PublicationReport A Green Stimulus to Rebuild Our Economy: An Open Letter and Call to Action to Members of Congress

March 23, 2020
  • Kammen, Daniel
  • Johanna Bozuwa
  • J. Mijin Cha
  • Daniel Aldana Cohen
  • Billy Fleming
  • Jim Goodman
  • Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
  • Julian Brave NoiseCat
  • Mark Paul
  • Raj Patel
  • Thea Riofrancos
Publication Type:

A Green Stim­u­lus to

Rebuild Our Economy

An Open Let­ter and Call to Action to Mem­bers of Congress

If you agree with us, please click here to sign onto our letter.

As a nation we face three con­verg­ing crises: the COVID19 pan­demic and the result­ing eco­nomic reces­sion; the cli­mate emer­gency; and extreme inequality.

Unem­ploy­ment is ris­ing at the fastest rate since the 2008 crash, and could even­tu­ally reach 20% — twice as high as the Great Reces­sion. We needimme­di­ate and sus­tained inter­ven­tion to pro­tect people’s health and eco­nomic well-​​being, with a spe­cial focus on the most vul­ner­a­ble. We must also begin plan­ning our eco­nomic recov­ery in a way that pro­tects us from the impact of cli­mate change and lifts up work­ers and front­line communities.

Many other groups are focused on the emer­gency stim­u­lus pack­age to sta­bi­lize our econ­omy, on pre­vent­ing harm in an equi­table way — which we fully sup­port — so this let­ter focuses on the longer-​​term chal­lenge of jump­start­ing eco­nomic recov­ery and tran­si­tion­ing to a more sus­tain­able econ­omy. The ques­tion isn’t whether we will next need a major eco­nomic recov­ery stim­u­lus, but what kind of stim­u­lus should we pur­sue? In response we, cli­mate and social pol­icy experts in acad­e­mia and civil soci­ety, have devel­oped a menu of solu­tions that would col­lec­tively com­prise a Green Stimulus.

The United States con­fronts the dan­ger of an eco­nomic stim­u­lus that restores — or even deep­ens — our reliance on fos­sil fuels. This dan­ger comes from explicit pro­pos­als to bail out the fos­sil fuel sec­tor and roll back work­ers’ rights, and also from generic gen­eral stim­u­lus poli­cies that do not take cli­mate into account. Indeed, infra­struc­ture spend­ing as usual — e.g. high­way expan­sion — will lock in more car­bon pol­lu­tion for decades. We can avoid these prob­lems by craft­ing a recov­ery that accel­er­ates the cre­ation of a 21st cen­tury green economy.

Thus, we pro­pose an ambi­tious Green Stim­u­lus of at least $2 tril­lion that cre­ates mil­lions of family-​​sustaining green jobs, lifts stan­dards of liv­ing, accel­er­ates a just tran­si­tion off fos­sil fuels, ensures a con­trol­ling stake for the pub­lic in all pri­vate sec­tor bailout plans, and helps make our soci­ety and econ­omy stronger and more resilient in the face of pan­demic, reces­sion, and cli­mate emer­gency in the years ahead. This stim­u­lus should be auto­mat­i­cally renewed annu­ally at 4% of GDP per year (roughly $850 bil­lion) until the econ­omy is fully decar­bonized and the unem­ploy­ment rate is below 3.5%. A Green Stim­u­lus would make short-​​term inter­ven­tions, restruc­ture polit­i­cal and eco­nomic power towards work­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, and build toward deep long-​​term change.

Most of the phys­i­cal work pro­posed here can­not begin imme­di­ately. We must focus on halt­ing the spread of deadly ill­ness. How­ever, we can do all the prepara­tory work now to make green projects “shovel ready.” Right now, leg­isla­tive action as well as plan­ning work, done safely through online chan­nels, includ­ing pub­lic debate and con­sul­ta­tion, can ensure that phys­i­cal projects can com­mence as soon as it is fea­si­ble to restart major in-​​person work across the economy.

This prepara­tory phase must include build­ing up capac­ity within exist­ing fed­eral, state, and local gov­ern­ment agen­cies (and char­ter­ing new ones as nec­es­sary) to help man­age the imple­men­ta­tion phase of this stim­u­lus. In the weeks ahead, the gov­ern­ment will undoubt­edly pass fur­ther stim­u­lus mea­sures. At each step, we must push for that stim­u­lus to be green.

Our pro­posal for a Green Stim­u­lus is aligned with the “5 Prin­ci­ples for Just COVID-​​19 Relief and Stim­u­lus,” as put for­ward by over 300 envi­ron­men­tal, jus­tice, labor, and move­ment orga­ni­za­tions: (1) Health is the top pri­or­ity, for all peo­ple, with no excep­tions; (2) Pro­vide eco­nomic relief directly to the peo­ple; (3) Res­cue work­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, not cor­po­rate exec­u­tives; (4) Make a down pay­ment on a regen­er­a­tive econ­omy, while pre­vent­ing future crises; and, (5) Pro­tect our demo­c­ra­tic process while pro­tect­ing each other.

