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What’s in the Green New Deal: Renewable Energy 101

Here's everything you should know about the Green New Deal and how it could better the planet.

Written by
Giulia Lallas

With Union Square’s new climate change clock counting down to the end of humanity as we know it, many of you may be wondering what in the world is going on. According to a Washington Post article, the clock was created by two artists called Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd and represents the exact amount of time until our planet’s carbon budget reaches total depletion, a little over 7 years from now. But are we really on the brink of an irreversible climate? And if we are, how do we stop the clock? One solution that's been proposed is the Green New Deal.

In an effort to slow down the clock, Congress members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ed Markey, and Bernie Sanders among others announced plans for a “Green New Deal” in early 2019. In short, the “Green New Deal” aims to transition our society to 100% renewable, clean energy by 2030 and get us on track to a more durable climate model.

But, what is renewable energy? In simple terms, renewable energy/clean energy, according to NRDC, is energy that "comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished.” Some examples of renewable energy include wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, tidal energy, biomass energy, and hydro energy. 

Comparing Renewable Energy Sources

Although many businesses are investing in renewable energy, large-scale changes are occurring very slowly. According to CNN, 32% of the energy produced in the U.S. still comes from natural gas and 30% comes from coal--with renewable energy following at 20%. If we continue on this track, the climate clock has a very slim chance of slowing down unless the "Green New Deal" is passed.

The "Green New Deal" also speaks on preserving rainforests and other natural ecosystems to reduce atmospheric pollution and strengthen biodiversity. It hopes to provide high-paying jobs to millions of Americans and reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions throughout our society stemming from an increased technological budget.

Additionally, this plan ensures that it will prioritize worker and minority rights while educating communities most vulnerable to the climate crisis. It plans to give all people clean water and air, as well as quality food. It expects to work with the farmers to reduce emissions from the agricultural department.

Agriculture is the world's largest water supply consumer, and huge methane contributor through cows, so improving its environmental impact is a challenge that may take years to solve fully. The deal also states that it will make trade deals in alignment with helping reverse the climate crisis.

So, what can you do to help? Well, before this deal gets passed, or if it simply does not pass, make sure to stay in touch with what is going on in our climate, switch to renewable energy if you can, make daily changes towards sustainability (you can find more tips on how to do this in some of our other articles), and we hope you enjoyed New York Climate Week!