De l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace! –General George Patton, quoting Georges Danton
By Lambert Strether of Corrente
From the Boston Herald: “Ed Markey pairs with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Green New Deal,” as they introduce “H. RES. 109: Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal,” together. This is remarkable in several ways, first because Markey is a Senator (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is a Represenative), Markey is “the dean of the Massachusetts delegation” (AOC is a freshman), Markey is 73 (AOC is 29), and Markey introduced Waxman-Markey (cap-and-trade) in 2009, back when the greatest orator of our time was President, which narrowly passed the House and was never taken up in the Senate; the previous high-water mark of Democrat efforts on climate change. Markey’s endorsement of the Green New Deal, in other words. is not only an acknowledgement, however implicit, that cap-and-trade isn’t the solution we (and the biosphere) need, but that the other climate policy he endorsed, Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy, was directionally incorrect as well. I point this out not to trash Markey, but to point out that the, er, climate on climate change has changed, dramatically so.
Before delving into the resolution itself, the sausage-making that went into it, and the nature of the Green New Deal as a deal, and the politics of it all, let me make this important caveat: The Green New Deal (GND) is not enough. As David Wallace Wells wrote in New York Magazine:
As a strategy of avoiding that same threshold of two degrees of warming, the investments of a Green New Deal are what logicians call “necessary but insufficient.”
This is not a reflection of the modesty of the legislation, which is not at all modest — in fact, it is perhaps the most ambitious bill put forward in congress in three quarters of a century. It is simply a reflection of the scale of the challenge. In its report, the IPCC compared the transformation required to stay safely below two degrees to the mobilization of World War II. That mobilization was unprecedented in human history and has never been matched since. That time, there was a draft, a nationalization of industry, widespread rationing: The entire American nation turned single-mindedly toward the relevant threat, as did the entire Russian nation — and the two of them, almost inconceivably, in retrospect, allied. That is the kind of mobilization the sober-minded scientists of the world believe is necessary today — to get to half of our current emissions by 2030.
Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us to our country, to the world. And so while carbon taxes are nice while things like cap and trade are nice, it’s not what’s going to save the planet. It could be part of a larger solution but no one has actually scoped out what that larger solution would entail.
As a meliorist, I think even the GND has a change to make what is to come marginally less bad. If we succeed in mobilizing as the GND contemplates, we may end up doing much better. In any case, I’d rather go down fighting!
Caveats made, I’ll first link to the Resolution (and its accompanying FAQ), then at the sausage-making that went into the bill, and then at the seeming contradiction between justice and climate in media discussion of the bill. So to the Resolution.
H. RES. 109: Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal
David Roberts from Vox has a fair-minded summary of the Resolution (which, again remarkably, has 67 cosponsors):
The resolution consists of a preamble, five goals, 14 projects, and 15 requirements. The preamble establishes that there are two crises, a climate crisis and an economic crisis of wage stagnation and growing inequality, and that the GND can address both.
(So when they ask “What are your demands?” we can tell them.) Robert’s perception that there are “two crises,” and that the GND can “address both” is important, and we’ll get to it after we consider sausage making. Here, quoting from the Resolution, is the scale of the climate crisis:
(3) global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond preindustrialized levels will cause—
(A) mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change;
(B) more than $500,000,000,000 in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year 2100;
(C) wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019;
(D) a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth;
(E) more than 350,000,000 more people to be exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050; and
(F) a risk of damage to $1,000,000,000,000 of public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the United States; and
(4) global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, which will require—
(A) global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and
(B) net-zero global emissions by 2050;
(I quote at such length because it’s very satisfying to see these points embodied in legislation). And the chance to addess the economic crisis:
Whereas the House of Representatives recognizes that a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era is a historic opportunity—
(1) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States;
(2) to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; and
(3) to counteract systemic injustices:
(E) to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as “frontline and vulnerable communities”)
And from the FAQ (I’ll skip the requirements) the 14 projects:
National mobilization our economy through 14 infrastructure and industrial projects. Every project strives to remove greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from every sector of our economy:
- Build infrastructure to create resiliency against climate change-related disasters
- Repair and upgrade U.S. infrastructure. ASCE estimates this is $4.6 trillion at minimum.
- Meet 100% of power demand through clean and renewable energy sources
- Build energy-efficient, distributed smart grids and ensure affordable access to electricity
- Upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency
- Massively expand clean manufacturing (like solar panel factories, wind turbine factories, battery and storage manufacturing, energy efficient manufacturing components) and remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing
- Work with farmers and ranchers to create a sustainable, pollution and greenhouse gas free, food system that ensures universal access to healthy food and expands independent family farming
- Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out highspeed 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
- Mitigate long-term health effects of climate change and pollution
- Remove greenhouse gases from our atmosphere and pollution through afforestation, preservation, and other methods of restoring our natural ecosystems
- Restore all our damaged and threatened ecosystems
- Clean up all the existing hazardous waste sites and abandoned sites
- Identify new emission sources and create solutions to eliminate those emissions
- Make the US the leader in addressing climate change and share our technology, expertise and products with the rest of the world to bring about a global Green New Deal
Granted, this seems like, well, a lot. And I’d like to see everything costed out, and I’d like to see the greenhouse gas tranches estimated, too. But really. The world’s largest and richest economy in the world, properly mobilized, ought to be able to do quite a lot, too.
Sausage-Making and the GND
Roberts points out that the fights the GND does not pick are important:
1) Paying for it…. There are centrist Democrats who still believe in the old PAYGO rules, keeping a “balanced budget” within a 10-year window. There are Democrats who think deficit fears have been exaggerated and there’s nothing wrong with running a deficit to drive an economic transition. And there are Democrats who have gone full Modern Monetary Theory…. Leave it for later.
2) Clean versus renewable energy Many, probably most energy analysts believe that renewables will need to be supplemented with nuclear power or fossil fuels with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), but some lefty environmental groups pushed for the GND to explicitly prohibit them…. The resolution wisely avoids taking that route.
Instead, it calls for the US to “meet 100 percent of our power demand through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”…. But their fight doesn’t need to muck up the GND. The GND targets carbon emissions, which is the right target for a broad programmatic outline.
3) Carbon pricing… The need to price carbon has practically been climate orthodoxy for the past few decades, but lately there’s been something of a lefty backlash…. The resolution doesn’t take a position. It merely says that the GND must involve “accounting for the true cost of emissions.” If you’re a carbon pricing fan (as I am), you can read pricing into that. But there are other ways to read it too.
4) Supply-side policy “Keep it in the ground,” as the slogan goes…. The resolution simply slates that fight as something to take place within the broad GND coalition, rather than making it part of the price of membership.
All four of these omissions or elisions — these fights postponed — signal, to me, a movement that is capable of reining in its more vigorous ideological impulses in the name of building the broadest possible left coalition behind an ambitious climate solution. That bodes well.
Although the building trades (partly allied with the nuclear industry) were important in the sausage-making process, I want to focus on the dense thicket of NGOs that undergirds (some might say chokes) the left. From Grist, back in January:
To understand the debate surrounding the Green New Deal, you need to look beyond its recent prominence in Beltway political circles to the on-the-ground organizations that make up the environmental justice movement. Newcomers like Ocasio-Cortez may be leading the charge, but grassroots leaders who have spent years advocating for low-income families and neighborhoods of color most impacted by fossil fuels say their communities weren’t consulted when the idea first took shape.
For all the fanfare, there isn’t a package of policies that make up a Green New Deal just yet. And that’s why community-level activists are clamoring to get involved, help shape the effort, and ensure the deal leaves no one behind.
