The Green New Deal as an Anti-Neoliberal Program

Yves here. I hate to sound like a broken record, but as much as the Green New Deal is an appealing idea, its time was thirty or forty years ago. We need much more radical solutions that emphasize prohibitions and/or severe limits on lots of carbon-using activities. Unfortunately, most of them are in commerce, and the big boys are well positioned to obstruct needed changes.

That isn’t to say Green New Deal approaches don’t have merit and should not be part of an effective response, but we already are well on the way to a catastrophic level of climate change, as agricultural production shortfalls and rising hunger attest.

By Robert Pollin, a professor of economics and director of the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst. Originally published at Triple Crisis

Second in a series of posts on neoliberalism and what might come next, organized to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Dollars & Sense, which publishes Triple Crisis. 

In 2007, Nicholas Stern, the prominent mainstream British economist and former chief economist at the World Bank, wrote that “Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen.” Stern’s assessment was extreme, but not hyperbolic. This is for the simple reason that, if we take climate science at all seriously, we cannot avoid the conclusion that we are courting ecological disaster by not stabilizing the climate.

Neoliberalism is a driving force causing the climate crisis. This is because neoliberalism is a variant of classical liberalism, and classical liberalism builds from the idea that everyone should be granted maximum freedom to pursue their self-interest within capitalist market settings.

But neoliberalism also diverges substantially from classical liberalism: What really occurs in practice under neoliberalism is that governments allow giant corporations to freely pursue profit opportunities to the maximum extent, and governments even intervene on corporations’ behalf when their profits might be threatened. How the oil companies reacted to clear evidence of climate change represents a dramatic case study of neoliberalism in practice. In 1982, researchers working at the then Exxon Corporation (now Exxon Mobil) estimated that by about 2060, burning oil, coal, and natural gas to produce energy would elevate the planet’s average temperatures by about 2° Celsius. This, in turn, would generate exactly the types of massive climate disruptions that we have increasingly experienced since the 1980s—i.e., heat extremes, heavy precipitation, droughts, rising sea levels, and biodiversity losses, with corresponding impacts on health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, and human security. In 1988, researchers at the Shell Corporation reached similar conclusions. We now know what Exxon and Shell did with this information: They buried it. They did so for the obvious reason that, if the information were then known, it might have threatened their prospects for receiving massive profits from producing and selling oil.

There is no minimizing the fact that what Exxon and Shell did was immoral. But it is equally clear that both companies behaved exactly according to the precepts of neoliberalism—i.e., they acted to protect their profits. They also continued from the 1980s onward to behave according to the precepts of neoliberalism in extracting the largest possible subsidies that they could get from any and all governments throughout the world. Amid all of this, neither company has faced any government sanctions for their behavior. Quite the contrary, they have continued to earn huge profits and receive hefty government subsidies. Defeating neoliberalism is clearly a political project of overwhelming significance. But we can’t expect to defeat neoliberalism unless we have a viable alternative in place. This is where the idea of the Green New Deal becomes central.

The Green New Deal has gained tremendous traction as an organizing framework over the past couple of years. This alone is a major achievement. But it is still imperative that we transform this big idea into a viable program. In my view, putting meat on the bones of the Green New Deal starts with a single simple idea: We have to absolutely stop burning oil, coal, and natural gas to produce energy within the next 30 years at most; and we have to do this in a way that also supports increasing living standards and expanding opportunities for working people and the poor throughout the world.

This version of a Green New Deal program is, in fact, entirely realistic in terms of its purely economic and technical features. Clean renewable energy sources—including solar, wind, geothermal, and to a lesser extent small-scale hydro and low-emissions bioenergy—are already either at cost parity with fossil fuels and nuclear or they are cheaper. In addition, the single easiest and cheapest way to lower emissions is to raise energy efficiency standards through, among other measures, retrofitting existing buildings, making new buildings operate as net zero energy consumers, and replacing gas-guzzling automobiles with expanding public transportation and electric cars. Energy efficiency measures, by definition, will save people money—for example, your home electricity bills could realistically be cut in half without having to reduce the amount that you light, heat, or cool your house. So the Green New Deal will not cost consumers anything over time, as long as we solve the problem of funding Green New Deal investments through the cost savings we gain by raising efficiency standards and producing cheap renewable energy.

