Presidential contenders sidestep details of ‘Green New Deal’

Source: By Adam Aton and Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporters • Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019

Democratic presidential contenders are praising the “Green New Deal” as an aspirational moonshot — but also carefully avoiding diving too far into its details.

Quibbling over the progressive policy’s details is premature, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said yesterday on MSNBC. Inslee is exploring a presidential run with a climate change focus.

He waved off critics of the “Green New Deal” — including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz — who say it’s too difficult to reach net-zero emissions within the proposal’s 10-year time frame.

“When [President] Kennedy said we’re going to go to the moon and bring [the astronauts] back safely in 10 years — would people have voted against that because they thought it would take 15?” Inslee asked.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who announced her bid for the presidency this weekend, said she will vote for the “Green New Deal” resolution when it comes up in the Senate but stressed that she doesn’t back some of the more extreme positions of some of its supporters, such as ending air travel.

“The ‘Green New Deal’? I see it as, by the way, I see it as aspirational. I see it as a jump-start,” Klobuchar told Fox News. “I would vote yes, but I would also, if it got down to the nitty-gritty of an actual legislation as opposed to ‘Oh, here are goals we have,’ that would be different.”

“I am for a jump-start of the discussion and a framework, as Sen. [Ed] Markey has described. I’m not for reducing air travel,” Klobuchar said, referring to the Massachusetts senator who’s leading the “Green New Deal” effort in the upper chamber.

Klobuchar spoke after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the resolution would be brought up for a vote, in an effort to put Democrats on the record on the controversial measure.

Klobuchar is one of the 11 Democratic co-sponsors of the resolution in the Senate. Her Capitol Hill office was one of several targeted yesterday by protesters with the Sunrise Movement, a progressive group that has championed the “Green New Deal.”

Inslee said climate advocates aren’t waiting on the moonshot, pointing to Washington state’s renewable portfolio standard and other baby-step policies to lower emissions.

Those efforts have the extra benefit of showing the public that climate policies don’t sacrifice growth, as Republicans falsely claim, Inslee said.

“What we’re learning in my state is there is no more robust, vibrant way to grow jobs than in the clean energy economy,” he said.