Addi­tion­ally, our pro­posal is grounded four key strate­gies, cut­ting across indus­trial sec­tors and bureau­cratic domains:

  • Cre­ate mil­lions of new family-​​sustaining, career-​​track green jobs in clean energy expan­sion, build­ing retro­fits and sus­tain­able home­build­ing, local food economies, pub­lic tran­sit main­te­nance and oper­a­tions, elec­tric appli­ance and vehi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing, green infra­struc­ture con­struc­tion and man­age­ment, local and sus­tain­able tex­tiles and apparel, and part­ner­ing with exist­ing pre-​​approved appren­tice­ship pro­grams to bring more low-​​income and work­ers of color into good union jobs;
  • Deliver strate­gic invest­ments — like green hous­ing retro­fits, rooftop solar instal­la­tion, elec­tric bus deploy­ment, rural broad­band devel­op­ment, and other forms of eco­nomic diver­si­fi­ca­tion — to lift up and col­lab­o­rate with front­line com­mu­ni­ties, includ­ing com­mu­ni­ties of color, Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, low-​​income com­mu­ni­ties, com­mu­ni­ties that have suf­fered dis­in­vest­ment, and com­mu­ni­ties that have his­tor­i­cally borne the brunt of pol­lu­tion and cli­mate harm;
  • Expand pub­lic and employee own­er­ship by lever­ag­ing exist­ing pub­lic agen­cies and assets (includ­ing pub­lic tran­sit agen­cies, local hous­ing author­i­ties, pub­lic school dis­tricts, and elec­tric co-​​ops), tak­ing equity stakes in com­pa­nies receiv­ing sub­stan­tial direct invest­ment (includ­ing the air­line, fos­sil fuel, and cruise indus­tries), and con­di­tion­ing strate­gic aspects of the stim­u­lus pack­age on worker self-​​determination mea­sures and coop­er­a­tives; and,
  • Make rapid cuts to car­bon pol­lu­tion con­sis­tent with keep­ing global warm­ing as close as pos­si­ble to 1.5 degrees Cel­sius, as the cli­mate sci­ence tells us is required to limit fur­ther cli­mate break­down, and pro­tect salaries, ben­e­fits, and retire­ments of fos­sil fuel workers.

Below, we out­line a menu of prac­ti­cal pol­icy inter­ven­tions that align with these prin­ci­ples and strate­gies. Many of these inter­ven­tions could be imple­mented by state and local gov­ern­ments and would ben­e­fit from imme­di­ate, pur­pose­ful plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion, nearly all of which could be done remotely (includ­ing mass pub­lic pro­cure­ment, tar­geted bridge loans and other emer­gency finan­cial instru­ments, and expanded tax cred­its and rebates for high-​​priority sec­tors). The menu includes:

1. Hous­ing, Build­ings, Civic Infra­struc­ture, and Communities

2. Trans­porta­tion Work­ers, Sys­tems, and Infrastructure

3. Labor, Man­u­fac­tur­ing, and Just Tran­si­tion for Work­ers and Communities

4. Energy Sys­tem Work­ers and Infrastructure

5. Farm­ers, Food Sys­tems, and Rural Communities

6. Green Infra­struc­ture, Pub­lic Lands, and the Environment

7. Reg­u­la­tions, Inno­va­tion, and Pub­lic Investment

8. Green For­eign Policy

This is an inflec­tion point for our nation. This is a piv­otal moment to put tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans back to work, build­ing a healthy, clean, and just future. It is heart­en­ing to rec­og­nize the very broad range of tech­nolo­gies and pol­icy tools at our dis­posal to ensure that recov­ery from the COVID-​​19 pan­demic can also dra­mat­i­cally improve the liv­ing stan­dards of those most in need — a major­ity of Amer­i­cans, in fact.

More­over, a Green Stim­u­lus agenda is broadly pop­u­lar, as shown for instance by Data for Progress’s polling around the Green New Deal and green indus­trial pol­icy. Their lat­est polling finds major­ity sup­port for a trillion-​​dollar invest­ment in green tech­nol­ogy. And it finds major­ity sup­port among Democ­rats, Repub­li­cans, and Inde­pen­dents for a range of pub­lic green invest­ments — from renew­able energy, to elec­tric buses, under­ground high-​​voltage trans­mis­sion, elec­tric mini­vans and pickup trucks for rural and sub­ur­ban areas, smart grid tech­nol­ogy, retro­fitting build­ings with an empha­sis on low-​​income hous­ing, and bat­tery technology.

Finally, we have the oppor­tu­nity to learn from and improve on the inad­e­quate 2008–2010 stim­u­lus that resulted in a slug­gish recov­ery and cen­tered firms and com­pa­nies instead of work­ers. We need a big­ger stim­u­lus, more invest­ment in low-​​carbon projects, and more imme­di­ate relief for Main Street. Now is the time to begin the polit­i­cal debate, and leg­isla­tive work to pass Green Stim­u­lus poli­cies to cre­ate jobs, lift up com­mu­ni­ties, and tackle the cli­mate emer­gency as we rebuild the economy.

The co-​​authors of this let­ter, and endors­ing sig­na­to­ries, are listed below, after our pol­icy menu. We call on Mem­bers of Con­gress to con­sider and carry for­ward these pol­icy ideas in this forth­com­ing and any future stim­u­lus pack­ages, to ensure address­ing cur­rent pub­lic health cri­sis doesn’t exac­er­bate the cli­mate crisis.

