‘Green New Deal’ Doesn’t Call for ‘End’ to Air Travel

There’s more to traveling in March than package trips to beach resorts for thirsty Spring Breakers. As spring looms in the northern hemisphere, temperatures tick up and destinations emerge from winter hibernation (well, except for the ones determined to eke out a few more weeks of skiing). It’s an off-season time to visit Europe, for example, so fares and hotel rates will be lower, and a terrific month to head to parts of Asia, when the heat won’t be as punishing as summertime. Here’s our pick of the six best places for a vacation in March, whether you want to join the Traveler team in Texas, or explore Japan’s prettiest city in sakura season.
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An Airplanes after take off or overflying Thessaloniki, Greece between 30.000-40.000 feet against the blue sky in August 2018.  (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A resolution before Congress outlining actions to address climate change prompted the misleading claim that the deal aims to “end” air travel and “build trains over the oceans.”

The rollout of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” last week prompted no shortage of confusion and misleading claims on social media about what the ambitious environmental proposal would do.

One popular Facebook post spread the claim that “Sandy Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘NEW GREEN DEAL’ Calls For End To Air Travel & To Build Trains Over The Oceans,” referring to the New York Democrat by her high school nickname.

But the non-binding House resolution — which recognizes “the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal” — does not call for ending air travel or building rail lines over any ocean. A companion resolution was also introduced in the Senate.

The language of the Facebook post mirrors the text of a headline on the conservative website The Gateway Pundit, but it doesn’t come from the text of the actual resolution.

Instead, it might stem from an interpretation of, or confusion over, documents about the resolution circulated by Ocasio-Cortez’s office.

An “overview” of the resolution that was provided to NPR, for example, pledged to “begin work immediately on Green New Deal bills to put the nuts and bolts on the plan described in this resolution.” The outline included this about infrastructure and industrial projects: “Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle.” (Italic emphasis ours.)

At another point, in explaining its 10-year greenhouse gas emission goal, the outline says “we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.” A now-deleted blog post on Ocasio-Cortez’s House website included similar language.

People can debate the choice of words used in those background materials, but the actual resolution introduced in Congress does not include any language suggesting an “end to air travel” or about building trains “over the oceans.”

The resolution outlines broad goals such as, reaching “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions”; creating “millions of good, high-wage jobs”; investing in infrastructure; guaranteeing future generations clean air and water, and “climate and community resiliency”; and more.

The only reference to trains is a call to invest in “high-speed rail” as part of an effort to overhaul “transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network.

“Green New Deal FAQ.” Blog post, office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 5 Feb 2019.

U.S. House. “H. Res. 109, Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.” (as introduced 7 Feb 2019.)

Kurtzleben, Danielle. “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Green New Deal Outline.” NPR. 7 Feb 2019.

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