The centerpiece of the Green New Deal is a commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030. The transition to clean energy is not only a visionary plan for a better world, it’s absolutely necessary to ensure we have a world at all.
The climate crisis is a serious threat to the survival of humanity and life on Earth. To prevent catastrophe, we need a WWII-scale mobilization to transition to a sustainable economy with 100% clean renewable energy, public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.
Already tens of millions of people have been turned into climate refugees, and hundreds of thousands die annually from air pollution, heat waves, drought-based food shortages, floods, rising seas, epidemics, storms and other lethal impacts of climate change and fossil fuels.
Scientists report that sea levels are rising much faster than predicted, and could overwhelm coastal areas within decades. New York. Baltimore. Miami. Los Angeles. New Orleans. And more. Some scientists say the data shows that sea levels may rise by 9 feet within the next 50 to 150 years. 
And as global climate change worsens, wars fought over access to food, water and land will become commonplace.
Historically, talks aimed at stopping global warming have centered on the goal of staying below a 2°C rise in average temperature. The major “victory” in COP 21 in Paris was that the industrial polluting nations such as the US agreed with the rest of the world that the existing global warming cap target of 2 degrees Celsius would lead to catastrophic change. They agreed to set a lower target of “well below 2 degrees Celsius” and, preferably, 1.5 degrees Celsius. Scientific studies show this means reducing greenhouse gases twice as fast (7 to 9% annually) compared to the old goal of “80 by 50”. The GND’s plan to transition to 100% clean energy by 2030 is the only program in any US presidential candidate’s platform that even attempts to meet the scientific goal agreed to in Paris.
Going to 100% clean energy by 2030 means reducing energy demand as much as possible. This will require energy conservation and efficiency; replacing non-essential individual means of transport with high-quality and modern mass transit; and eliminating the use of fossil-based fertilizers and pesticides. Along with these steps it will be necessary to electrify everything else, including transport, heating, etc. Many current proposals by the state and federal government to move to renewables only address the existing electrical system, which accounts for only about 1/3 of the carbon footprint.
Studies have shown that there are no technological or logistical barriers to a clean-energy transition by 2030.  A British think tank recently put out a study saying that all fossil fuels could be eliminated in 10 years.
The author of the best known series of studies on how to transition to 100% clean energy, Prof. Mark Jacobson, has acknowledged that 2030 is technologically feasible but he has added 20 years to reflect political and economic challenges. However, adding an additional 20 years to the timetable based on expected political obstructionism unfortunately makes it easier for politicians to delay urgently needed action by falsely claiming that we still have over 30 years until we really need to act. Other professors at Stanford such as Tony Seba have criticized him for not being clearer that 2030 is not only feasible but needed.  We have the technology to transition to 100% clean energy, and the science shows us that we must; the only missing ingredient is the political will.
The Jacobson plan – which, while only one potential approach, is currently the most detailed and well-known – would be met with 30.9% onshore wind, 19.1% offshore wind, 30.7% utility-scale photovoltaics (PV), 7.2% rooftop PV, 7.3% concentrated solar power (CSP) with storage, 1.25% geothermal power, .37% wave power, 0.14% tidal power, and 3.01% hydroelectric power.
Over all 50 states, converting would provide 3.9 million 40-year construction jobs and 2.0 million 40-year operation jobs for the energy facilities alone, the sum of which would outweigh the 3.9 million jobs displaced in the conventional energy sector.
Jacobson’s jobs estimates are only for electric power production. They do not include jobs from the two most potent job creators in an energy transition: mass transit/freight rail and retrofitting buildings for insulation and efficiency. It is estimated that every dollar spent on investments in renewable energy creates 3 times as many jobs as investments in nuclear power or fossil fuels . Also missing in the Jacobson study are manufacturing jobs for clean energy generation equipment and jobs for retrofitting the grid into a smart grid.
The Center for American Progress estimates that $100 billion in green economic investment will translate into two million new jobs in two years. And a 2008 report by the Center on Wisconsin Strategies suggests that roughly 8 -11 jobs can be created by every $1 million invested in building energy efficiency retrofitting. The American Solar Energy Society has estimated that jobs in energy efficiency industries will more than quadruple between 2007 and 2030, from 3.75 million to 16.7 million. (see also Scaling Up Building Energy Retrofitting in U.S. Cities )
There is less data about how many jobs would be created by transitioning to a comprehensive national mass transit program. However, an analysis in 2011 by Smart Growth America, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and U.S. PIRG, found that every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 16,419 job-months, while the same amount spent on highway infrastructure projects produced 8,781 job-months; meaning that investment in public transit creates almost twice as many jobs as investing in highways. (See also a study by the Transportation Equity Network.)
13. Link no longer available