The fuss over who gets a say in the formation of the Green New Deal goes back further than Ocasio-Cortez’s or Sunrise’s friendly-ish feud with establishment Democrats. The Climate Justice Alliance, a network of groups representing indigenous peoples, workers, and frontline communities, says its gut reaction to the Green New Deal was that it had been crafted at the “grasstops” (as opposed to the grassroots).
(For some definition of “grassroots support”.) Somebody of a cynical turn of mind might think that those crafting the GND decided that they’d rather have those 60 organizations inside the tent pissing out, rather than outside the tent pissing in. And so the “list of their concerns” was added to all the other bullet points in the bill. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
Climate, Justice, and Putting the “Deal” in the GND
Nevertheless, if the sausage-making process — in a fine example of Conway’s Law — occurred as that cynic might think it did, that would give an account of a GND whose text is divided into a “climate” part, and a “justice” part, and never the twain shall meet. Thus Vox, in good faith, can write:
The resolution makes clear that justice is a top progressive priority. It is fashionable for centrists and some climate wonks to dismiss things like wage standards as tertiary, a way of liberal goals onto the climate fight. But progressives don’t see it that way. In a period of massive, rapid disruption, the welfare of the people involved is not tertiary.
That means that justice — or as it’s often called, “environmental justice,” as though it’s some boutique subgenre — must be at the heart of any plan to address climate change.
Politico has the same perception:
The most glaring problem with the Green New Deal is that it doesn’t just make that case for all-out emergency climate action; it calls for . It treats all of America’s problems—wage stagnation, unaffordable housing, anti-competitive business practices, the decline of labor unions—as if they were just as urgent as the climate crisis. And its proposed solutions are just as expansive. Like a federal job guarantee assuring “a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security.” Or a pledge to “provide all people of the United States with—(i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe and adequate housing
Which indeed makes progressives seem like fools, because what justice can there be if the planet is cooked? Unfortunately, Vox, Politico, GND proponents, and even the extraordinarily focused and articulate AOC are all ignoring  the glaringly obvious: The Green New Deal is a DEAL. All agree that the entire society most be mobilized for the GND to succeed (and though few say it, the dreaded lifestyle and consumption changes will have to be part of that). The deal for the working class is if they participate in GND mobilization, they are restored to a life of dignity: Real work for real money, the chance to take care of their families (even for those whose family numbers one), medical care, the rentiers boot off their neck, and clean air and water. In other words, universal concrete material benefits. That is the deal. That is a new deal, a deal that hasn’t been offered for most of my lifetime, and never for young people. That is the green new deal. And it’s a GND for the 90%, not 60 [familiy blogging] siloed NGOs. And all deals have (at least) two sides: This one has the “climate” side, and it has the “justice” side. One for the other. That’s how and why the Green New Deal will work as a deal. You might even call it a covenant, if you’re religiously inclined.
 Some would claim that title for Obama’s stimulus package: “‘People don’t understand how forward-leaning the stimulus was on climate issues,’ says Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who chairs the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (the one Pelosi created without any subpoena power and no mandate to create a plan). ‘It’s a road map for a Green New Deal.'” Come on. $90 billion? Get real. And besides, the stimulus package wasn’t a deal.
 From WaPo:
As of this morning, the Green New Deal has the backing of three Democrats running for president — Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) — as well as of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
However, I’m not sure whether they’re backing the GND as a concept, or this resolution, and WaPo doesn’t really say.
 I would be the last person to downplay the strategic importance of marginalized communities, because the Penobscots were absolutely essential to fighting the landfill; and those on the front lines are often the ones with the incentives to pay “the cost of citizenship” by becoming subject matter experts in whatever field affects them; water, soil, and so on.
 He also doesn’t see the point of a Jobs Guarantee. But, given the scale of the crisis, do we really want to put the GND at the mercy of the business cycle? (Not to mention that managing the business cycle by throwing people out of work is immoral.)
 The GND advocates possibly because social justice vocabulary and styles of thought come most easily to them; the defense of “the marginalized,” for example. But in a neoliberal hellscape with falling life expectancy, falling birth rates, real wages stagnant for decades, a Kafka-esque health care system, and (especially for the young) crippling debt, doesn’t it make sense to consider the 90% as marginalized?
Lambert: Thanks for this. I don’t live by slogans, but I think that collectively we’d better think: I’d rather go down fighting. (Or La Pasionaria: Better to die on one’s feet than live on ones knees.)
I am already monitoring two threads by “liberals” and “progressives” that have already erupted on Facebook. The can’t-do attitude! The puritanism. The appeals to their own personal expertise about how things just can’t work. The knowingness about costs and benefits. Sheesh. Who needs Fox News?
Do I catch an inkling? A chance at dignity? And maybe an end to all of that caterwauling? And maybe an end to rightwing nihilism?
The ghost of FDR tells us to do so. And the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt tells us to remain humane while trying.
If a Green New Deal is a positive step in combating climate change (I just want to make sure it’s carbon negative, make sure those checks are in place) isn’t it something we should write and call our Congresspeople about? Tell them “I am calling/writing to express my support for the Green New Deal …..” Let them hear from us en masse.
For 2 years it hasn’t mattered what I said to my Congresspeople and I haven’t bothered as R’s controlled the entire government. But that’s over. I don’t think D’s are necessarily our salvation but it was completely hopeless to even write before and .. suddenly now it’s not. R’s don’t have the entire government, people like AOC are proposing policy. Time to write and phone again I think.
Heading: Food Chain Climate Mobilization Matures
Subtitle: Mechanisms in World wide System will take
Calculated amounts of CO2 caused by Methane
Bubble tipping point Out of the Air. Why there
Is a 12 year Mobilization Demand.
Reference: Peter Wadhams S.D. Professor of Ocean Physics, Cambridge, UK. Find Thom Hartmann interview on YouTube. about 2 weeks ago.
There is now maturity in the science explaining why Methane was never figured into original ’70s Climate reports. It didn’t leave evidence the same way. All the Methane went into the environment in a bubble as it is and will melting at a temperature point tipped and in a loop and becoming CO2 over a 10 to 15 year period.
I recorded the Ecology lectures of the ’70s so I know what has been missing. The blunt recommendation is that regardless of perfect action and imperfect actions with the goal of saving the Food Chain Climate, Machines that suck the CO2 out of the air on a Global scale are a system required.
It is my suspicion that the mobilization requires a Government of Governments with enforcement capabilities set to a time table. Systems for taking CO2 out of the Atmosphere have been around for decades now. Prof. Wadhams looks to American Engineers for the machines and systems.
You can’t drill a water well in Haiti that won’t end up needing armed protection or it is taken over by water mobsters.
It will take armed guards and protections for infrastructure installation forces like were the Seabees to achieve the installation and powering up of such a Ecology Food Chain Protection System.
Work for one of Victor Davis Hanson’s “Savior Generals” is staring Antonio Guterres in the face. We will get no help from Trump or Putin who do not understand the science or want to push others into shouldering the expense of the Atmosphere of the Food Chain. I want Elon Musk to make Electric Tanks for the Gov. of Govs. & their Gendarmes.
Best news of late is the scientists now know what they didn’t know from what they did know before.
I’m not sure which video by Peter Wadhams you mean, but this looks interesting:
Can’t vouch for it though. No time to listen!
Why do we need machines to suck the CO2 out of the Atmosphere on a global scale when we already have plants which already do that?
All we need to do is to increase the rate and amount at which plants are doing that, and increase the rate and amount at which plants and the soil they grow in are bio-storing and bio-sequestering the CO2 which plants already suck out of the air, and then get our carbon emissions below the rate of the plants’ carbon suckdown.
I especially love your last two sentences.
The people you describe in “social media” forums (if indeed they are even real people and not bots) are all deep in denial. People and politicians who say those things are simply not serious. They are not serious about tackling climate change, health care, racial justice, our economic mess, or basic human rights.