A Green Stim­u­lus Pol­icy Menu


  • Mas­sively expand the fed­eral Weath­er­iza­tion Assis­tance Pro­gram to cut util­ity costs and elim­i­nate homes’ car­bon emis­sions, fund state-​​level equiv­a­lent pro­grams, and pro­vide grants to community-​​based weath­er­iza­tion pro­grams to scale up local efforts, cre­at­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs.
  • Place mora­to­ria on elec­tric­ity, gas, and water shut­offs and late fees and recon­nect those dis­con­nected prior to the cri­sis, and rental evic­tions. Sus­pend rent and mort­gage pay­ments, with­out fees, and with poten­tial to for­give pay­ments. This will pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble, from some of the imme­di­ate effects of the reces­sion and pro­vide indi­rect income sup­port to com­mu­ni­ties of color, Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, and low-​​income communities.
  • Expand fund­ing to and ben­e­fi­cia­ries of Low Income Home Energy Assis­tance Pro­gram, (LIHEAP), while green retro­fits are under­way. Change eli­gi­bil­ity to 200–250% of fed­eral poverty line, thus increas­ing pro­gram ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Work to make enroll­ment auto­matic based on tax cred­its, and expand out­reach to house­holds that may not have any­one who files.
  • Repeal the Fairth­cloth Amend­ment and infuse funds into the National Hous­ing Trust Fund (eg, $50 bil­lion in year 1, $100 bil­lion year 2, $150 bil­lion in year 3) for no-​​carbon mixed-​​income social hous­ing, cre­at­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs.
  • Dou­ble tax-​​credits for Low-​​Income Hous­ing Tax Credit afford­able hous­ing con­struc­tion, man­date zero-​​carbon stan­dard for oper­a­tional car­bon (build­ing oper­a­tions), and a low-​​carbon stan­dard for embod­ied emis­sions of build­ing mate­ri­als. Fund union appren­tice­ship pro­grams in com­mu­ni­ties of color, Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, and low-​​income communities.
  • Pass and fund­ing the Green New Deal for Pub­lic Hous­ing Act, to begin imme­di­ate pub­lic hous­ing retro­fits that improve liv­ing con­di­tions, cre­ate tens of thou­sands of union jobs for pub­lic hous­ing res­i­dents and other, nearby low-​​income work­ers, and cre­ate a new mass mar­ket for green build­ing materials.
  • Com­mence imme­di­ate pub­lic pro­cure­ment of build­ing mate­ri­als and appli­ances to retro­fit pub­lic hous­ing, fed­er­ally funded Indian hous­ing, and all rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary build­ings. Offer states, cities, and other pub­lic agen­cies the abil­ity to join these heav­ily dis­counted bulk pur­chase orders.
  • Invest in dra­matic improve­ments to hous­ing con­di­tions through­out Indian Coun­try through healthy, sus­tain­able retro­fits, cre­at­ing thou­sands of jobs in those communities.
  • Fund school retro­fits across the coun­try, with pri­or­ity for Title 1 schools. Remove fos­sil fuels, install heat pumps for heat­ing and cool­ing, and remove all toxic and unhealthy mate­ri­als includ­ing lead, mold, and asbestos, and cre­ate tens of thou­sands of jobs. Increase fund­ing for wrap­around ser­vices and to make school year-​​round resiliency hubs for their com­mu­ni­ties, includ­ing by pro­vid­ing dis­as­ter relief services.
  • Estab­lish a fed­eral green and equi­table hous­ing fund, to part­ner with munic­i­pal­i­ties that invest in rent-​​controlled hous­ing for low-​​income cit­i­zens near tran­sit hubs.
  • Ensure government-​​funded con­struc­tion projects take sea-​​level rise into account. Restore the Fed­eral Flood Risk Man­age­ment Stan­dard, and, unless required for national secu­rity, do not build any new fed­eral build­ings within 3 feet of the his­toric 100-​​year coastal flood elevation.
  • Require states to adopt most advanced cur­rent build­ing energy codes, reach codes (e.g. “Zero Code”), and local land use and zon­ing reforms (e.g., the abo­li­tion of park­ing min­i­mums and single-​​family zon­ing) includ­ing the pro­vi­sion of com­pet­i­tive, sup­ple­men­tal fund­ing for state and local gov­ern­ments that adopt these reforms. Green build­ing grants should include fund­ing to hire staff in state and local gov­ern­ment to inter­nally man­age the plan­ning and implementation.
  • Enact fed­eral zon­ing reg­u­la­tion reform to facil­i­tate con­struc­tion of both dense and afford­able hous­ing, with a pri­or­ity to build­ing near pub­lic tran­sit, to ensure new social hous­ing is located in walk­a­ble and tran­sit accessible-​​neighborhoods.
  • Develop a sub­sidy and loan regime to sup­port decar­boniz­ing the build­ing energy use, which would also cut util­ity costs for homes and busi­nesses, and spur US man­u­fac­tur­ing of more afford­able, and effi­cient elec­tric heat pumps, heat-​​recovery ven­ti­la­tion units, energy-​​efficient light­ing, and build­ing controls.
  • Develop a sub­sidy and loan regime to sup­port decar­boniz­ing con­struc­tion mate­ri­als and increas­ing the carbon-​​sequestration poten­tial of our build­ing stock through increased use of carbon-​​smart forestry, engineered-​​wood/​mass tim­ber, low-​​carbon con­crete, fos­sil fuel free insu­la­tion mate­ri­als, and increased use of plant-​​based build mate­ri­als made from agri­cul­tural wastes and waste fiber streams, such as hempcrete, com­pressed straw­board, wood fiber­board insu­la­tion, etc. This would sup­port Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing, forestry and agri­cul­ture sectors.
  • Develop a national green rental sub­sidy pro­gram that pro­vides incen­tives to land­lords for pass­ing the sav­ings accrued from solar and energy effi­ciency on to ten­ants (i.e., rentals free of util­ity charges).
  • Imple­ment a green mort­gages pro­gram through all fed­er­ally backed mort­gage lend­ing that includes an incen­tive pro­gram of 50 basis point reduc­tion in mort­gages for zero car­bon emis­sions homes and 25 basis points for zero car­bon emissions-​​ready homes.
  • Fully resource ($10 bil­lion) the Pub­lic Hous­ing Oper­at­ing Fund to ensure res­i­dents employed in man­age­ment and on-​​site jobs are pro­tected, ongo­ing green retro­fit and main­te­nance con­tracts are ful­filled, and that local hous­ing author­i­ties are fully pre­pared to meet their oblig­a­tions to their communities.
  • Pro­vide new fund­ing through the National Endow­ment for the Arts, Smith­son­ian, and other fed­eral cul­tural insti­tu­tions to sup­port out-​​of-​​work artists, design­ers, and other makers.
  • Cre­ate a Cli­mate Jus­tice Resiliency Fund to ensure our infra­struc­ture and com­mu­ni­ties are pro­tected from the unavoid­able impacts of cli­mate change. Begin with a national sur­vey to iden­tify areas with high vul­ner­a­bil­ity to cli­mate impacts, pub­lic health chal­lenges, envi­ron­men­tal haz­ards, and other socioe­co­nomic fac­tors. Cre­ate grants for com­mu­ni­ties to fund projects to safe­guard vul­ner­a­ble groups from extreme weather and other envi­ron­men­tal harms. And estab­lish an Office of Cli­mate Resiliency for Peo­ple with Dis­abil­i­ties within the fund to meet spe­cific needs of peo­ple with disabilities.


