in that Stein explicitly calls for “a complete phase out of fossil fuels.” The Democrats’ version calls for meeting 100% of power through clean sources, but doesn’t contain the phase-out language.

Read: Democrats’ ‘Green New Deal’ to eliminate U.S. carbon footprint by 2030.

Jobs guarantee: Both plans contain a jobs guarantee. In the Democrats’ case, the goal is a “family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.” Stein’s version offers a target of 20 million jobs but the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey plan says only “millions.”

Carbon tax: A carbon tax is notably absent from the Democrats’ Green New Deal. Stein’s plan embraced it, saying such a levy is “the most efficient means to instill crucial price signals that spur carbon-reducing investment.”

Nuclear power: Also absent from the Democrats’ Green New Deal: mention of nuclear power. That’s a key difference from Stein’s, which calls for getting rid of it. “The resolution is silent on any individual technology,” Markey said at a news conference unveiling the bill. The language allowing possible room for nuclear power reportedly reflected concerns from labor groups, including those with members who work in the nuclear-energy industry.

Also see: As vague as it is, the Green New Deal could have a real impact on Corporate America. Here’s why.

Health care: Both plans broadly address human health, with a goal of the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey plan providing all Americans with “high-quality health care.” Stein’s version claims that health-care costs will go down under her plan since things like clean energy and healthy food are “the foundations of human health.”

Now read: Pelosi calls Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘new deal’ climate plan a ‘green dream.’

Robert Schroeder is the White House reporter for MarketWatch. Follow him on Twitter @mktwrobs.

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