Our choice is between a slogan (“I’d rather go down fighting”) or an epitaph: “they thought they had time”.
Thank you for condensing what is clearly a major bill. I consider myself a Gilet Jaune on the GND. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to afford a new air conditioner that doesn’t use CFCs. When congress passes all these well-meaning acts, they don’t seem to care how much it costs the little people to comply. I appreciate your point about the sponsors wanting to avoid funding issues, but as someone who has been trying to be energy frugal since the 1970s, I’m not one of the big polluters this bill should be addressing. Unless someone is willing to confront the military–with all its fuel waste and fire retardant pollution–I won’t believe the issue is being addressed seriously.
My other major concern is how much of this program is intended to be met by “public-private partnerships.” I consider those programs to be a license for private enterprise to steal, while at the same time never meeting stated requirements. I’m all in favor of a GND that puts average citizens at the forefront, as the real New Deal did. I’m just afraid that without addressing neoliberal capture of a capitalist economy the program will end up being Obamacare for the environment.
Are you referring to the part about every building in the US should be state-of-the-art energy efficient, with respect to little people having to comply?
Homeowners or renters will be curious to know more.
Nothing about the homeless though.
Here’s an example: high efficiency furnaces. These are 90%-98% efficient, but they also require a complete change in venting. Outside the home, there must be a clear 10 feet of unobstructed airway, and they can’t use normal venting chimneys. They are substantially more expensive than 80% fuel efficient furnaces and if you already have a setback thermostat that you use aggressively (I set my heat to 69 degrees during breakfast and dinner hours, 65 degrees at night, and 66 degrees otherwise) there is no energy savings! I ran the numbers, and I was no better off with a high efficiency furnace. Furthermore, they can’t be used in apartments or condos because of their special venting requirements. What really made a difference in my home was blown-in attic insulation. By increasing the R value to 49, the house is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Unfortunately, our congresscritters don’t understand that every situation is different. There is no one-size-fits-all GND. As I said, I admire the sentiment, but, in order to be effective, the solutions need to be tailored to what normal people are living with, whether home or apartment.
I think you are right to be wary of congress getting too specific. The people in congress generally have little to no actual experience in the things they are over seeing and rely on consultants and lobbyists;whose real goal is marketing whatever they are selling.
They should set out guidelines to try and reach. Then there ought to be another layer of people who actually know something, about what they are talking about. And this layer ought to be structured in a transparent way so it doesn’t become the fiefdom as is now the local building and planning code enforcement/inspection divisions. There ought to be more interaction as to what can work successfully, and allow slight deviations if it is safe and “on its way to being better”.
After all “green” doesn’t mean throwing everything out, and getting new stuff everywhere. Sometimes using things till their useful end is the greenest thing to do…
People need to be “smart” about this…as unlikely as it is.. it must be.
The stupid thing is for congress to think they know everything and can trust the “:experts” who have their ears.
On housing, here is the text of the proposed resolution:
Obviously, there’s a lot of wiggle room there, especially around the word “maximum.” Here are some thoughts:
1) The condition of housing stock in the United States varies widely and by locality. (For example, Maine has the oldest housing stock in the nation, and also the highest use of heating oil.) It follows that the nature of the mobilization needs to be taken into account.
2) A house is not, IMNSHO, wealth. In fact, it’s a wasting asset. From (of all places) The American Conservative, “What It Actually Costs to Maintain An Older House“:
In other words, a lot of the — let me just use the word — hysteria about this bullet point poses a false dichotomy between (a) repairing/rebuilding one’s house under the GND, and (b) a status quo where the house is static and unchanging. In fact, houses are always deteriorating and the repairs/rebuilding will have to happen anyhow (assuming one wishes to remain in possession). It’s a lot like they say at the dentists: “That tooth is gonna have to come out sooner or later.” So, in reality, the choice is not whether to repair/rebuild or not, but when and how.
3) I would imagine some of our housing stock should be abandoned. I’m thinking especially of the houses built with stucco-covered foam pediments and no insulation in the run-up to the housing crisis of 2007-2008. But again, that’s a real issue that has to be faced, not some random bullet point: “That tooth is gonna have to come out sooner or later.”
4) As I’ve said, I spent, over the years, well above $50K on the house (which has something like 15 rooms and 25 windows, and was built in at least three stages, using three different building technologies, each of increasing crapification). I did window replacement, had to upgrade the electrical system from knob-and-tube before insulating the walls and the attic, insulated the world’s most horrid crawlspace, put in a new and much more efficient boiler, and did other stuff. My point is not to preen, though I do preen, but to point out that (a) even a very old house can be brought up to scratch, if the initial construction is sound, and (b) if the Feds had written me a check for say half (and not some crappy and complicated tax credit, so beloved of liberals) I would have screamed with joy and done the whole thing in half the time, and gotten on with the rest of my life. And $25K just isn’t very much, in the great scheme of things.
5) I think it makes more sense to look at the Resolution as a forcing device than anything else. At least most everything we need to do is in one bucket, and not scattered across activist verticals!
6) Housing is a bit of a third rail, especially for those who confuse personal property (like a house, which is not wealth) with private property (the means of production, which do produce wealth). So there’s a great deal of alarmist confusion, much of it in bad faith, about all of this.
The “justice” part demands than everyone be housed adequately and etc. It should go without saying.
make that housed properly
> The “justice” part demands than everyone be housed adequately and etc. It should go without saying.
I disagree, because we can’t know in advance if “justice” and cooking the planet are mutually compatible (and it’s not clear we will ever achieve an end state that is “just” in any case).
That’s why I rethought the GND in terms a deal. Justice is a means, not an end. The end is not cooking the planet.
(For example, Lincoln’s war aim was preserving the Union. Abolishing slavery, though just, was a means to that end; it ruined the South’s economy just as surely Sherman’s March through Georgia did. Similarly, putting capital under democratic control (as a multi-trillion mobilization surely would) is both the means, and just.
What? As somebody who has been on the edge with having housing, not a house, not an apartment, but someplace with four walls and a roof, for long periods, I must say I find this…honestly, asinine.
I realize that somethings are more important than others, and yes, the probable destruction of the Earth’s ecosystem is the most important single catastrophe we face, but asking for four walls and roof, and maybe, just maybe, running water and, going crazy here, an electric socket is not too much to ask for. I tend to resist being a Marxian and remain just a Socialist because some of the goals seem extreme and I try to be moderate; there are the days when knowing there are entire families with children living either on the streets or in their car, because reasons, whatever they are, that I want to pullout the old red banner with the hammer and scythe.
We have empty housing stock which is often decaying because nobody can, or is prevented from, living in them in large areas of America. In perhaps the richest part of the wealthiest country on the planet there tens of thousand of homeless, with more living cars, vans, and campers, because reasons.
The same with the millions living on roughly two dollars a day in the United States of America today.
Look, one of the reasons we have such misery is because of Neoliberalism, corruption, and greed. One of the reasons many have resisted dealing with the oncoming collapse is because they know, just like you and I, that the Lords and Masters of the Universe will make them pay for the cleanup, while they keep getting richer. One of the reasons that some want to have the world just burn is because of that. Hell, part of me feels the same.
Unless make housing a right, and there is much to debate on what kind of housing, very likely the world will not just cook, it will also burn. If I believe my family would be destroyed by this Green New Deal, or even that they would not be able to remained homed, I would be sorely tempted to join them.
If we do not make a guarantee of even one of the most basic needs, that of housing, a right and a reality, can you give me a reason that anyone should not?
> If we do not make a guarantee of even one of the most basic needs, that of housing, a right and a reality, can you give me a reason that anyone should not?