  • Pro­vide direct trans­fers to local tran­sit author­i­ties to ensure they remain sol­vent, well-​​maintained, and ready for active ser­vice when the pan­demic recedes. Local tran­sit author­i­ties are exist­ing, publicly-​​owned and oper­ated enti­ties man­ag­ing tril­lions of dol­lars worth of cap­i­tal infra­struc­ture, employ­ing thou­sands of work­ers, and they sim­ply can­not be allowed to fail.
  • Cre­ate thou­sands of new con­struc­tion jobs by invest­ing in projects that incen­tivize den­si­fi­ca­tion, includ­ing Equi­table Tran­sit Ori­ented Devel­op­ment with an empha­sis on afford­able hous­ing, through the USDOT.
  • Revive the Part­ner­ship for Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties inter­a­gency ini­tia­tive to align local, place-​​based eco­nomic stim­u­lus projects admin­is­tered by the USDOT, HUD, and EPA.
  • Cre­ate thou­sands of new jobs by offer­ing grants and no-​​interest, no-​​match loans to local tran­sit agen­cies and munic­i­pal gov­ern­ments to com­plete their back­log of shovel-​​ready ADA-​​compliance and Com­plete Streets projects. All dis­rup­tive road­way work should be paired with upgrades to san­i­tary sewer sys­tems and other util­i­ties when­ever possible.
  • Pro­vide grants and loans to local tran­sit agen­cies and school boards to fund the pur­chase of elec­tric rail­cars and engines and elec­tric buses and elec­tric school buses, with the goal of end­ing all diesel bus pur­chases by 2025. This must also include tar­geted invest­ment to sup­port elec­tric bus and rail­car man­u­fac­tur­ing capac­ity within the auto­mo­bile indus­try in the United States.
  • Cre­ate a “Fix It First” man­date for infra­struc­ture and pub­lic works projects, as out­lined here, requir­ing all new USDOT fund­ing and financ­ing be directed towards the main­te­nance and repair of exist­ing road­ways, bridges, and other projects. This also includes upgrad­ing com­muter rail lines to meet Pos­i­tive Train Con­trol stan­dards and installing ded­i­cated bike and bus lanes.


