The new climate "gold standard" for Democratic presidential hopefuls

The new climate

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is set to release her much-touted Green New Deal on Thursday - a package of far-reaching, big-government proposals like health care for all, federal job guarantees and a push to eliminate USA carbon emissions - but it's already receiving shade from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Ed Markey of MA on the policy, which aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years and create thousands of jobs in renewable energy.

"It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive", Pelosi said.

At least a half dozen Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls have said they would adopt Green New Deal policies, without offering specifics.

"We welcome the enthusiasm that is there with the Green New Deal", Pelosi said Thursday at a news conference.

Just in case the message didn't get through, Pelosi offered her thoughts on the Green New Deal, "or whatever they call it", to Politico.

The New York freshman lawmaker was one of the sponsors at Thursday's unveiling of a Green New Deal resolution on controlling climate change. The next attempt, she said, will need broader support.

Florida Rep. Kathy Castor will chair the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Advocacy of stronger environmental laws has been an important part of the agenda of Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, and other progressives in the new Congress. Hundreds of young activists stormed Pelosi's office after Democrats won the House in November and were briefly joined by Ocasio-Cortez in a live-streamed protest to demand passage of a radical plan to fight climate change.

Even so, the Green New Deal goes far beyond the Clean Power Plan proposed by former President Barack Obama.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez greets Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi before a ceremonial swearing-in picture on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2019.

"Quite frankly I haven't seen it but I do know it's enthusiastic, and I welcome all the enthusiasm out there", the California Democrat said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped eight Democrats to serve on a special committee to address climate change.

"It does, it does, yeah, I have no problem saying that", Ocasio-Cortez said.

Pelosi said Reps. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, Joe Neguse of Colorado, Donald McEachin of Virginia and Sean Casten of IL will serve on the panel, along with three Californians: Julia Brownley, Jared Huffman and Mike Levin.

"There is no greater champion on climate change than Nancy Pelosi", Markey said, following up Ocasio-Cortez's response. Some proposals have set the goal to converting the entire US economy to renewable energy within 12 years and eliminating the carbon footprint by 2030.

From left, Democratic Representatives Kathy Castor of Florida, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY and Donna Shalala of Florida listen as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on January 30.

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