US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York speaks during a press conference to announce Green New Deal legislation to promote clean energy programs. US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York speaks during a press conference to announce Green New Deal legislation to promote clean energy programs. Credit: FOX 11

The Green New Deal envisions a radically different America in 10 years: net-zero greenhouse gas emissions; updating or replacing every building in the country; eliminating gasoline-powered vehicles; supplanting air travel with high-speed rail; and universal access to health care, housing, food, and economic security. Also, somehow, less flatulent cows.

A Green New Deal resolution unveiled by congressional Democrats Thursday has already attracted much scorn and ridicule from Republicans for its grandiose goals and sparse details, but some environmental groups and 2020 presidential candidates have embraced it as a catalyst for an important conversation about climate change.

There is undoubtedly an element of aspiration to the proposal, but some experts say it is merely attempting to address what could soon become an insurmountable challenge before it is too late.

“There’s no way out – if we keep burning fossil fuels, temperatures will continue to rise,” said Doreen Stabinsky, co-author of “Environmental Politics for a Changing World: Power, Perspectives, and Practice” and a professor of global environmental politics at the College of the Atlantic.

“What is getting clearer and clearer with each passing year is that we are very close to dangerous tipping points in the earth’s climate system and the time we have to act is rapidly diminishing,” Stabinsky continued. “To address climate change with any hope of stopping run-away climate change requires large-scale changes now. Not five years from now.”

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