  • Pro­vide grants and no-​​interest loans to develop and accel­er­ate US man­u­fac­tur­ing of elec­tric buses (includ­ing school buses), elec­tric pickup trucks, elec­tric cars, and other elec­tric vehi­cles; and, energy-​​efficient elec­tric appliances.
  • Cre­ate a fed­eral fund to sup­port for­ma­tion of worker coop­er­a­tives aligned with the goals of rapid decar­boniza­tion, such as solar panel instal­la­tion, regen­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture, urban com­mu­nity gar­dens, and larger-​​scale urban farming.
  • Imple­ment a Green Durable Goods pol­icy to ensure con­tin­ued pro­duc­tion of essen­tial green prod­ucts, via mas­sive infu­sion of fed­eral funds into elec­tric appli­ance, vehi­cle, etc. man­u­fac­tur­ing. Use direct gov­ern­ment pur­chase of high vol­umes of green goods to drive increases of green capac­ity dur­ing eco­nomic slow­down, as done dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. Give pri­or­ity to man­u­fac­tur­ers who part­ner with pre-​​approved union appren­tice­ship programs.
  • Cre­ate a cash for appli­ances pro­gram, funded at least $1 bil­lion, mod­eled on the Obama stim­u­lus mea­sure, but man­dat­ing recy­cling of all old appli­ances with a par­tic­u­lar focus on pre­vent­ing HFC leakage.
  • Cre­ate a pub­lic option for elec­tric vehi­cles, appli­ances, and other durable goods pro­cure­ment. All other gov­ern­ments, co-​​operatives, and non-​​profit enti­ties would be eli­gi­ble to place indi­vid­ual orders through this mass fed­eral pro­cure­ment, with grants and no-​​interest loans to sup­port their pur­chases through the Depart­ment of Commerce.
  • Cre­ate a “fee­bate” pro­gram to trans­fer a pol­lu­tion sur­charge to those who pur­chase cleaner prod­ucts. Include a low-​​income car­bon credit so that indi­vid­u­als mak­ing within 200% of the fed­eral poverty thresh­old and in rural house­holds receive 2x or 4x the ben­e­fit for the pur­chase of energy effi­cient models.
  • Cre­ate an expan­sive Women in Clean­tech (WiC) train­ing and entre­pre­neur­ial sup­port pro­gram through the Small Busi­ness Administration.
  • Pro­vide new oppor­tu­ni­ties for dis­ad­van­taged Amer­i­can green entre­pre­neur­ial train­ing and start-​​up grants through the Small Busi­ness Administration.
  • Pro­vide just tran­si­tion ben­e­fits for all work­ers in fos­sil fuel indus­tries, includ­ing five years of wage replace­ment for dis­placed work­ers, hous­ing assis­tance, job train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, health insur­ance cov­er­age, pen­sion sup­port, and pri­or­ity job place­ment for dis­placed work­ers. Pro­vide early retire­ment sup­port where appropriate.
  • Pro­vide tax rev­enue replace­ment sup­port for com­mu­ni­ties impacted by the ces­sa­tion of extrac­tion and use of fos­sil fuels.
  • Iden­tify and invest in eco­nomic diver­si­fi­ca­tion strate­gies for fos­sil fuel regions by fully fund­ing the project back­log at the Appalachian Regional Com­mis­sion, Great Lakes Com­mis­sion, and Delta Regional Author­ity and cre­at­ing sim­i­lar projects in other fos­sil fuel regions.
  • Pro­vide new fund­ing to sup­port oppor­tu­ni­ties for low-​​income women to pur­sue advanced train­ing, new sus­tain­able tech­nolo­gies, and for­ma­tion of worker coop­er­a­tive busi­nesses in women’s tra­di­tional indus­tries, includ­ing tex­tile and apparel.


  • Cre­ate a national clean energy stan­dard through the EPA that applies to all power providers includ­ing rural elec­tric coop­er­a­tives, climb­ing steeply to 100% carbon-​​free energy by 2030.
  • Restore the clean energy tax cred­its and offer a direct incen­tive to busi­nesses, non­prof­its, munic­i­pal­i­ties, tribes, and low income com­mu­nity mem­bers, extend­ing the credit to energy stor­age so renew­able energy sources can pro­vide firm, reli­able ‘base­load’ energy.’
  • Make all clean energy tax cred­its (includ­ing for con­sumers) imme­di­ately deploy­able; for con­sumers they should be imme­di­ate and refund­able rebates, par­tic­u­larly invest­ing in dis­trib­uted and com­mu­nity renew­able energy to build com­mu­nity wealth and resilience.
  • Make reg­u­la­tory changes to accel­er­ate the envi­ron­men­tal review process for clean energy, stor­age, high volt­age trans­mis­sion, charg­ing sta­tions, and other low-​​carbon infra­struc­ture projects, inspired by recent reforms in New York State Gov­ern­ment, while respect­ing Indige­nous sov­er­eignty and ensur­ing no sac­ri­fice of pub­lic safety.
  • Pro­vide a revolv­ing fund through a joint Depart­ment of Energy and Trea­sury ini­tia­tive to acquire and/​or pur­chase fos­sil fuel firms that are going bank­rupt in order to decom­mis­sion assets and pro­vide a just tran­si­tion for affected work­ers and communities.
  • Require a rapid phase­out of frack­ing and off­shore and onshore oil and gas drilling, end new extrac­tion, and end fos­sil fuel exports, in con­junc­tion with the rapid expan­sion and union­iza­tion of clean energy generation.
  • Pro­tect the right of clean energy work­ers to union­ize their work­places, and incen­tivize worker own­er­ship in the sector.
  • End all fos­sil fuel sub­si­dies and redi­rect the funds to help directly-​​impacted work­ers and com­mu­ni­ties in the energy transition.
  • Autho­rize Trea­sury, fed­eral agen­cies, and other fed­eral lenders to for­give all government-​​held fos­sil fuel debt of rural elec­tric coops and munic­i­pal utilities.
  • Pro­vide grants and no-​​interest, no-​​match loans to all elec­tric­ity co-​​ops con­tin­gent on rapid decar­boniza­tion includ­ing imple­men­ta­tion of bat­tery stor­age tech­nol­ogy at dis­tri­b­u­tion and end-​​user levels.
  • Pro­vide sub­stan­tial finance to sup­port the devel­op­ment and deploy­ment of community-​​shared solar pro­grams, which may work in tan­dem with the Depart­ment of Energy’s tech­ni­cal assis­tance pro­gram for com­mu­nity solar.
  • Plan and fund rapid decar­boniza­tion of Ten­nessee Val­ley Author­ity and other federally-​​owned power sup­plies, and pro­vide logis­ti­cal and finan­cial sup­port for a man­dated decar­boniza­tion of rural elec­tric­ity coop­er­a­tives and pub­lic power.


