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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Green New Deal Outline

February 7, 2019 2:12 p.m.

GUEST: Rep. Mike Levin, D-Oceanside

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When President Trump addressed the nation in his second State of the Union speech this week critics said it was noteworthy for what was left out and that is talk of climate change. Today the subject is making headlines New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez laid out a plan for the so-called Green New Deal. In a news conference today she said it's a policy package that would remake the economy while eliminating U.S. carbon emissions.

Climate change in our environmental challenges are one of the biggest existential threats to our way of life. Not not just as a nation but as a world. And in order for us to combat that threat we must be as ambitious and innovative in our solution as possible.

San Diego Democratic Congressman Mike Levin of the forty ninth district has endorsed the proposal. He joins us now by Skype. Congressman Levin thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. So what's in the Green New Deal and what would it do to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Well the Green New Deal is a series of principles that basically explains the need to transition our energy infrastructure our transportation ultimately our economy to a new sustainable economy one in which we're not so dependent on fossil fuels for electricity production. One in which we've got a new generation of clean and electric vehicles and one where we have more energy efficient buildings and also a just transition of the workforce to the jobs of the future in the clean energy economy as opposed to the dirty energy jobs of the past and things like coal. Rather than doubling down on on coal and and oil.

My great hope is that we can accelerate the transition to things like solar and wind and electric vehicles battery storage and a whole host of other clean and green technologies.

And I'm really excited that Senator Ed Markey was there today as are one of our lead speakers in advancing the Green New Deal because he was the same person who led the last Select Committee on Climate Change which the House of Representatives had about a dozen years ago. And I'm particularly excited to build upon the work that I'm already doing now in the House Natural Resources Committee on the subcommittees for water and oceans and energy as well as now the work I'll be able to do having been announced that just today that I'll be serving on the Select Committee for the climate crisis which is the successor committee to Mr. Marcie's committee 12 years ago.

And you know as this green new deal materializes how exactly will it work. How will it be eliminating some of those greenhouse gases building the economy bring it home for me if you will for people who live in Barrio Logan in National City.

Well my great hope is that it will bring to national scale much of what we're already doing in California. We've got some of the boldest climate measures in the country as you know if not the boldest with regard to the advancement of renewable power. Now having SB 100 requiring the investor owned utilities have 100 percent renewable energy over time just the same or rapid transformation to electric vehicles and our investment in electric vehicle infrastructure our building efficiency standards and all the rest. Those are things that we've done in California where it's been obvious where if you make those investments that they actually will help the economy that they will add to economic growth and to the advancement of the clean energy economy and the creation of the jobs of the future and we know that in the San Diego region better than most.

And where would the money come from to pay for this plan.

Well a lot of it is already being given as subsidies to the dirty energy technologies of the past around 20 billion dollars a year that we use to subsidize dirty energy technologies. And I would much rather see us use that same amount of money to subsidize clean energy technologies and to advance sustainability. Also a lot of it will be things that can help the private sector make investments in clean energy technologies. That's something that the Obama administration let on that unfortunately the Trump administration has not in fact you didn't hear the words climate change or clean energy at all during the present state of the Union address.

Couple of nights ago which I think is truly a shame.

What's the likelihood that green new deal can get through this Congress.

Well I think what's going to happen first is it's going to be a starting point for discussions over the next couple of years about the types of policies we need. So the Green New Deal as it was announced today is a resolution rather than specific legislation. It is a series of principles rather than specific prescriptions to achieve those principles. So now it's the work of the different committees in the house a couple of which I'm a part of this new select committee on the climate crisis the House Natural Resources Committee along with the Energy and Commerce Committee and others to actually define the right policy prescriptions that will help us achieve the principles as outlined in the Green New Deal.

And with that you know climate change groups have been rallying this week outside the local offices of San Diego area members of Congress have you spoken about this proposal with your colleagues from San Diego.

I have you know each of my colleagues is going to have to reach their own conclusions about what's best for them and for their districts. I have great faith in my my fellow members that they will each vote their values and I'm sure that we can work on on a lot of this policy together I know my friend Scott Peters is on the Energy and Commerce Committee a very important committee and I look forward to working with him and particularly he and I can work on environmental and energy issues of local concern like getting the waste off the coast at San Onofre and is this also part of the Democratic Party strategy going into 2020.

Well I can't speak for the overall party strategy but I can tell you that a number of the candidates running for president have fully embraced this concept and I'll be looking to each of them as they run and I'm sure there'll be many more entering the race early so it looks that way and I'll be looking to each of them and this will be one of those issues where I want to make sure that they're on the right side of accelerating our transition to renewable energy.

I've been speaking with San Diego Congressman Mike Levin Congressman Levin thank you so much for joining us. Thank you happy to do it.