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A Green New Deal for Texas

“I want to make sure that the love of my life, my three-year-old Santi, inherits a safe, caring and green planet. Every young Texan deserves the opportunity to experience the beauty of Texas from Barton Springs to Big Bend. It is on all of us to ensure we take action now to preserve this planet for them and future generations.” – Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

As Texans, we don’t run away from big problems—we take them head-on. That’s exactly what we have to do on climate change. In Texas, we have seen Houston and much of Southeast Texas underwater, along with unprecedented heat waves and drought. It’s time to get serious about climate change. It’s time to act. 

The cost of acting now pales in comparison to the cost of our continued inaction. We should be investing proactively in strengthening our communities and our economy now to withstand the challenges of climate change, rather than simply reacting to flooding, oil spills and other disasters. Climate change is a crisis that we are already experiencing, and our economy is already transitioning to cleaner sources of energy. The Green New Deal presents an opportunity to make this transition in a way that is smart, fair, and proactive, and 81% of democrats agree it’s the best way to address climate change.

Cristina believes that it can also be a smart investment in our future. As Senator, Cristina will support the Green New Deal Resolution and put Texas front-and-center in the clean energy transition. Her plan, A Green New Deal for Texas, will create good green jobs, help Texas achieve net-zero emissions, invest in our infrastructure, secure a safe and healthy environment for all, and ensure that we leave no worker in the fossil fuel industry behind. 

As the second-largest economy in the country with massive wind and solar potential, no state has more to lose or gain than Texas. A Green New Deal for Texas will position Texas as the leading producer of clean energy in the country, and create green jobs for Texans by focusing on the following goals from the Green New Deal resolution:

  1. Creating Green Jobs
  2. Fully Utilizing the Clean Energy Potential in Texas 
  3. Creating a 21st Century Clean Transportation System
  4. Building Green, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure
  5. Spurring Growth in Manufacturing Clean Technologies
  6. Making our Buildings Energy Efficient
  7. A Healthy Environment for All

Creating Green Jobs

From Vice President Joe Biden to Senator Bernie Sanders, leading presidential candidates for President have put forward climate plans that would create 10 and 20 million green jobs respectively. Simply based on population, we can estimate that we could bring at least 1 million jobs to Texas– if we make sure that our state is front and center in the transition to the green economy. 

As Senator Cristina will:

  • Champion A Green New Deal for Texas, to create jobs in wind and solar– including manufacturing these technologies in the U.S., investing in a 21st century transportation system, building new climate-resilient infrastructure, research and development of new clean technologies, and retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient, with the goal of bringing 1 million jobs to Texas in the next decade.
  • Ensure that the Green New Deal guarantees job standards that include a living minimum wage and high prevailing wages, adequate benefits and the right for workers to organize, so that the new jobs generated are also high-quality jobs.
  • Ensure that the Green New Deal includes project labor agreements on all green construction projects receiving federal dollars.

Leave no oil and gas worker behind, by investing in retraining programs, guaranteeing pensions, and strengthening unions

Fully Utilizing the Clean Energy Potential in Texas 

By setting a 100 percent clean power standard through the Green New Deal, we can fully utilize the clean energy potential of Texas to power our country with green, renewable electricity. Texas is already the biggest generator of wind energy in the country, but if we continue to expand in areas like energy storage and solar we can generate more jobs for Texans in the fastest growing careers in the country. 

As Senator, Cristina will bring clean energy jobs and investment to Texas by: 

  • Extending investment tax credits for wind and solar and expanding them to include energy storage.
  • Expanding programs like federal loan guarantees through the Department of Energy and the Rural Utilities Service to expand clean energy across Texas.
  • Modernizing the electric grid to support higher percentages of clean energy, including making rooftop solar available for low-income households.