Through our work at the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst, my coworkers and I have estimated that building a 100% clean energy system will require about 2.5% of global GDP per year for roughly the next 30 years. Yes, that’s a lot of money in dollar terms (roughly $2 trillion in 2021 and rising thereafter), but it does mean that 97.5% of global economic activity can still be devoted to things other than investments in clean energy.

In addition, these clean-energy investments will be a major source of job creation, in all regions of the globe. The critical factor is that clean-energy investments will create a lot more jobs than maintaining the existing dirty-energy infrastructure—in the range of two to four times more jobs per dollar of spending in all countries that we have studied, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, and the United States.

Of course, jobs that are tied to the fossil fuel industry will be eliminated. The affected workers and their communities must be supported through generous “just transition” measures, including guaranteeing workers’ pensions, moving people into new jobs without losing incomes, and investing in impacted communities. Land reclamation is just one such investment opportunity, including cleaning up abandoned coal mines and converting the residual coal ash into useful products, like paper.

In short, the Green New Deal offers a viable egalitarian and ecologically sane alternative to the reign of neoliberalism. However, to defeat neoliberalism will require unprecedented political organizing and breakthroughs along many fronts. This is obviously a daunting challenge. But as probably the most forceful proponent of neoliberalism, Margaret Thatcher, once famously declared, “There is no alternative.”

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    I think the great value of the GND is as a ‘hook’ to change the conversation about government intervention in the economy and pulling the Overton Window decisively in left and Green direction. But obviously its easier to talk about renewable energy or EV airliners than to talk about dramatically reducing energy use.

    A key problem I think is not that sharp reductions of energy use challenges capitalism – the problem is that the capitalists who would benefit don’t necessarily exist yet or are not organised to counter the existing structures that benefit from cheap fossil fuels. For example, sharply reducing air travel does not somehow mean people won’t take vacations. It will mean they will vacation more locally and take a smaller number of long vacations rather than regular short ones. I’m old enough to remember when even a short haul flight was expensive enough to be something even fairly well off people did maybe just once a year, and they made the most of it, having long driving holidays in France or Spain. Now people hop over to Prague or Lisbon for weekends away several times a year and think nothing of a long haul weeks break in Thailand or Bali.

    A friend of mine owns holiday cottages in the north of England – most of his customers are English. He hopes to benefit significantly from reducing airline use (and Brexit as it happens, as the weaker Sterling goes, the more custom he gets). But businesspeople like him are diffused and not organised compared to airlines or big travel companies or any number of other businesses that benefit from cheap air travel.

    The difficulty is in persuading people that policies that reduce travel don’t reduce your options or threaten jobs – they just create different options (although it won’t be easy to persuade Irish/British to take a winter break hillwalking in the rain instead of lying on a Tenerife beach). People making money from Airbnb rentals in popular cities would lose out, but people renting holiday cottages within an hour or twos drive of any city will do very well. Its changing the way money is spent, not reducing the amount of people have. If the GND is to succeed, then it will have to find some way of communicating this message.

    1. DJG

      Plutonium Kun: Your comment here, Yves Smith’s headnote, and the article itself make for some interesting contrasts. Some of them relate to a theme that you have elaborated in your comments for several months–the difference between a world power like the U S of A and how it acts and a small country like Eire. Your comment indicates that Eire can adapt quickly to climate change–and that people understand the importance of reducing energy consumption, being only a generation or two away from poverty. Here in the U S of A, what I see is self-inflicted exceptionalism.

      What Yves Smith is pointing out up top is that the proposals in the article likely will be undermined by a top 5 percent of the population that already overuses energy (the five bedroom house with five bathrooms–not a rarity here) and that directs the economy (being management) toward such wastefulness. This class is unlikely to share the sacrifice, which then sours the rest of the populace on making sacrifices. Also, this managerial class tends to subscribe to the myth that the U.S. is required by geography to expend enormous amounts of energy. Hence the stress on flying. Hence the decline of trains, especially the old intercity lines, which hardly exist anymore. Chicago’s South Shore Railroad may be the last. In fact, the managerial class and politicians of both parties are still trying to kill off passenger railroad in the U S of A, even as China, which is almost as large, builds a world-class network. And the article mentions more public transportation–as if the managerial class will deign to take the bus (hence, one of the causes of the rise of Uber).