As I pointed out, the GND is a deal, necessary (not sufficient) to mobilize the whole of society to save the biosphere from destruction. Personally, I think the moral goal is to save the maximum number of people, as opposed to (if you are in the 1%) creating a Lord-of-the-Flies hellscape of bunkers and robots, or (if you ware in the 10%), creating a Stepford Wives hellscape of gated communities and “good people.” That has policy consequences in the GND, for housing policy in particular. Though I view such justice-oriented outcomes as good, those outcomes are a happy by-product, not the goal of the projects as such (see under Biosphere, Saving).
Shorter: if you think “justice’ is possible on a dead rock, then you need to re-adjust your thinking.
I’m pretty sure a dead planet beats any form of justice, but what worries me is the probable ability of the elite 1% and the possible ability of the 10% to prevent our prevention of Earth’s cooking; our rulers of folly seem to be determined to remain comfortable no matter what it costs the underclass. An underclass with a growing deficit in resources.
Misery and want does not make for long term thinking. Misery and want for your family and friends tends to make one angry. Trust me, being hungry and cold does not help one’s thinking.
Connect that to drawing resources only from those who do not have the power, because they don’t have any resources to prevent that, and we have have angry mobs looking to burn the system down while the system is starved of the resources needed to save the planet.
It is several problems in one. The wealthy who want to maintain their comforts and power that they get from being wealthy; the poor and miserable who want to stop being poor and miserable because they have no wealth; the innate sense of justice, or at least fairness, that seems to be almost universal; the tendency of getting justice by destruction or revenge, if it can not be gotten by fairness or redress.
“Unless someone is willing to confront the military–with all its fuel waste and fire retardant pollution–I won’t believe the issue is being addressed seriously.”
Should one assume that Senator Ed Markey is essentially the author of this legislation? I find is hard, however talented Representative Ocasio Cortez might be, to think as a new Rep in a new Congress that she has had the time to come up with such comprehensive legislation. I’ve had minor experience of visiting Congress to hear a fact finding meeting about Irish immigration sponsored by Rep. King of New York. He explained to us what was happening and further answered questions about how legislation was crafted. The more he explained the more I realised that how completely most of us underestimated that amount of work and factors that law makers need to manage in order to get a piece of legislations through Congress. It’s not for the faint hearted. (Usual caveats apply: there are plenty of legislators across the world who don’t legislate for anything, or only for their benefactors.)
Whatever, I wish both Senator Markey & Rep. Ocasio-Cortez the very best of luck. fingers crossed
Ed Markey the author?
That’s an interesting speculation.
We might know more when Ocasio-Cortez goes out to present the program, answering exhaustive questions about this. If she shows masterful command of the details of the resolution, and not necessarily of any future draft of a sausage-making bill, that would be impressive.
It’s not to different from introducing, say, MMT, to the American people.
Yeah, I worry (because I want her to succeed) of people having too many expectations of her talents or what she can achieve as a newly minted Congressional Rep.
Like all things, you got to earn your spurs. When she gets a few political scars and setbacks and still comes out fighting, then we’ll know her mettle better.
It’s not comprehensive legislation, it’s a resolution. Only has to pass the House. AOC stated the scope of the resolution is not a plan, but the scope of the plan.
AOC is uber talented, but she has some extremely sharp people backing and supporting her. I’m speculating here, but I’d bet most of this was ready to roll.
Ok, that makes sense to me now.
So, bascially, they’re running this up the flagpole to see who starts shooting at it and so forth?
The real fireworks are some way off, if at all?
I remember studying the US legistative system for A levels and being bemused all those years ago. I’m still bemused! (I should stuck strictly to science.)
2020 is the plan….
AOC took the reforms further than Markey ever did in her own press release, sez Zero Hedge. She inserted that nukes are no-go, while many including Markey think they’re necessary stopgaps:
What part is ready to roll? Be specific, please.
> how completely most of us underestimated that amount of work and factors that law makers need to manage in order to get a piece of legislations through Congress. It’s not for the faint hearted.
Yes. Even assuming the process is not utterly corrupt, it’s a lot of work, and takes a lot of skill.
That said, I’ve been impressed and I don’t think it’s all Markey. Rather, I think it’s that a lot of efforts and expertise that were previously siloed are now being focused and integrated by the “projects and goals” of the GND. That is a very good thing. Politics at last!
One problem with Obama’s stimulus package was that there never was a follow-up. If the GND is passed as is and never revisited it will have the same problem. We must hope that it is a down payment on resolving the crisis, and that as soon as it is passed, work will begin on phase two. Project Drawdown has published a book giving one hundred ideas, many of which are in the GND. There are still more to go. Some ideas even beyond Drawdown need to be on the horizon as well. For instance, walkability scores can be found for addresses across the nation, which point to the need for substantial redesign of our cityscapes. While I have sidewalks on both sides of my street, I found my score was only 17 our of 100, because my sidewalks only link to more houses, a park, and a couple of schools. For everything else, I need my car!
Walkability scores are somewhat iffy. My neighborhood proba has a low score, but i’m close enough to walk to my commuter train to get to work. That covers 5/7 days a week most weeks for me. Is that not most of what’s needed? I figure any other walking i do is just a bonus.
So as expected some (as in Vox / Politico articles) are taken aback by a Green New Deal that is not simply mobilizing everyone to make the planet better for the 1%.
Also deserving mention are industrial-chemical uses of carbon and heat. Currently ~22% of energy use and rising. Projected to overtake transportation next decade. [EIA 2019 Outlook, slide 27, see also slide 25 for carbon intensity of energy use vs sector].
The often centralized nature of this energy/carbon user makes it an attractive point for carbon savings, e.g. by cogeneration (harvesting the heat after its industrial use and making electricity, offsetting other fuel sources), or by less energy/carbon intensive but perhaps slightly more expensive chemistries.
It would be a start. Even if progress is inch by inch at first take the inches and keep slogging. Unless I set a new world record for longevity, I will be long gone before the worst arrives, but not the next three generation of my family already with us. I want them to have a fair chance at a good life. (You are free to define good life as you will.)
The Preamble to the Constitution is the Charge and the Constitution itself the framework of the means to accomplish the ends, ideals if you prefer, stated therein. The GND is aimed squarely at promoting the general welfare. To me that means each person and each place has a role in the work and in the reward. Let’s get on with it.
Things are going to change. Whether that be for good or ill is up to us. The big difference between today and the late 1930s when the mobilization for World War II was being born is that then few had much to lose and many much to gain. The current pissing and moaning about a 70% marginal tax rate on extraordinarily high incomes is a minor indicator of the changed era in which we now live. Compare the life on a military base in 1940 or 1960 to today and you see another indicator. I am not saying we should assume an austere and monastic way of life, but face it folks, we are spoiled by our good fortune. Give up some in the name of the welfare of all and of a habitable planet to enjoy that welfare.
I like this very much. Three considerations:
1) Regarding GND including a whole basket of progressive ideas is good idea. You have to offer some kind of benefit/insurance when you are surely going to ask for some kind of sacrifice and those that are in the lower income percentiles will be the ones in highest need of such benefits. Including job guarantee and universal health care should help to gain millions to figth fiercely climate change.
2) AOC, 29 years old!!!. The younger are the ones, the ones that have more to loose from climate change. They should be fiercely pursuing GND+++. Not surprising AOC is leading. She has all my sympathy. I feel she is with my daughter, with my son, they need her.
3) On the comparison with WWII effort: it has to be aknowledged that this time is different, the military complex should be mostly converted into GND complex. The unlimited spending flag that the military enjoy must be passed. Sorry guys…
Any serious effort to wean civilization from CO2 emitting fuel is going to require mining more copper, zinc, nickel, rare earth elements, lithium, silver, platinum, etc. as these are necessary for magnets, coils, batteries, fuel cells, etc.
