Monday, April 22—On the third floor of the Campus Center in Ballroom C, Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey visited the University of Massachusetts Boston to talk about his Green New Deal that he is working with New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on. The deal would help the United States transition from an infrastructure surrounded by fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, to a more renewable infrastructure, such as solar and wind.
Senator Markey brought up a United Nations report from 2018, “Special Climate Report: 1.5℃ Is Possible but Requires Unprecedented and Urgent Action,” that the planet is experiencing a fever and that a change to has to be made immediately before major global impacts occur. The report stated that rather than making changes to the environment before the rise in the temperature of the planet reaches 2 degrees Celsius, changes must be made before the temperature rises by 1.5 degrees Celsius, and a massive change has to be made by 2030.
Markey explained in his talk that the U.S. needs to become a global leader in renewable energy before they can tell other countries how they should be more renewable. His Green New Deal has been met with ridicule from the Republican side and President Donald Trump, whom he called the “Denier in Chief,” with them arguing that the deal won’t work and that it would cost trillions of dollars. According to the Senator, President Trump is trying to reverse a lot of the green deals in place already due to his connections with big name oil companies. Markey countered the points made by the Republican side and Trump by noting that there are already 12 states with fast-growing solar and wind technology, including California, Texas, and Nevada. The U.S. already has the infrastructure and technology to become more renewable, and 99 percent of scientists agree that climate change is a major global issue. Massachusetts itself is one of the most energy-efficient states. Markey discussed how UMass Boston and its students are in the perfect location for research on renewable energy and green technology because of the location of the campus on Boston Harbor.
The senator made a point to quote President John F. Kennedy’s moon landing, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win,” in discussing his new deal. Markey chose a quote by JFK because of his connection to Boston and to express why the Green New Deal would work if it passes. He told the audience that climate change is the global issue that is facing the current generation, and that the current generation is the first to experience the effects of climate and they are the last generation to do something about it.
The event moved on to a Q&A with the Senator with questions such as “What will the world look like in 20 years?” and “What are the misconceptions about the Green New Deal?” Markey’s answers to the questions were that in 20 years the way we generate energy and build homes, buildings and cars would be completely reinvented. The misconceptions about the deal, according to Markey, are that it wants to ban nuclear power and cows, but that is not the case. Markey’s deal has sparked a debate that has been off the table for many years, and every Democratic presidential candidate is going to be asked about their plans for climate change.