Earlier this year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.,introduced a framework to combat rising temperatures, melting ice caps, and fossil fuel emissions, called the "Green New Deal."
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey envision the Green New Deal as a massive policy package, modeled after former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal policies, that would reshape the U.S. economy and eliminate all U.S. carbon emissions.
What lessons can Green New Deal hopefuls learn from FDR? Historian Nancy Koehn joined Boston Public Radio to break it down.
"In many ways, these two sponsors — Markey and Ocasio-Cortez — are trying to do exactly the same thing [as FDR]," said Koehn. "They're saying, 'Look this is not just about battling extraordinary difficulties and challenges of climate change. It's also about, we're going to create a lot of new jobs in this, we're going to affect all kinds of communities in positive ways, it's a big deal, and Americans at all levels are going to be involved.'"
While the Green New Deal as it's currently written is a nonbinding resolution, meaning that its passage would not automatically enact any new policies or laws, Koehn said the messaging is important, and it faces a challenge that FDR's New Deal never did: social media.
"[FDR] was controlling a lot of the messaging. Remember, he had extraordinarily angry and vocal critics. Bankers hated him, all kinds of business people hated him because he was stretching the arm of the government into regulating business. ... He had critics from all sides, but they didn't have Twitter, they didn't have Fox News, they didn't have $10 million to spend on a Facebook ad to say, 'Look at why the CCC is destroying your life.' So it was much less complicated than even with an eager and vocal opposition press," she said.
Nancy Koehn is an historian at the Harvard Business School where she holds the James E. Robison chair of Business Administration. Her latest book is "Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times."