This poses a catch 22 for environmentalists, who want the renewable energy but are strongly against mining.
I think Yves wrote the other day about that, in the sense that there might not be enough required materials to do all that in a timely fashion, or something to that effect.
This is mostly Kock brother’s myths spread to confuse people about renewable energy.
Yes, there will be some need for these materials and possibly some mining, but it isn’t the disaster that will stop renewables.
About 7-8 years ago, I suggested that the excess lithium captured at the Geysers Geothermal plants be sold (to Musk?), but the market value was less than the cost to haul it to the buyer. Things are not black and white and may or may/not require mining.
Recently a bio-tech billionaire purchased a non-lithium battery company that has been supplying remote cell-towers etc and is now planning on expanding into auto and home/utility battery storage.
The company says its batteries — which rely on abundant and inexpensive zinc — are already at the $100 per kWh level but that the price is expected to drop lower as more batteries are manufactured and deployed. Tesla hints that it will hit the $100 per kWh mark soon, but whether that includes the cost of the external cooling system is unknown.
This is only one of battery options. In the utility sphere, there are several “flow battery” technologies that don’t use lithium or even zinc.
To MAKE electricity from wind, wave, and sun requires copper. Without copper, charging batteries as global economy scale is not possible. How many millions of miles of wire? There is not enough to do this through recycling.
Making the magnets necessary for wind, wave energy requires nickel.
Making solar converters requires REE and/or silver.
Its not some Koch bros. conspiracy. Those elements must be mined and concentrated to switch from combustion fuels to renewables, which is part of the “deal”. There is not enough recycled materials available, or the maritals are disseminated in tiny amounts (e.g. silver in toothbrushes and cell phone cases) that recovering the stuff is impossible.
This is trading a systemic global problem (atmospheric carbon) for a local problem (mining & smelting waste), which frankly is necessary unless living in a 17th century economy is desirable.
your last sentence implies that we are down to needing sacrifice zones for the common good. i think we need to consider that shooting for at least some elements of the 17th century economy. in order to avoid ending up in a situation that might be akin to applying a band-aid on a gunshot wound, albeit a hi-tech band-aid. any attempt to keep something resembling business as usual, no matter how much green lipstick is applied, is not going to cut it long term.
> mining more copper, zinc, nickel, rare earth elements, lithium, silver, platinum,
Yes, that’s a real consideration. The GND would be a forcing device to get a handle on the resources we actually have. And maybe the environmentalists will have to mitigate mining rather than abolish it.
Any predictions past 2030 or even 2025 at this point are just white noise to most and meaningless. Americans have lost all ability to imagine the future, they can’t even understand payday loans or mortgage re-fi’s that cripple their future. Over half of Americans actually think Obama was pro-environment :( America is “the man” in Jack London’s “To build a Fire”. We need to focus on present day tangible destruction of people’s water due to pollution, chemicals in their children’s bodies, the punch in the face of an ocean of plastic soup, etc. These are real, provable, now, and all a result of the same industry bringing us climate catastrophe.
Time is of the essence – that came to mind while reading this.
Are we looking at those infrastructure projects being complete in 10 years, when we have about 10 or 12 years?
That is different from having those projects working now, today, for the next 10 or 12 years.
I woul think, or my impression is that we need the latter.
The part about high quality health care for all people in the US – does it mean we get Medicare for All through this bill?
I think it does.
I don’t see how you mobilize without that.
“I can’t work on this GND project because I might lose my health insurance!” Really?
Same deal with the JG (which could also be used for a ton of citizen science stuff we should already be doing).
Do we have the ability (resources) to achieve the goals? Political capital notwithstanding.
Cost (money) is an unlimited resource (as I believe you are aware).
and therein lies the rub…
To me, costing out implies resources, but I should have been more clear. Resources are the limiting factor, not money. Alas, we cannot print resources!
===The resolution wisely avoids taking that route===
Good for the resolution because from the climate and energy blogs I have read there is no way that even minimal energy needs of radically conservationist society can be met unless it is supplemented with nuclear power or fossil fuels with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).
There is a excellent energy blog called Energy Matters that has been beating the “renewables won’t be enough” drum for a while. The blogs host Euan Mearns is a bit OCDish is his relentless focus on the limits of renewables but the blog makes some good points. Regarding renewables I am of the opinion that we need to start somewhere.
Lastly not to be a fly in the ointment but the copper, zinc, nickel, rare earth elements, lithium, silver, platinum, etc. that are going to be needed are in limited amounts, correct? Is there enough for the rest of the world and their “Green New Deals”? Once we are done with the US Green New Deal will there be enough minerals, etc. for the rest of the world???
===share our technology, expertise and products with the rest of the world to bring about a global Green New Deal===
If memory serves the imperialistic US does not “share” well unless their is a “market” for something and a profit to be made.
Aside from my curmudgeon issues above the GND is a good start and a conversation starter. Time is running out, the planet is losing 21-0, we have to score NOW, and so we have to start throwing the ball downfield and take our shots in the end zone. ***While playing nice in the sandbox with the other countries GNDs.
> Lastly not to be a fly in the ointment but the copper, zinc, nickel, rare earth elements, lithium, silver, platinum, etc. that are going to be needed are in limited amounts, correct? Is there enough for the rest of the world and their “Green New Deals”? Once we are done with the US Green New Deal will there be enough minerals, etc. for the rest of the world???
Let me respond, if not answer, that point by quoting from John MacDonald’s The Long Lavender Look. Travis McGee goes shopping:
Cynicism, I would say, since when the steel rusts, McGee will have to buy a new case (which no doubt pleased the MBA to whom the “idiot” was reporting very much).
My point, which I did have, is that of course these resources are important constraints. But it’s not necessarily the case that the engineering has been done with the needs of a “radically conservationist society” society in mind. Another reason why mobilization (a “wartime footing”) is needed. Flush out the hysteresis…
Based on that one paragraph, The Long Lavender Look seems like an interesting book to read.
I had a thought which is totally opposite the point of that paragraph. And that is, could the owner of such a steel-hinged and steel-latched aluminum case “McGyver” a repair with enough materials and knowledge when the steel rusts out?
There are some plants with thorns long enough and thin enough and tough and hard enough that their narrow ends could be used in place of the steel pins in that aluminum case. Berberis julianae “ironthorn” comes to mind. Look at the thorns in this picture.
Some decades ago when I was young I was walking around in our yard wearing flip flops and stepped on some old “ironthorn” remains. A thorn went right through my flip-flop into my food. I pulled it out and after a couple of weeks of seemingly getting better it suddenly grew a pus-boil. I had it lanced and drained and the doctor extracted a final quarter inch tip of thorn from my foot, which had stayed unaffected and unsoftened itself even as it generated that infection. That is a durable material thorn whose tip could be shaped into a pin with the right tools.
Pereskia cactus could be another thorn-source. If the tips of these thorns aren’t too wide to fit into an aluminum screwdriver-case pin-holes, the tips of these thorns could work.
There may be times and places where natural bio-resources may let us do something physical and mechanical if we have enough tools and enough knowledge.
Absent a Green New Deal we will coast (as in bicycling) for only a short distance & timeframe, continuing to choke on polluted air & compromised water, surviving wildfires & other consequences of extreme weather events, until brutal catastrophe begins to drive change.
Thus it’s vitally important that proponents of GND form a united front (referring to the political side of the Thirties’ struggles for economic & social justice), learning to advance, develop, and criticize. A social & political movement with the scale & power of a war mobilization will involve the creation of powerful agencies. The changes that are necessary, include, as LS suggests, ‘lifestyle & consumption’ adjustments that are enormous. This deal is not something that can be mapped out completely in advance.
