Green New Deal: ‘Not Ruling a Carbon Tax Out, but a Carbon Tax Would Be a Tiny Part’

(INSET: Green New Deal co-sponsor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) ROMEOVILLE, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 01: Smoke rises from a coal-fired power plant on February 01, 2019 in Romeoville, Illinois. The recent polar vortex taxed power systems across the Midwest as demand for electricity climbed as temperatures plunged. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty, Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

The masterminds of the Green New Deal say a carbon tax would only make up a sliver of funding for the progressive Democrats’ proposal. 

The outline does not include a price estimate for the wide-ranging plan to tackle global warming and “systemic injustice,” but a separate FAQ says a carbon tax would help pay for a “tiny part” of it:

The Green New Deal is a massive investment in the production of renewable energy industries and infrastructure. We cannot simply tax gas and expect workers to figure out another way to get to work unless we’ve first created a better, more affordable option. So we’re not ruling a carbon tax out, but a carbon tax would be a tiny part of a Green New Deal in the face of the gigantic expansion of our productive economy and would have to be preceded by first creating the solutions necessary so that workers and working class communities are not affected. While a carbon tax may be a part of the Green New Deal, it misses the point and would be off the table unless we create the clean, affordable options first. [emphasis added]

As outlined Thursday, the nonbinding resolution sets a goal to meet “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources,” including dramatic increases in wind and solar power. While setting lofty goals, the plan does not explicitly call for eliminating the use of fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas — something that may disappoint supporters of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA), the two lawmakers who unveiled the outline Thursday.

In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes last month, the freshman lawmaker proposed hiking the marginal tax rate on income above $10 million to 70% to help fund the proposal.

At least five Democrat presidential hopefuls in the Senate — Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — co-sponsored the resolution. ”

“Excited to join @AOC & @SenMarkey on a historic resolution to address the peril of climate change and worsening inequality. Our history is a testimony to the achievement of what some think is impossible — we must take bold action now,” Booker said in a statement shared to social media.

Markey predicted more Democrats would sign on and said even some Republicans may back the plan.

“This is now a voting issue across the country,” he said. “The green generation has risen up and they are saying they want this issue solved” as one of the top two or three issues in the 2020 election, Markey said.

However, not all Democrats are thrilled with the proposal. In an interview with Politico Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) slighted the Green New Deal, describing it as the “green dream” Asked whether a planned select committee on climate change will take up writing legislation for it, Pelosi replied: “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive.”

Pelosi tapped eight Democrats to serve on the committee to address climate change. Ocasio-Cortez was not one of them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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