Creating a 21st Century Clean Transportation System

For too long, Texans have dealt with a never-ending cycle of traffic on congested highways, traffic due to construction to expand highways, and then traffic on the expanded highways. We not only lose time, we also lose economic productivity due to our congested traffic within and in-between different cities. By overhauling our transportation systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution through the Green New Deal, we can not only have clean transportation, but faster and more efficient transportation for all Texans. 

As Senator Cristina will support:

  • Reestablishing the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards rolled back by the Trump administration, which save Texans at the gas pump and lower overall air pollution and emissions.
  • Expanding tax credits for low and zero-emission vehicles so that low and middle income families can upgrade to clean vehicles.
  • Supporting investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Building high-speed passenger rail to connect major cities in Texas, lowering traffic congestion and creating new jobs.
  • Electrification of public transit, school buses, and other public vehicles to improve air quality and reduce emissions in urban areas.

Building Green, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

Our country is long-overdue for investments in our infrastructure. Through the Green New Deal, Cristina will ensure that Texas’ infrastructure is built to last, so that it benefits Texans for generations to come. With Hurricanes Harvey and Imelda, Houston experienced two thousand-year floods in just three years. We need to build back better and stronger to withstand future natural disasters and secure vulnerable and front-line communities now, before disasters happen.

As Senator Cristina will:

  • Expand funding for pre-disaster mitigation grants to invest in securing communities before climate events occur.
  • Protect Texas’ coastal communities at risk of sea-level rise.
  • Have federal disaster agencies partner with local communities to make sure that we support local efforts to combat climate change.

Spurring Growth in Manufacturing Clean Technologies

As the energy capital of the world, Texas has long been a source of technological innovation for the energy industry, and it can continue to do so in the clean energy transition. A Green New Deal for Texas will boost Texas’ economy by employing the bright minds of Texas to develop new technologies, and spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing to build these new technologies right here in Texas. The next generation of solar panels, wind turbines and batteries being developed at our research universities today can become the job creators of tomorrow.

As Senator, Cristina will:

  • Support a five-fold increase in federal clean energy research, development, and deployment (RD&D) to develop clean technologies for the economy of the future and produce them right here at home.

Making our Buildings Energy Efficient

Ensuring that our new and existing buildings are energy efficient is not just good for the planet, but it saves Texans money and can generate jobs. More than half of current clean energy jobs in Texas are in energy efficiency. If we increase our commitment to cutting emissions, we can put people to work retrofitting homes, offices, and factories so that they are more energy efficient, as well as building new ones that meet the highest standard of efficiency. 

As Senator, Cristina will:

  • Support expanding tax credits for energy efficiency in buildings, for both retrofitting and new construction.

Ensure we invest in retrofitting our public housing, which would lower emissions while cutting costs for low-income residents.

A Healthy Environment for All

At the heart of the Green New Deal is a commitment to giving every single person in this country guaranteed access to clean water and air, and a healthy environment. People of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change and all kinds of toxic pollution. Race is often a better predictor of exposure to the most deadly pollutants than wealth, since on average both African Americans and Latinos are exposed to more air pollution than white people. Cristina’s Green New Deal for Texas will ensure that no matter your zip code, income or ethnic or racial background you will be guaranteed clean water, safe air to breathe, and a clean environment for all of our children. 

As Senator, Cristina will:

  • Requiring environmental justice and equity considerations are a part of all major federal projects as part of standard reviews.
  • Work to make sure communities of color benefit from the emerging clean energy economy. We have the opportunity to  build a strong economy by ensuring these careers are open to all Texans through robust career and workforce development programs.

A Green New Deal for Texas 

To understand what a Green New Deal future can look like, we can look at some examples right here in our state, like the Sunnyside landfill here in Houston. This former landfill is now the home of the largest urban solar farm in the country. It also provides discounts to low-income residents in the area, proving that we can clean up our environment and move forward with sustainable energy sources that benefit everyone. 

And this is just the start. With the full force of Texans behind the clean energy transition, we can move our country off of fossil fuels while creating opportunities for Texas families to be a part of the green economy.