Catastrophe will happen. But a strong movement that serves the interests of the people (in their array of vulnerabilities) can meliorate the consequences. It is the only plan for our grandchildren.
“The world’s largest and richest economy in the world, properly mobilized, ought to be able to do quite a lot, too.”
Well, yeah. Properly mobilized we could have cradle to grave universal health care, Pre-K through post-grad free education, comprehensive reparations for the ethnic cleansing of the Americas and slavery, clean and free water in every community, and complete elimination of not only poverty but economic insecurity in general. Thinking here: are we remotely close to having any of these things, all of which are obvious and urgent projects?
I am all for this and i dont think cost lis really an issue, mostly, since i am mmt’r.
HOWEVER, i have just about 0 confidence that the implementation will be even close to successful, given the complete instututional dysfunction of most of the country.
Just take the bay area as an example; a region supposedly progressive, etc.
1) we have a utility co. filing for bankruptcy to avoid lawsuits associated with years slacking on a known, well defined problem that is killing hundreds of people every year or.
2) it took them 20 years to replace/upgrade one span the bay bridge thst was supposed to amke it earthquack proof. Only the part of the structure to perform this function is rusting from salt water.
3) we have what amounts to giant bus station for 2.5 billion dollars that is also cracking apart after just opening. Another 10 plus years down the drain.
4) the millennial luxury towers are 14 inches off center because the foundation is built on unstable ground, etc
This all within the last fews years. Not very inspiring when we start talking about gnd.
Most of this is due to politicians and financiers making decisions rather than engineers!
a) PG&E isn’t going to get away with their fake bankruptcy maneuver this time! PG&E will be broken up into about 12 Public Utility districts like SMUD. Join in when the ballot initiative to use eminent domain to take over PG&E goes on the ballot. It will be harder for PG&E to spend $10 million to bribe the State Legislature (like last year) now that they are in bankruptcy.
b) The Bay Bridge fiasco was due to Governor Moonbeam wanting a “pretty” bridge rather than using the design of Berkeley structures professor Abelhassen(?).
c&d) Are just financial people overriding engineers. Pat Brown’s administration is responsible for all the shortcuts that have lead to problems at Oroville dam.
Didn’t the Chinese build the bridge parts and ship them over?? Maybe we should be getting the Chinese to do it. They can build nuclear of 1/4 the cost using the latest Westinghouse design and high speed rail as well. They are going all in on electric cars. The Chinese helped build our first transcontinental rail road. It might be appropriate for them to build a transcontinental high speed rail as well…..although the energy requirement for high speed rail is quite substantial.
Yes. I believe California had a law saying that any public works projects had to be sourced domestically. But there were no domestic suppliers so it took them 6 months to change the law so they could source it from Asia.
I like the irony of having the Chinese build the second, transcontinental railroad.
Sure. Let the Chinese do it. Let them replace they built so it can fall down all over again. So they can replace it again for it to fall down again.
Get the Chinese to build nuclear at 1/4 the cost so it can break open and spread the core all over everwhere. Let them build the high speed rail and lets see how long it lasts and how long before serial accidents begin to set in.
The Chinese who helped build our transcon railroad were laborers acting under American direction using American quality rail and ties built to American specifications. That was rather different than letting China-as-such do it today.
If we let China-as-such do it today, we will get a melamine lead paint high-speed railway. Which would be just fine with the International Free Trade Conspiracy.
Yes. Agreed. The engineers are not at fault and politicians and financiers (can we rally separate these people out?) are part of the blame.
I think what I am trying to say though, at a higher level, is that any project that is reasonably complex in our society, whose implementation requires coordination and clear communication across different organizations, is will not be successful.
This is a symptom of a dysfunctional society where nobody seems to be suffer any real consequences for failures.
Note that the first bay bridge was built during the first New Deal in the 1930’s. It took two years using slide rules, etc. there were no cad cam machines and software.
So back to my original point; the Green New Deal will be successful only to the degree to which spending money is the main part of the green project. If any project is reasonably complex to make it successful, it is likely to fail and/or take decades to complete.
That is too pessimistic.
A project that will make CA 100% renewable (maybe the whole west) is in the works offshore. Floating offshore wind turbines with underwater transmission will happen off of Eureka and Morro Bay. They will be a couple thousand turbines of 12MW each with a 45% CF. The current generation of 6MW in Scotland was in Links about a couple years ago.
The 400MW underwater transmission line from Pittsburg, CA to SF, was completed successfully about 10 years ago.
Thanks for the link/message—Yes. Maybe too pessimistic..
Note though that this wind farm was not built in the u.s. and is managed, sourced, and coordinated across multiple countries in Europe. I wonder how this is going to implemented in Morro Bay. Would we just pay the same European manufacturers and consultants? Can we have that stuff shipped to the u.s.? Who is going to manage the project? Are there not going to u.s. politicians and financiers and consultants involved in the morro bay project? I very much hope it goes well in Morro bay.
Even if I am too pessimistic, I am not saying we shouldn’t at least try, since there is not really an alternative, given the gravity of the situation. Or maybe just relocate to another country(?)
Viva la Paz..
Isn’t the fact it was sourced from elsewhere, part of the idea for the green new deal.
Look at the old infrastructure in the detroit michigan area. The city size foundries,rail supply systems,acres of plant spaces all rusting away. Think of all the lost engineering knowledge base they have lost since the heyday of the auto industry in this country. The housing stock is going to shambles.These are opportunities for revitalization, and making energy efficiency a model. Keeping sustainability at the forefront.
Look at the expertise lost in the south, where the textile industry was parceled away with the trade deals that killed the american experience. The furniture industry, also is an area where people who knew what they were doing, are now told…. maybe walmart is hiring..
Part of the plan, would be to renew the economy.
One way to do that is to renew areas of disinvestment, and make them vital again. We have resources, that wall street thinks are liabilities.
In so doing a green new deal, would renew the USA’s standing as a place where things are made well, and function for the long haul. After all green growth means making stuff that will last.
“Isn’t the fact it was sourced from elsewhere, part of the idea for the green new deal”
Agreed. And this is the reason that any reasonably complex project will not be successful. (See my other post) we don’t really have the social institutions required to make it happen anymore.
Your description of Detroit is a great physical metaphor for
the current state of those institutions. They are pretty much gone. That’s just based on my observations. I don’t see a lot evidence we can pull it off in time.
I love this blog, I always learn so much here — in equal measure from the commentariat. I tweeted this post, and linked it. Wish you had a Twitter link icon.
I don’t know how Twitter works. But if NaCap had a Twitter link icon, doesn’t that mean that NaCap would be hooked up to Twitter? And wouldn’t that make NaCap vulnerable to swarming by millions of twitterites and twitterbots?
If so, better to not have a Twitter link icon, I should think.
In response to the Trump administration’s hyper-renewal of all things fossil-fueled coupled with a reversal/dismantling of even weak climate policies, the GND is refreshing as a resolution. If nothing else, the GND is relatively unique for matching ever-worsening scientific findings with the requisite set of policies. GND’s preamble citing current evidence clarifies that the only reasonable courses of action before us are those paths premised on a dramatic departure from business as usual.
It is a welcomed wake-up call for too many of the political cognescenti who think of 2020 as a time for repairing damaged/inadequate policies. And to that degree AOC appears too generous by considering contemporary failures as potentially having a place at the table (e.g., market mechanisms such as cap-and-trade, aka pollution trading).
