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The Green New Deal resolution is here

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have unveiled their Green New Deal resolution — a call to arms on climate and jobs that's long on ambition, but lacking in details and a political path to becoming policy.

Why it matters: It opens the next phase for a movement that has risen quickly to play an outsized role in the climate policy conversation and influence the Democratic 2020 White House contest.

The big picture: The non-binding resolution envisions a massively expanded federal role in emissions-cutting and economic intervention that takes its cues from World War II and New Deal-era programs.

  • NPR posted a copy online here.

Drill down: Some of the resolution's top-line goals include...

  • Achieving net-zero U.S. greenhouse gas emissions through a "fair and just transition for all communities and workers" while creating millions of jobs.
  • Decarbonizing all the major segments of the economy — power, manufacturing, buildings, transportation and more.
  • Huge investments in climate-friendly infrastructure.
  • Protections for indigenous people, communities of color, the poor and others under the heading of "frontline and vulnerable communities."
  • A goal of universal health care and jobs guarantees.

What to watch: Ocasio-Cortez and Markey are holding a press conference on Thursday and will unveil the list of resolution's backers, so it'll be interesting to see how many of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls currently in Congress choose to sign on.

  • Axios has already learned that co-sponsors will include Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who are both in the race. The Washington Post now reports that Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are also co-sponsors.
  • Several other candidates have broadly endorsed the concept of the Green New Deal.
  • As the Washington Post's Jeff Stein points out, the resolution's arrival means that White House hopefuls will now be asked about something more concrete.

How it works: The many broad concepts in the resolution include "meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources."

  • It calls for energy efficiency in "all existing buildings" and new buildings, too, as well as cutting emissions from transportation as much as technologically possible.
  • The intrigue: That phrasing seems to leave the door open to technologies that some activists oppose (such as fossil fuels with carbon capture and nuclear energy), but doesn't name-check any of them, though Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff has broadly said that the goal is a transition from fossil fuels.

The big question: There's no specific projected cost for what would be massive federal investments under the resolution.

  • The plan broadly calls for grants, public banks and other public financing. It also highlights federal investments in "new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries."

What they're not saying: The plan is silent on whether it would impose a carbon tax. Some Green New Deal advocates have said a tax could be part of the policy — but don't see it as a central pillar.

What's next: The resolution is basically a political messaging document, so look for Green New Deal advocates to put more meat on its bones with legislation and papers in the coming months.

  • A bill based on the resolution would have zero chance of becoming law now — and a steep uphill climb in the foreseeable future, even if Democrats gain more power in Washington.
  • But it lays down a marker that could push Democrats toward embracing aggressive climate policies to promote through 2020 and beyond.

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Alexi McCammond contributed to this reporting.

Editor's note: This post is being updated as new information comes in.