U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) has thrown his support behind a resolution calling for sweeping action to combat climate change, drawing praise from local progressives and condemnation from area Republicans.
Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) is one of 89 Democrats who cosponsored U.S. House Resolution 109, more commonly known as the Green New Deal. The non-binding resolution, introduced by freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) Feb. 7, broadly outlines an ambitious plan that attempts to tackle climate change through various measures while creating jobs and addressing economic and social inequality.
"This bill is very consistent with our Central Coast values," Carbajal told New Times.
The resolution is non-binding, meaning its passage won't result in any immediate legislation. Rather, it sets a number of goals to combat climate change, including meeting 100 percent of the nation's power demands using renewable and zero-emission sources, upgrading all buildings in the United States to achieve maximum electric and water efficiency, and investing and expanding zero-emission vehicles and high-speed rail, among other goals.
Carbajal said that while the resolution was not binding, he believed supporting its broad goals was important in order to send a message, particularly in light of the Trump administration's hostility to the issue of climate change.
"It's a very bold statement," Carbajal said. "I supported this Green New Deal because it is a way to reaffirm that we can no longer tolerate an administration that is in denial of the importance of addressing climate change."
The resolution garnered support from SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon, who called it a "bold vision for fighting climate change" in a Feb. 7 Facebook post.
"It's about lifting people up," Harmon wrote. "[Ocasio-Cortez] has my full support and I hope yours as well."
But the Green New Deal, and Carbajal's support of it, unsurprisingly, has drawn the ire of Republicans, including those in SLO County. In a written statement, SLO County Republican Party Chairman Randall Jordan slammed the resolution as "radical" and "unfeasible," claiming it would hurt the economy and warning that it would damage the "social fabric of the United States as an independent nation."
"History has proven that socialistic promises such as in the Green New Deal are empty promises," Jordan wrote.
Carbajal pushed back on the Republican characterization and claims about resolution, again noting that the bill was broad and nonbinding, and claiming that much of the criticism he'd heard was based on misinformation about what was actually in the resolution.
"People are saying that it's going to get rid of all airplanes, and there's no such thing in that resolution," he said. "I encourage people to read the text of the resolution. I don't see how anyone who reads it could have an issue with it. It's very straightforward."
The resolution has yet to pass Congress and must pass through at least 11 committees prior to coming to a vote before the full House of Representatives. Its next stop will be the House Sub-Committee on Energy and Resources. Δ