The GND resolution presents not simply an opportunity for re-shaping the political narratives of 2020; hopefully it will stimulate actions by cities, regions but especially states to begin delineating more detailed and robust programs. There are already a wealth of demonstration projects ripe for spreading across the states. These shovel-ready projects, however alluring as a foundation, lack an essential ingredient: taking on the largest corporate emitters, i.e., first and most important, the fossil fuel interests. Asking everyone to simply do their part overlooks our political history: the climate crises of our time are largely fossil-fueled ones. As a long-time environmental policy advisor to the California Legislature (now retired), the most important political obstacle to achieving even more ambitious climate change policies in recent decades has been and remains the petroleum and allied industries.
Among the most important political challenges confronting Americans in coming years is to devise a political campaign capable of over-coming entrenched corporate interests whose shared interests with the suppression of democracy and maintaining business as usual for fossil fueled crises suggests that the worst fears of scientists may come to pass before the end of this century.
The “green new deal” made simple.
We simply MUST reduce the standard of living of the average person in order to reduce greenhouse gases and save the planet. The average person simply MUST give up: meat, alcohol, air conditioning, cars, air travel, hot showers, swimming pools, central heating, a private bedroom, etc.
We simple MUST grow the population and have more people and houses and electrical generating capacity and chemical fertilizer and anyone saying that increasing net CO2 production is bad thing is a racist and a fascist and Literally Hitler.
If left themselves, the population of Canada would have bene stable at about 25 million. We simply MUST (at least) quadruple the population of Canada to 100 million and more. If the Canadians would only cut their per-capita greenhouse gas emissions by 50% (which is unprecedented for an established industrial economy), then by quadrupling the population, net greenhouse gases will only double, which is less than quadrupling, which will clearly save the planet. And anyhow, if Canadians reduce per-capita greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, and their population is forced to quadruple, and net emissions double, the problem is entirely that the Canadians had not decreased their per-capita emissions by 1/8. Or maybe not. But it will make the rich a whole lot of money, so it’s all good.
Where is the /s ?? or is this a Kock brothers rant?
i would guess the /s was unnecessary?
and, yes, we will figure out this conundrum, just in the nick of time, due to human ingenuity. and progress, never forget that. once the koch bros. funded asteroid mining operation is up and running, limits on resources will be a thing of the past!
“Build energy-efficient, distributed smart grids and ensure affordable access to electricity”
Um… that’s not “smart” as in 5G, is it? Because if it is, then we have to go through this GND with a fine toothed comb and pull all the astroturf Agenda 21 bs from it.
“Who really cares whether his 5G-connected refrigerator keeps track of the food items inside it and orders new items when the supply dwindles? Who has to have a 5G driverless car that takes him to work? Who must have a 5G stove that senses what is being cooked and sets the temperature for four minutes? Who lives and who dies if a washing machine doesn’t measure how much soap is stored inside and doesn’t order new soap? Who is demanding a hundred devices in his home that spy on him and record his actions?
With 5G, the ultimate goal is: every device in every home that uses energy will be “its own computer,” and the planetary grid will connect ALL these devices to a monitoring and regulating Energy Authority.”
Amazon’s Super Bowl ad alluded to this agenda in a humorous but revealing way.
Terrific last paragraph about the “deal”, and great post.!
Yes. Climate and Justice are intrinsic. And as the amazingly astute AOC said, all the climate solutions will involve making whole the displaced people. Except I really don’t think it is going to make whole all the displaced financiers and rentiers who are living off financialism right now. Those guys screeching about pay go, and “oh the costs”. Those people are all in some way vested and vetted in this financialized world and they will not profit by all their old habits. They’ll have to learn new tricks. Tsk tsk.
“tsk tsk,” :-) I only wish that would sum up what will happen to them: a sorry bunch worth a crocodile tear or two (but not three). AOC IS amazing, incredible!
Nice summary piece. In my view the most important part of this effort is knowing the answer to the question ‘How do we pay for it?’ Modern Monetary Theory knows how the bills get paid. The first university level textbook of MMT infused macroeconomics is coming out in March. Not a moment too soon.
I’ve spent some time talking through MMT with my college aged son and my brother who is a few years younger than me, two different generations. This is going to be a challenge for the larger populace to grasp, and in my extremely limited experience, there is great danger is rationalizing deficit spending without emphasizing how taxes are used as a tool to accomplish the goals.
I’m still not sure my son gets it. The lightbulbs went off with my brother after about 30 minutes of discussion using some real life examples. People intuitively worry about inflation, and they should. Massive deficit spending in the wrong sectors can most definitely lead to inflation in categories that could be crippling to an ordinary family. The taxes conversation needs to be around providing incentives or penalities for the desired outcomes.
Taxing fossil fuel companies, big agro and pharma have to be utilized to wind down the parts of those businesses that are destructive. M4A needs to be implemented to provide worker mobility across industry sectors that are going to have to change rapidly. That doesn’t mean the government should completely deficit spend their way to it, having employers contribute much like FICA is a reasonable adjustment. M4A could actually save the economy trillions if done right, billions if done just a little better than today.
If universal basic income is tied to a jobs program, then we are utilizing idle resources or at least putting them to better use. If it is free money to every American, we are going to have inflation and it may be in areas that are contrary to GND goals.
When you have this kind of conversation, then people start to rationalize deficit spending as necessary to lay initial investment foundations, or pay for needed reforms. When you then juxtapose “printing money” to hand to banks to run up the stock market and the price of financial instruments worldwide and where has that gotten us, the lightbulbs start to go off.
It’s good to hear there is a textbook coming out on MMT because I can see first hand the uni’s are not teaching it and the kids are not getting it without some in depth guidance. It is an extremely important concept to overcome the dollar in dollar out fallacy the congresscritters espouse. But I agree with you. We still gotta pay for it and the ability to tax effectively is just as important as the ability to deficit spend.
Re Job Guarantees and national and world goals and such, Richard Murphy had a very cool line:
Them: “How do we pay for that?”
RM: “We work for it.”
It takes some thinking to come across, IMHO, but it’s short enough to stick in the mind, and maybe get thought about. I can hope.
Just throwing this Resilience.org article into the mix for discussion.
The tone is generally positive and excited, but here are two things criticized:
1) No discussion of urban land use and the effects of federal law on same–
2) general criticism that proposal is too top-down–
The Green Party version, which i posted below, is highly localized. Only the Feds can print money or regulate national industries, though.
Because I didn’t get the mobilization as such, I didn’t quote this part of the Resolution:
I don’t see how you can address housing other than locally, because only the locals know the housing stock (correct? I can’t imagine the private equity dudes buying up rental properties really know the properties).
Certainly this is amenable to a non-top down interpretation (though I’m not sure about “front-line communities.” One could argue that given the scale of the issue, even wealthy suburbs are on the front line. Even if they don’t know it yet.
NOTE * Not sure about “led by.” There seems to be a concept in the identitarian world that those most traumatized by a process should be the ones to fix it. Certainly the landfill opponents I knew that was the case; they made themselves subject matter experts in pure self-defense. I’m not sure this is always true, though.
“Democratic and participatory processes”–
Thanks for that. I think those are important for three reasons:
1) As you note, local knowledge will be required to adequately address many issues, like housing rehab, runoff reduction, food resilience.
2) Everybody is going to be required to make what seem like sacrifices. Democratic participation in making real choices will increase the buy-in and reduce resentment and cynicism.
3) Helping to create neighborhood assemblies/councils would be a great way of furthering the goal of counteracting systemic injustices by creating parallel power structures. Of course, there’s likely to be a lot of pushback against that even though Pat Moynihan won’t be around to attack it the way he did the Community Action Program in the War on Poverty.
What we need to be doing in additional to supporting the GND at the federal level is working hard to create some of those local assemblies/councils or their precursors now so that they can be part of the discussion when the GND is actually moving through the later stages of the legislative process.