  • Strengthen organic stan­dards and reform agri­cul­tural sub­si­dies so that fed­eral sup­port goes to small pro­duc­ers who make invest­ments in their com­mu­ni­ties and the environment.
  • Re-​​staff and fully fund the USDA and EPA sci­ence offices, and the net­work of agri­cul­ture exten­sion offices, to quan­tify car­bon reduc­tions. Sup­port regen­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture and com­pen­sate farm­ers (includ­ing regen­er­a­tive ocean farm­ers) for car­bon reduc­tion prac­tices, such as car­bon seques­tra­tion in soils, the tran­si­tion to regional and local farm­ing ini­tia­tives, and other prac­tices based on the quan­ti­fied car­bon abate­ment or seques­tra­tion (car­bon neg­a­tive land use) of the practices.
  • Pre­vent food short­ages and sur­pluses by estab­lish­ing sup­ply man­age­ment pro­grams and a par­ity pric­ing sys­tem for farm­ers that both ensures farm­ers, farm work­ers, and every worker along the food chain a liv­ing wage and ensures con­sumers a high-​​quality, sta­ble, and ensures local sup­ply of agri­cul­tural goods.
  • Empower the USDA to track, report, and address instances of “food deserts’’ in low-​​income and inner-​​city areas by ensur­ing that fair mar­ket priced goods, includ­ing organic foods, are avail­able with sim­i­lar qual­ity and diver­sity as in other parts of the country.
  • Sup­port indige­nous farm­ing prac­tices and end biopiracy and con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of native seeds by fully sup­port­ing the work of the Inter­na­tional Plan­ning Com­mit­tee for Food Sov­er­eignty (IPC) on the Inter­na­tional Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agri­cul­ture (ITPGRFA) within the Food and Agri­cul­ture Orga­ni­za­tion of The United Nations.
  • Enhance pro­grams for begin­ning and socially dis­ad­van­taged farm­ers as out­lined in the 2018 Farm Bill, to give them fair access to land and resources. Rec­og­nize his­tor­i­cal crimes and injus­tices through a com­mit­ment to repa­ra­tions for black farm­ers and indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties. One such pol­icy is to stand up a fed­er­ally backed land trust to buy land from retir­ing farm­ers that would then be sold interest-​​free to farm­ers of color.
  • Incen­tivize com­mu­nity and coop­er­a­tively owned farm­land to sup­port local com­mu­ni­ties and urban res­i­dents, includ­ing by expand­ing USDA’s Local Agri­cul­ture Mar­ket Pro­gram, and fund­ing food hubs and dis­tri­b­u­tion centers.
  • Make government-​​owned farm­land avail­able as incu­ba­tor farms for begin­ning farmers
  • Pass com­pre­hen­sive leg­is­la­tion that pro­vides grants and tech­ni­cal assis­tance to mit­i­gate cli­mate change by tran­si­tion­ing to inde­pen­dent fam­ily farm­ing prac­tices that are regen­er­a­tive, eco­log­i­cally sound, improve soil health, and sequester car­bon in soil.
  • Cre­ate a new USDA pro­gram ded­i­cated to research and pol­icy devel­op­ment for ocean-​​based farm­ing. Sup­port regen­er­a­tive ocean farm­ing, a bur­geon­ing, low-​​carbon indus­try focused on sea­weeds and shell­fish, includ­ing through the USDA’s Begin­ning Farmer and Rancher Devel­op­ment Pro­gram and Bio­mass Crop Assis­tance Pro­gram, as described in the Blue New Deal.
  • Direct the National Oceanic and Atmos­pheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fish­eries Ser­vice to issue new guid­ance and reg­u­la­tions to bet­ter pre­pare fish­ing indus­tries and com­mu­ni­ties for the impacts of cli­mate change.
  • Sup­port the shift towards healthy food con­sump­tion, by expand­ing access to the qual­ity of food avail­able through nutri­tion sup­port pro­grams such as TANF, SNAP, and WIC and clas­sify Farm­ers Mar­kets as “essen­tial services.”
  • Direct the Farm Ser­vice Agency to issue no-​​interest, no-​​match loans via its land con­tract guar­an­tee pro­gram to ensure fail­ing indus­trial agri­cul­tural land is made avail­able to new and small fam­ily farm­ers when­ever pos­si­ble; and issue no-​​interest, no-​​match loans to fund equip­ment pur­chases, organic and spe­cialty crop oper­a­tions, and alter­na­tive farm­ing practices.
  • Secure the rights of migrant and per­ma­nent res­i­dent work­ers and their fam­i­lies to health­care, food, and shel­ter with­out prej­u­dice to path­ways to future citizenship.


