What would technology's role be in the Green New Deal?
If you read or watched the news in the past couple of months, you undoubtedly heard about an ambitious plan called the Green New Deal. In short, it hopes to tackle both economic inequality and climate change through substantial investments in eco-friendly infrastructure that protects the planet and creates millions of new jobs.
Specifics for how to achieve those aims are still in the works and unlikely to be finalized for a while. But, technology’s substantial role in helping the United States get closer to what the Green New Deal proposes remains inevitable. Here are some of the tech-related contributions associated with the Green New Deal.
Clean and renewable energy comes to the forefront
One of the foundational goals of the plan requires meeting all of the United States’ energy needs through clean, renewable and zero-emission sources. So, the country would likely ramp up its investments in existing kinds of energy meeting those requirements while exploring new possibilities. But, a ten-year timeframe for this aspect focuses on net-zero emissions, which could be easier to achieve than zero emissions.
There are not many in-depth specifics about things the country will do to reach this milestone, but one of the things brought up is upgrading the power grid and making it more efficient. Analysts believe renewables like wind and solar will receive focus for the nation’s energy needs, and say geothermal energy could see use, too.
Investments in renewable energy help the planet by making renewables more comparable to fossil fuels. If future improvements continue, people may see that switching from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources is not the significant jump they initially envisioned.
Electric cars and better trains
This plan also hopes to reduce Americans’ dependence on air travel by investigating improvements in electric cars and figuring out the best ways to improve the nation’s rail network. People have weighed in about this part of the plan and said that incorporating high-speed trains into the United States’ assortment of transportation options could make a meaningful difference.
But, whether those trains ultimately attract enough passengers depends on the routes they travel and the time to complete the journeys.
Concerning electric cars, this initiative wants to increase investments in electric car manufacturing as well as the infrastructure that will make it more convenient for people to use them.
It’s also likely technology will influence a part of the Green New Deal that handles sustainable agriculture. It wants to collaborate with farmers and ranchers by determining how to remove greenhouse gases and pollution from the agricultural sector “as much as is technologically feasible.” It also discusses using techniques that increase soil health but doesn’t say what those could be if the plan gets implemented.
One recent technological development related to soil usability involves using a technique called pyrolysis, which causes material decomposition at high temperatures, to make previously oil-soaked soil fertile again. It doesn’t directly relate to soil health but could support the aims of this plan by allowing farmers to use soil that previously seemed ruined.
Are these improvements possible?
It’s important to clarify that the Green New Deal is a non-binding resolution. That means it does not create new programs, but it expresses the sentiments of the respective chamber.
People have picked apart its ideas for weeks, and some of them assert that the things mentioned would be too costly to implement. Keep in mind, everything remains in the preliminary stages. And, that phrase “as much as is technologically feasible” comes up repeatedly in the documentation. It may become apparent that some of the possibilities aren’t realistic due to high expenses.
But, a crucial thing to remember is that if people don’t make efforts toward improving the issue of climate change — or any other crisis society faces — it’s hard to accurately anticipate what the nation could achieve.
It’s too early to say how much these technologies will cost and how realistic it is to roll them out, but at least politicians are looking at ways to solve known problems, which is a start.