Deriding its "unachievable goals," former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his opposition to the "Green New Deal" resolution introduced in Congress, becoming the first major 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to rebuff the audacious progressive proposal.
In a Tuesday opinion piece for The Washington Post, Hickenlooper stressed that urgent action by the federal government is needed to mitigate climate change, but he portrayed the resolution, spearheaded by progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, as unrealistic and unaffordable.
"In addition to technological barriers, the Ocasio-Cortez-Markey resolution sets the Green New Deal up for failure by shifting away from private decision-making and toward the public sector — including multiple provisions with little connection to reducing greenhouse gas emissions," the former two-term Colorado governor wrote.
Hickenlooper, who has failed to get much traction in what has become a crowded and diverse Democratic primary field, said the progressive enthusiasm around the Green New Deal backed by most 2020 Democratic hopefuls should be steered towards what he believes would be a more feasible proposal. He warned that the American public could begin to associate efforts to combat climate change with lower job opportunities and higher taxes and utility bills if Democrats propose solutions that entail bold action.
"If climate change policy becomes synonymous in the U.S. psyche with higher utility bills, rising taxes and lost jobs, we will have missed our shot — and we might not get another one before it's too late," he added, presumably referring to Republican and conservative criticisms of the Green New Deal.
Hickenlooper said his ideal version of the Green New Deal would ensure that the private sector plays a more important role in reducing the carbon footprint and investing in renewable energy like solar and wind. He cited regulation passed in Colorado during his tenure designed to reduce methane emissions, as well as the expansion of light rail and the creation thousands of clean-energy jobs in the state.