  • Cre­ate a Clean Water Corps that pro­vides no-​​interest loans for munic­i­pal­i­ties and coun­ties to invest in repairing/​replacing com­bined and san­i­tary sewer sys­tems, build­ing out alter­na­tive stormwa­ter man­age­ment sys­tems (green infra­struc­ture), and per­form­ing other abate­ment mea­sures (replac­ing lead pipes and upgrad­ing treat­ment facil­i­ties). Pass the WATER ACT.
  • Cre­ate a new Civil­ian Con­ser­va­tion Corps through the Cor­po­ra­tion for National and Com­mu­nity Ser­vice, char­tered to hire work­ers to restore ecosys­tems, includ­ing forests and wet­lands, mod­eled on the Cal­i­for­nia Con­ser­va­tion Corps.
  • Cre­ate thou­sands of new jobs main­tain­ing green infra­struc­ture and cli­mate resilient land­scapes by pro­vid­ing new grants and for­mula fund­ing through the HUD-​​DOT-​​EPA Part­ner­ship for Sus­tain­able Communities.
  • Elec­trify and mod­ern­ize our ports, to reduce harm­ful air pol­lu­tion and pre­pare for sea level rise, as described in the Blue New Deal.
  • Direct and fully fund the National Parks Ser­vice and U.S. For­est Ser­vice to begin plan­ning for the cli­mate cri­sis and clear­ing their back­log of autho­rized projects, with pri­or­ity given those that respond to enhanced threats from wild­fire, ecosys­tem migra­tion, bio­di­ver­sity loss, and sea level rise.
  • Direct and fully fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers to clear their back­log of ben­e­fi­cial dredge, habi­tat restora­tion, cli­mate adap­ta­tion, and infra­struc­ture main­te­nance projects.
  • Direct and fully fund HUD, DOT, and EPA to fast-​​track the approval and imple­men­ta­tion of local parks and open space plans through no-​​interest loans and com­pet­i­tive grants for state, local and tribal governments.
  • Pro­vide grants to state and local gov­ern­ments to estab­lish “energy parks”that com­bine recre­ation (e.g., walk­ing and bik­ing trails, swim­ming areas, etc.) with clean energy gen­er­a­tion, stor­age, and trans­mis­sion infra­struc­ture (e.g., wind tur­bines, PV pan­els, and bat­tery centers).
  • Pro­vide funds to pub­lic com­mu­nity col­leges, col­leges, and uni­ver­si­ties to develop and imple­ment cli­mate risk man­age­ment plans and green econ­omy train­ing programs.
  • Pro­vide new per­ma­nent fund­ing for HUD, DOT, EPA, National Parks Ser­vice, U.S. For­est Ser­vice, and other built and nat­ural environment-​​focused agen­cies to hire new archi­tects, land­scape archi­tects, plan­ners, and pro­gram man­agers to coor­di­nate the surge in new projects pro­duced by the stim­u­lus, as out­lined here.


  • Cap­i­tal­ize a national green invest­ment bank to pro­vide no-​​income (or Fed funds rate) loans to firms and con­sumers for any green retro­fits, low-​​carbon invest­ment, etc. Min­i­mum $100 bil­lion for ini­tial capitalization.
  • Imme­di­ately pass a Fed­eral Reserve Bank Act to make green bonds as secure as trea­sury bills, to drive down the cost of green investment.
  • Require that any bailouts or bridge loans to large cor­po­ra­tions, like air­lines and cruise lines, be con­tin­gent on eco­nomic, social, and eco­log­i­cal con­di­tions: 10-​​year plan to sub­stan­tially cut major­ity of car­bon pol­lu­tion with tar­gets every two years; use funds to main­tain pay­roll; gov­ern­ment gain­ing long-​​term pre­ferred shares or other equity in bailed out firms; pro­vide $15 min­i­mum wage within one year; no share buy-​​backs or div­i­dends; set asides seats on cor­po­rate boards for labor rep­re­sen­ta­tives; main­tain col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agreements.
  • Direct the Depart­ments of Energy and Trea­sury to assume a larger share of the finan­cial risks result­ing from decar­boniza­tion and price fluc­tu­a­tions by requir­ing U.S. banks to report annu­ally how much fos­sil fuel equity and debt is cre­ated, and/​or held as assets, with respect to all fos­sil fuel extrac­tion and infrastructure.
  • Dimin­ish finan­cial risks result­ing from decar­boniza­tion and price fluc­tu­a­tions by instruct­ing the SEC Office of Credit Rat­ings to direct credit rat­ing agen­cies to impose process stan­dard — like cli­mate due dili­gences — that incor­po­rate the phys­i­cal and finan­cial risks that cli­mate change presents to secu­ri­ties and other finan­cial assets, as well as to the com­pa­nies that issue them.
  • Restore a cli­mate test, such as the social cost of car­bon, as a met­ric for fed­eral pro­cure­ment and per­mit­ting deci­sions. These tests should be con­sis­tent with the goal of lim­it­ing warm­ing to as close as is pos­si­ble to 1.5°C.
  • Reeval­u­ate the dis­count rates used in all benefit-​​cost analy­ses. The dis­count rates cur­rently used in reg­u­la­tory analy­sis have not been updated since 2003, and as the Coun­cil of Eco­nomic Advis­ers pointed out in a Jan­u­ary 2017 report both the eco­nomic under­stand­ing of dis­count­ing and the real econ­omy have evolved since then.
  • Pro­vide tech­ni­cal and finan­cial assis­tance to state uni­ver­si­ties, com­mu­nity col­leges, and tech­ni­cal schools in launch­ing green energy and econ­omy train­ing pro­grams and degree options.
  • Ele­vate EPA and NOAA Admin­is­tra­tors to full Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary status.
  • Ensure major gov­ern­ment green pro­cure­ment pur­chases are both green and include project-​​labor agree­ments or pre­vail­ing wage require­ments (renew­able energy, stor­age, retro­fits, low-​​carbon cement, etc).
  • Pro­vide imme­di­ate federally-​​backed bridge loan sup­port to green firms.
  • Stream­line and fast-​​track per­mit­ting for off­shore wind energy, and sub­si­dize off­shore wind farm projects, while ensur­ing projects are sited based on envi­ron­men­tal impact assess­ments, and that Com­mu­nity Ben­e­fit Agree­ments are in place to ensure com­mu­ni­ties onshore of wind farms receive a share of the ben­e­fits as this indus­try devel­ops. Do not allow visual and aes­thetic impacts to be con­sid­ered as a fac­tor for deny­ing per­mits (See Blue New Deal plan.)
  • Increase ARPA-​​E fund­ing by up to 100x and look to develop par­al­lel agen­cies in the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion, and Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Development.
  • Ensure that fed­eral research and devel­op­ment funds in ARPA-​​E include fund­ing directed to the Mariner pro­gram to develop macroal­gae for use as feed­stock for fuels and chem­i­cals, as well as ani­mal feed.
  • Dou­ble the bud­gets for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Effi­ciency and Renew­able Energy and Office of Science.
  • Enable com­mu­ni­ties to invest in their own low-​​carbon infra­struc­ture through state-​​owned pub­lic banks.


