AOC Chief of Staff: Green New Deal 'Wasn't Originally a Climate Thing at All'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., addresses the Road to the Green New Deal Tour final event at Howard University in Washington, Monday, May 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Last week, Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff to Green New Deal architect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), admitted that his boss’s key piece of legislation didn’t start out as a climate change initiative at all. The Green New Deal would fundamentally transform America’s economy — and AOC has never suggested otherwise. But it appears the “New Deal” part predates the “Green” part.


“The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” Chakrabarti told The Washington Post. Turning to Sam Ricketts, climate director for Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), he asked, “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?”

“Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing,” Chakrabarti said.

Conservatives rightly noted the monumental disclosure. “The Truth FINALLY comes out,” FreedomWorks tweeted.

Chakrabarti mockingly responded, “They finally got us! The [Green New Deal] is a plan to solve climate change AND reverse wealth inequality by proactively building the new energy economy in America. That means building solar panels, bullet trains, electric cars, batteries, new smart grids, and so much more.”

He went on, “If only we had talked about it right there on the first page of the Green New Deal resolution…”


AOC’s chief of staff had rightly noted that the Green New Deal calls for “a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.” AOC’s resolution calls for eventually moving beyond airplanes, providing clean air, food, and water for everyone, and “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States.”

A PJ Media analysis of the Green New Deal’s cost over the first ten years estimated the price tag at $49.109 trillion. As it turns out, that was far too conservative. A study from the American Action Forum pegged the price at $93 trillion. That, too, is arguably a conservative estimate.

Many activists have dismissed the cost as irrelevant, because climate change poses an existential risk to humanity. This relies on climate predictions that have proven false time and time again, and a myth of scientific consensus on the issue. Liberals attempting to use modern monetary theory to dismiss the cost are also misguided.


“What they’re proposing is permanent depression. I’ve called it the ‘Back to the Dark Ages’ manifesto or the ‘Back to the Stone Age’ manifesto,” Myron Ebell, director at the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), told PJ Media in January.

It is impossible to run America’s energy economy on 100 percent renewable power, especially when discounting nuclear energy, Ebell said. “They could throw however many trillions of dollars into it, and it’s just money down the rat hole. This isn’t just a question of dollars and cents, it’s about reality.”

He called the Green New Deal, which justifies destructive economic changes in the name of fighting climate catastrophe, “a scam.”

“There is a huge climate industrial complex benefitting from this, but it’s not reducing emissions,” Ebell said.

Perhaps Ebell was prescient. It seems the Green New Deal began as the intersectional identity politics “New Deal,” without the climate angle. That alarmist approach was added later, perhaps to give some urgency to the call for economic restructuring.


To some degree, Chakrabarti’s response — downplaying the new revelation — makes sense. After all, Americans already knew the Green New Deal is a liberal boondoggle based on scaremongering and identity politics run amok. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t news when one of the Green New Deal architects admits the climate facade was a late addition.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.


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