This month Senator Bernie Sanders won the Democratic caucus in Iowa and primary in New Hampshire. Anyone interested in the preservation of life on earth should be delighted with this result. Not all climate policies were made equal. This couldn’t be more evident in Bernie Sanders’ support for a radical Green New Deal, an attempt to fundamentally transform the economy to sustainable energy sources, with justice for working-class and disempowered communities at the forefront.
What makes Bernie’s Green New Deal different? The GND calls for decarbonising energy and transit by 2030, and full decarbonisation by 2050, to achieve this, Sanders has pledged $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund. It will bring the renewables and fuel industries under public control, creating twenty million new jobs across the Green Industry. It will ban imports and exports of oil and gas, making it harder for the fossil fuel industry to profit from climate destruction. Not only this, but Bernie’s Green New Deal will go after the companies who have driven us to climate breakdown. It will fight destruction of life on this planet with a people-powered movement, one that pursues political change with a moral fury we so desperately need.
The Green New Deal promises a dignified life to the thousands of Americans denied it, whether that is the coal miners denied their pensions or the indigenous people fighting to protect their water. There is no greater force to bring together the working class and the marginalised populations of America. The Green New Deal promises fulfilment that the decaying capitalist world could never bring.
It is naïve to think that electing Bernie Sanders to the White House will halt climate breakdown overnight. It is naïve to think that the United States Congress will rush to pass such a radical, left-wing project. However, the IPPC report that declared we have twelve years to make change has in fact, done little. Climate breakdown is happening, and history will condemn every politician and every activist that did not have it at the top of their priority list. Similarly, though most candidates have at least toyed with environmental policy, many Democratic candidates still welcome billionaire donors. A candidate that has welcomed hatred from the fossil fuel industry, and returned the check of the only billionaire to donate to his campaign, is the only candidate we can accept.
The United States is the largest carbon emitter in world history, it is also the world’s largest economy. We can refuse to go to school, refuse to work and show up in our masses, but the fact is that we have to make radical political change. To see a democratic socialist in the White House, and a Green New Deal that works for everyone, rolled out in the United States, would truly be revolutionary. Revolution is what we need, “from the Oval Office, to the street marches”.
If we even want to begin that revolution, first, Bernie must win the Democratic nomination and then, he must defeat Trump. After all, life on earth depends on it.