  • Rein­state and expand Sci­ence Envoy Pro­gram to assist US embassies in part­ner­ing with min­istries, emerg­ing clean­tech com­pa­nies, and uni­ver­sity part­ner­ships and exchange.
  • Expe­dite aid pack­ages, includ­ing green tech­nol­ogy trans­fers, with pri­or­ity funds for low­est income coun­tries that adopt national 1.5 degree C roadmaps.
  • Ensure fair trade agree­ments are cen­tered on worker and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions and (where applic­a­ble) include indige­nous consultation.
  • Sup­port local and sus­tain­able farm­ing sys­tems in the US and inter­na­tion­ally by remov­ing agri­cul­ture from the purview of the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion, invest­ing new resources in sus­tain­able tim­ber and for­est man­age­ment coop­er­a­tives and com­pa­nies through the USDA’s Cli­mate Smart Forestry and Agri­cul­ture Ini­tia­tive, and cre­at­ing new mar­kets in the build­ing indus­try for sus­tain­ably har­vested cross lam­i­nated tim­ber and other sus­tain­able wood products.
  • Clas­sify food sup­ply secu­rity as a national secu­rity issue and pass trade poli­cies that safe­guard food secu­rity and food sov­er­eignty at home and around the globe.
  • End all fund­ing, direct and indi­rect, of fos­sil fuel infra­struc­ture through mul­ti­lat­eral orga­ni­za­tions con­nected to the United States, includ­ing the World Bank, the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, OPIC, and the Export-​​Import Bank.
  • Increase fund­ing to the Green Cli­mate Fund to help grow the green econ­omy world­wide, to make U.S. con­tri­bu­tion to Green Cli­mate Fund in line with his­tor­i­cal U.S. fair share of his­tor­i­cal con­tri­bu­tion to cli­mate emer­gency. Con­sider a pro­gres­sive tax on the high­est carbon-​​emitting pol­luters to finance this contribution.

NOTE: The ideas here draw on pro­pos­als from a range of Demo­c­ra­tic pri­mary cam­paigns, in par­tic­u­lar those of Corey Booker, Julian Cas­tro, Kirsten Gilli­brand, Kamala Har­ris, Jay Inslee, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Eliz­a­beth Warren.


Note: affil­i­a­tions are listed for infor­ma­tional pur­pose only, and do not imply orga­ni­za­tional endorsement.

Johanna Bozuwa, Co-​​Manager, Cli­mate & Energy Pro­gram, The Democ­racy Col­lab­o­ra­tive (@johannabozuwa)

J. Mijin Cha, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Urban and Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­icy, Occi­den­tal Col­lege; Fel­low at Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity Worker Insti­tute; Senior Fel­low at Data for Progress. (@jmijincha)

Daniel Aldana Cohen, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Soci­ol­ogy and Direc­tor of the Socio-​​Spatial Cli­mate Col­lab­o­ra­tive, or (SC)2, Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia; Senior Fel­low at Data for Progress. (@aldatweets)

Billy Flem­ing, Wilks Fam­ily Direc­tor of the Ian L. McHarg Cen­ter (@mchargcenter), Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia; Senior Fel­low at Data for Progress. (@joobilly)

Jim Good­man, Food sov­er­eignty advo­cate, sign­ing with­out orga­ni­za­tional affiliation

Ayana Eliz­a­beth John­son, Ph.D, Marine biol­o­gist, founder of Ocean Col­lec­tiv and Urban Ocean Lab, and advi­sor to the Blue New Deal plan. (@ayanaeliza)

Daniel M Kam­men, Pro­fes­sor in the Energy and Resources Group, the Gold­man School of Pub­lic Pol­icy, and in the Depart­ment of Nuclear Engi­neer­ing, Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley. For­mer Sci­ence Envoy, United States State Depart­ment. (@dan_kammen)

Julian Brave Noise­Cat, Vice Pres­i­dent of Pol­icy & Strat­egy, Data for Progress (@jnoisecat)

Mark Paul, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Eco­nom­ics and Envi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies, New Col­lege of Florida; Fel­low, Roo­sevelt Insti­tute; Senior Fel­low, Data for Progress. (@MarkVinPaul)

Raj Patel, Research Pro­fes­sor, Lyn­don B John­son School of Pub­lic Affairs, Uni­ver­sity of Texas at Austin; Research Asso­ciate, Unit for Human­i­ties at Rhodes Uni­ver­sity (UHURU), South Africa. (@_RajPatel)

Thea Riofran­cos, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence, Prov­i­dence Col­lege; Senior Fel­low at Data for Progress; Fac­ulty Col­lab­o­ra­tor at Socio-​​Spatial Cli­mate Col­lab­o­ra­tive, or (SC)2. (@triofrancos)

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