By Arhaan Gupta-Rastogi
Our world will become a much more hazardous place unless we stop climate change. The United States contributes to climate change by producing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that heat up our atmosphere. The Green New Deal (GND) is a plan to stimulate the U.S. economy while transitioning the country to 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources by 2045.
If the GND passes, it will make a significant positive impact on our country. There are three reasons for this: the effects of climate change are serious; the GND will lead to the creation of many new jobs; and the government investment that accompanies the plan will spark a new era of technological innovation.
First, the effects of climate change are serious and urgent. The recent polar vortex storm in the Midwest is evidence of this. At the time of the storm, President Trump tweeted, "In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can't last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!"
The president is confusing weather with climate. Though they are closely related, one is short-term and one is long-term weather predictions. In fact, large fluctuations in temperature are a symptom of climate change.
To address the extremes in temperature, we need to diminish our emission of greenhouse gases by a significant amount within the next five years. As Dr. Gavin Schmidt, NASA climatologist, has said, "We're no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future."
The GND is an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emission and head off the worst damage caused by climate change.
Second, the GND also promises to create new jobs for average Americans. Like the New Deal of the 1930s, it is a series of federal programs aimed at stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. There are currently very few manufacturing jobs left in the U.S. This has had a devastating effect on communities and families throughout the country. The GND will invest heavily in manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and others sorts of technologies. This will create new manufacturing jobs for many Americans and strengthen our economy.
And third, in the 1960s, the federal government invested heavily in space exploration. Without NASA and the engineers it employed, would we have reached the moon? Would we have all the new technologies that have emerged from our space program? The GND offers a similar opportunity for the U.S. to take the lead in scientific innovation. As a young person, I'm excited to think of what new technologies might appear through a plan to stop climate change. I'm even more excited to be a part of this innovation someday.
All in all, climate change is dangerous for our world and needs to be stopped. Stopping it does not have to mean eliminating growth and giving up jobs. The GND has not passed yet, but it is one of the most important initiatives of our time. It should pass.
As a young person whose future depends on the survival of the planet, I see the GND as a key to our survival and an important tool for the whole world to thrive.
Arhaan Gupta-Rastogi is a sixth-grader at Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park.