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Press Release


April 24, 2024

Contact: Prerna Jagadeesh,, 508-455-8275

Green New Deal Movement takes a victory lap on the American Climate Corps and outlines the path ahead

Washington, D.C. – Following President Biden’s official launch of the American Climate Corps (ACC), a revolutionary program to give young people good union jobs tackling the climate crisis in their communities, the movement for a Green New Deal is celebrating the creation of the ACC and outlining how the size and inclusivity of the program should continue to grow in order for it to make the greatest impact.

“The White House’s announcement of the American Climate Corps – the most explicit Green New Deal program to date – is an amazing, historic step. Giving young people a pathway to making their communities better through green union jobs is the perfect way to take on the climate crisis while creating incredible economic and social benefits,” said Saul Levin, Legislative & Political Director at the Green New Deal Network. “Now, President Biden and Congress have a tremendous opportunity to build the ACC up to the scale we need. Let’s think as big as FDR did with the original CCC, which created 3 million jobs over 10 years and hired 2% of the U.S. population – that is the level of ambition we should aspire to. Young people need and deserve an ACC robust enough to create instant benefits in communities nationwide and show them that the President is working to make our lives better.”

The ACC is the brainchild of the Green New Deal movement. For years, youth climate activists with the Sunrise Movement demanded a modern version of FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps. After then-candidate Biden’s collaboration with the climate movement during the 2020 election helped clinch his victory, President Biden began directing his administration to create a Civilian Climate Corps in his first week of office. From there, Senator Markey and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez crafted legislation outlining a fully modernized, inclusive, and expanded version of the CCC that would be funded at the level of $132 billion and create 1.5 million jobs. 

“Today is a huge victory for our movement. Thousands of young people fighting for their future made this possible,” said Aru Shiney-Ajay, Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement. “The federal government must lead the way to develop the workforce we need to avert climate catastrophe and ensure young people from all walks of life have green union jobs. The ACC is the beginning of a new era.”

President Biden responded to activists’ call by including a $10 billion version of a Climate Corps in his proposal for the Build Back Better Act. When the Climate Corps and several other climate justice provisions did not make it into the final version of the Inflation Reduction Act, activists redoubled their demands, culminating in President Biden announcing the creation of the American Climate Corps in September 2023, which would create 20,000 jobs. In the first three weeks after the announcement, 42,000 people signed up to learn more about the program – proving how popular Green New Deal programs are. In further proof of the ACC’s popularity, polling has found that the program is supported by 71% of voters, including majorities of Independents and Republicans.

There’s more work to be done in order for the ACC to live up to its maximum potential and produce tangible, near-immediate economic and social benefits for young people and their communities. It must be funded at $132 billion as Senator Markey and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez initially proposed, create millions of jobs instead of thousands, and contain robust justice and equity standards. Young people deserve an ACC that recruits heavily from Black, brown, and Indigenous communities of applicants and pays a genuinely livable wage that matches the cost of living in our communities.

“The American Climate Corps, if fully funded, has the potential to turbocharge our progress towards beating climate change in Minnesota and across America,” said Mattias Lehman, Narrative and Communications Director at Take Action Minnesota. “The original Civilian Conservation Corps employed over 70,000 people in Minnesota with jobs helping build infrastructure like roads and buildings and tending to public lands, forests, and parks. Our state’s ACC program, the Minnesota Energy Climate Corps, could similarly create tens or even hundreds of thousands of jobs helping build resilience against climate disasters and shoring up public lands. If President Biden and Congress make sure the ACC is fully funded and pays workers a fair wage, the sky’s the limit on how much good it can do and how much faith in government it can create.”


About the Green New Deal Network

The Green New Deal Network is the hub of the GND, bringing together frontline communities, labor organizers, and climate activists from all across the country to drive massive public investments towards a Green New Deal at all scales of government. The Green New Deal Network is a national campaign with an expansive network of member organizations and a governing table of steering committee members: Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, The Movement for Black Lives, People’s Action, Sunrise Movement, Working Families Party, and US Climate Action Network.