On a tangent here… but as a former private equity investor in real estate and current employee of a property owner/operator, I can confirm with certainty that private equity guys don’t really know the physical nature of the properties, even when you’re talking about trophy real estate, let alone single-family homes bought in bulk.
Rel also knowing the housing stock. About 15 years ago, we had a state initiative where they came in and installed insulation, caulked windows, etc, to make homes “energy efficient.” People got VERY sick due to sick building syndrome. The response of the government was to badmouth poor people for not being grateful that the heating bills went down. I will never trust the government near my home, especially not some arrogant hectoring people from NYC who don’t know what cold even is.
> I quote at such length because it’s very satisfying to see these points embodied in legislation
“I quote at such length because it’s very satisfying to see these points embodied in legislation”
I fervently desire AOC & Sen Markey great sucess, but with the oil monkeys
always screaming “GIMME – GIMME” it’ll never happen!
GND advocates cite the industrial mobilization of WWII and the NASA lunar landing program as examples of accomplishing phenomenally enormous tasks in abbreviated time. But this was before the regulatory state had developed.
How many years will be devoted to writing the environmental impact statements (required by NEPA, CAA, CWA, DOT Act, NHPA, etc.) for each and every GND project or “investment” and how much time will be required to write and administer the EEO, Affirmative Action, diversity, minority and female business procurement, and “environmental justice” regulations that the regulatory state requires of every government program??
Lambert–Thank you so much for this fine summary and analysis. As you note, the GND IS a “deal”…and generally speaking a pretty fair one at that. I have a couple of reflections on some points made in Comments:
I am following MMT and it’s clear we CAN afford this, as it’s all “investment” one way or the other. I DO share concerns voiced by CCZ above, that even if we can afford the price, we shouldn’t overpay. When compared to infrastructure built elsewhere in the world, ours costs far more, and I cannot think of a good reason why that needs to be the case.
Second, and related as an administrative matter, I think it’s high time to revisit Nixon’s Revenue Sharing program, which recognized that the IRS is clearly the best at taxing, State, County, and municipalities are likely most effective. That program was highly popular with both Democratic and Republican support, and properly constructed, could push the federal processes described by CCZ to the state and local level simply by the Feds giving those governments free money to use for appropriate purposes, under state and local administration procedures. I did a quick search, and there’s a couple of NYT articles about the birth and death of Revenue Sharing, a 2006 Heritage Foundation article about why Reagan was right to kill it (tl/dr, States are flush, the Feds have a deficit…) and a Roosevelt Institute report from 2011 saying, bring revenue sharing back! The implementation steps to mitigate climate change are staggering, but also highly localized, so I’m thinking this topic needs to be added to the discussion.
> How many years will be devoted to writing the environmental impact statements (required by NEPA, CAA, CWA, DOT Act, NHPA, etc.) for each and every GND project or “investment” and how much time will be required to write and administer the EEO, Affirmative Action, diversity, minority and female business procurement, and “environmental justice” regulations that the regulatory state requires of every government program??
Yes, perhaps liberalism is a problem!
Thank you Lambert. This was uplifting. I’ll wait for the post on “costs” to give my 2 cents on that stuff.
Oh my goodness, something to believe in!
lots of graphs, charts, policy from https://twitter.com/ramez, Singularity University
Hey, it’s Friday night. How about a twitter thread of unpopular opinions about climate policy generally, and the #GreenNewDeal specifically. Ready? Here we go. 1/
The original: https://www.jill2016.com/greennewdeal.
(Behind covering: as Yves has pointed out, it has sources. Richard Heinberg’s Post-Carbon Institute, for one, and apparently a UN program. But Jill introduced the idea to US politics.)
From the intoduction, the bullet points:
Invest in sustainable businesses including cooperatives and non-profits by providing grants and loans with an emphasis on small, locally-based companies that keep the wealth created by local labor circulating in the community rather than being drained off to enrich absentee investors.
Move to 100% clean energy by 2030. Invest in clean energy technologies that are ready to go now. Redirect research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal energy. We will invest in research in sustainable, nontoxic materials and closed-loop cycles that eliminate waste and pollution, as well as organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.
Create a Commission for Economic Democracy to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory. We will strengthen democracy via participatory budgeting and institutions that encourage local initiative and democratic decision-making.
Establish a Renewable Energy Administration on the scale of FDR’s hugely successful Rural Electrification Administration, launched in 1935, that brought electrical power to rural America, 95 per cent of which had no power. Emulated by many other countries, this initiative provided technical support, financing, and coordination to more than 900 municipal cooperatives, many of which still exist. The Green New Deal would update this model with eco-friendly energy sources.
End unemployment in America once and for all by guaranteeing a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work. A Full Employment Program will create up to 20 million jobs, both directly and indirectly, by implementing a nationally-funded, locally-controlled, direct employment initiative replacing unemployment offices with local employment offices. The government will be the employer of last resort, offering jobs meeting community-identified needs in the public and non-profit sectors to take up any slack in private for-profit sector employment. These will include jobs in sustainable energy and energy efficiency retrofitting, mass transit and “complete streets” that promote safe bike and pedestrian traffic, regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture, clean manufacturing, infrastructure, and public services (education, youth programs, child care, senior care, etc). Communities will use a process of broad stakeholder input and democratic decision making to fairly design and implement these programs. ”
Point 5 is a Jobs Guarantee program.
It addresses paying for it – a clip:
“Paying for the Green New Deal
We will need revenues between $700 billion to $1 trillion annually for the Green New Deal. $400 billion will be for the public jobs programs. Estimates for the transition to 100% clean energy start at $200 billion a year.
Economists predict that we can build a 100 percent renewable energy system at costs comparable to or less than what we would have to spend to continue our reliance on dirty energy. The International Energy Agency estimates that limiting warming to 2° C would require an additional investment of about 1 percent of global GDP per year, which would be $170 billion a year for the US . The former chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made similar estimates.
Jacobson estimates that the total capital cost to go to 100% renewable energy in the US would be $13.4 trillion . Much of those capital costs could be covered by diverting existing investments in nonrenewable energy. America’s coal and nuclear power stations are old and many are dilapidated. In order to keep the lights on in the United States, a new energy system will need to be constructed. Large corporations are walking away from existing power stations, closing them and laying off the workers. …”
This is long, so I’ll address the fly in the ointment – already brought up in other comments – in a further post.
MMT and the fly in the ointment:
We are already resource-limited. Stocks are declining all over the world. It isn’t just lithium or copper, or the ability to harmlessly absorb CO2.
This is going to be ugly. It puts economics back to the “dismal science,” a zero-sum game, and makes “how will you pay for it” an all too valid question, in the form of “where will you get the stuff?” Of course, one answer, and something for people to do, is all the junk lying around. I just saw a film about the climate crisis, called “The HUman Element” (as in Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and…), which visited an old coal-mining area in the Appalachians and showed great piles of discarded metal equipment. Not much lithium there, though.
Rhetorically, at least, “how do you pay for it?” is easy: cut the military, drastically. Stop the wars, bring the soldiers home, and find something USEFUL for them to do (and places for them to live, which may be a challenge). Indeed, war is one of the worst CO2 emitters and a money and resource hog. But even if we do that, we’ll still be up against the ultimate challenge: reducing standard of consumption. Fortunately, and still being glib, consumption and quality of life are not the same thing. That’s why there’s been a campaign to substitute quality of LIFE for GDP, for instance.
Still, this challenge goes well beyond the WWII comparison. We will need to remodel the way we live.
UPDATE AOC on the FAQ (shouldn’t have quoted something on the NPR site, but the Joint Committee proposal had legislative language plus a FAQ, so I assumed the same structure was in play). My bad: