Any plan to adequately address climate change would likely cost at least $10 trillion, freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday as she responded to a flurry of climate proposals from Democratic presidential candidates.
Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Ocasio-Cortez for the first time offered a price tag for efforts to address climate change. While acknowledging the figure “is a ton” of money, she said, “I think we really need to get to $10 trillion to have a shot” at real progress in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
“I don’t think anyone wants to spend that amount of money,” she added. “It’s not a fun number to say. I’m not excited to say we need to spend $10 trillion on climate, but … it’s just the fact of the scenario.”
President Donald Trump and other Republicans have dismissed the Green New Deal as a government takeover of the economy that could bankrupt the nation with an unrealistic goal of obtaining net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
American Action Forum, a Republican-linked think tank, has estimated that the Green New Deal could cost $51 trillion to $93 trillion over 10 years, a figure the plan’s supporters dispute.
Ocasio-Cortez said she’s encouraged by climate plans from Democratic presidential candidates, particularly those by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“Jay Inslee’s I think is the gold standard climate plan that we have right now,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Hill on Tuesday. “It’s got the scale, the jobs and justice.”
Inslee calls for $3 trillion in federal spending over a decade, while Warren would spend $2 trillion for green manufacturing. Former Vice President Joe Biden urges $1.7 trillion in federal spending over the next decade. Biden says his plan could be leveraged with $3 billion in private spending to allow the U.S. to virtually eliminate carbon pollution by 2050 — 20 years later than the timeframe set out by the Green New Deal.
“I think the entire field of climate plans still needs to be pushed,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters Wednesday. “I think it just needs to be pushed in terms of the scientific scale … in what we need to solve this problem.”
Ocasio-Cortez said she knows her call to spend $10 trillion on climate change “is not politically popular” in either party.
“People are going to call it unrealistic, and I just don’t think people understand how bad the problem is,” she said.