The Beacons Act: Comprehensive Alternative to the Green New Deal for Reducing Carbon Emissions in the United States
Green, Max A.
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The United States facing an uncertain economic and environmental future due to the impacts of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions, both domestic and foreign. Congressional action on the issue of climate change has been rare, due in part to the lobbying efforts and special interests of the agriculture, transportation, and energy industries. Despite this political reality, there is an opportunity for Congress, even divided, to take critical action on the issue of climate change. Recent efforts, such as the proposed Green New Deal, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) and in the Senate by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), have become partisan flashpoints, garnering little to no support from Republicans and uncertain support from Democrats. A core issue in this political fight is the connection between climate and the economy, especially in the context of the Green New Deal legislation, which seeks to address wealth inequality. The BEACONS Act, discussed in this capstone, is a proposed legislative alternative to the Green New Deal that cuts, enhances, and reimagines portions of the Green New Deal to create a legislative package that stands a greater chance of gaining bipartisan support. The BEACONS Act focuses solely on the issue of climate change and its impact on major economic sectors, proposing government assistance and new programs to encourage industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions through adopting new technology and best practices. This legislative proposal examines the unique challenges and benefits associated with cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the energy, transportation, agricultural, and commercial sectors of the U.S. economy.