Dec 25, 2018

What we're reading: The youth movement behind the Green New Deal

Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A youth movement that was founded less than two years ago and that stages most of its protests by singing has been lobbying on Capitol Hill for the "Green New Deal" — and has become "the dominant influence on the environmental policy" of the young, progressive Democrats, The New Yorker’s Emily Witt writes.

Why it matters: The Green New Deal is an economic and climate plan supported by incoming Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and about 40 lawmakers. The youth movement, which goes by the name "Sunrise," is one of the reasons the plan is getting so much attention.


  • Their inspiration comes from Occupy Wall Street, the Movement for Black Lives, United We Dream, and Cosecha.
  • "They studied the wins and the losses of the climate movement in its forty-year history," Witt writes, and they "tend not to talk about starving polar bears, melting ice caps, or ocean acidification. Instead, they talk of family members who have lost their homes to floods or fires, young relatives who have asthma, or beloved landscapes that have been degraded or destroyed in the spans of their short lifetimes."
  • They focus on racial and economic justice in their message, since poor communities of color are disproportionately affected by climate change.
  • The activists are working to get out the youth vote and getting politicians to back away from accepting donations from fossil-fuel billionaires.

Where the Green New Deal stands:

  • The activists staged a sit-in outside of Nancy Pelosi’s office after the midterm elections and have also lobbied other top Democrats, including Steny Hoyer and Jim McGovern. McGovern will head the House Rules Committee and said he wants to back the deal.
  • Democrats are resurfacing a select committee on climate change, but it will not focus on the Green New Deal and will not have subpoena power.
  • The plan isn't likely to become law any time soon, as Axios' Amy Harder writes, but it will get a lot of attention in Congress over the next two years — and in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Go deeper: Democrats' left turn on climate change

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health