      So you have a malfunctioning Empire and its sense of entitlement to, well, more or less literally, burn through money and resources.

      A further irony–when you describe vacations–is that Americans get so little vacation and are so strapped for cash that very few do much wandering at all. It is only a small number from a distinct class who fly from NYC to Paris for the weekend. Long vacations of three weeks or more are reserved for the semiretiretired or retired (with resources).

      By far the biggest issue, which the article doesn’t address, is that Americans have been propaganized by neoliberalism to think that government doesn’t function and shouldn’t function. We see these repeated attempts to skim and loot and privatize the post office, for instance. So long as Americans believe that somehow they can’t govern themselves, can’t have a modern regulatory state, and shouldn’t govern themselves competently (a legacy of Reaganism), the U S of A will continue toward ruin.

      Those in the five bedroom houses believe that they won’t be affected. And so far they haven’t.

      Eire has the advantage of watching the decline and fall of that other empire just across the Irish Sea. The U S o f A is a place where people believe that no other nation is like this–so no lessons are learned from history or even from such omens as Hurricane Sandy.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        To put a sharper point on this, because the US has a large population, the 1% represents a large absolute number of people (3 million or so) who completely dominate public discourse and so give the impression of representing a much higher percentage of the population than they do. Virtually every public voice we hear – right, center, or “left,” – is a 1%er. A very small number of them are class traitors but most aren’t and very many of them can claim to be “good Dems” via blissful ignorance. I have relatives who are 1%ers and they are MSNBC-level outraged about Trump. Also big fans of Bloomberg.

        The point is, virtually none of them has internalized the threat of climate change to the extent of even considering changes to their own lifestyle. And really the same holds for the 2-10%ers. My part of town is full of the latter and not only vacations – you should see the lineup of SUVs dropping kids off at school, most of whom live within walking distance.

        I think the liberal (in the US sense) ethos runs deep in US politics – that politics is about throwing a few bones to the unfortunates while the rest of us operate as normal within the system. As anyone who has contact with people outside the top 10% knows, the system itself is deeply broken. Which is probably why those dominating the public discourse work so hard to keep this info out of it.

        I’m increasingly of the view that we are only going to stop with the fossil fuels because we have burned them all up. The future is still open – maybe we are in that period of extreme darkness before the dawn – but I don’t see any real movement developing that could challenge much less change this trajectory. Compared to stopping with the fossil fuels, M4A is a walk in the park.

      2. Joe Well

        Bizarre that you say that intercity lines don’t exist anymore as at his moment I am on an Amtrak train from NYC to Boston. But in reality, buses offer a more realistic way of scaling up intercity travel since we need the rails for freight.

        1. Jokerstein

          Relative to most of the US, NYC to Boston is not (really) “intercity”. It’s a shorter journey than from Spokane to Seattle.

      3. DavidH

        Cuba’s “special period” should be a good example. People who went through it should be interviewed on a regular basis. The spirit of a nation has to do with “national security” as much as anything. We need folks in jobs to help the marginalized, the excons (and convicts BTW), the folks in nursing homes and in hospitals (more staff). The mandate should be on these things. IMO forget even bulldozing the 100 story buildings. Is that the first priority for Raqqa, Aleppo, Homs, or Damascus? Look, my grandmother had a job dispensing ration tickets during the Great Depression

    2. Joe Well

      The European love of international leisure travel is amazing for me, a North American. Many people believe that spending a month partying in a country where you don’t speak the language or understand anything at all is enriching in a way that doing the same thing at home isn’t.

      In the Americas, car culture and business travel will be bigger obstacles. A lot of false virtue attached to those, though of course they exist in Europe as well.

  2. John

    The sunk cost fallacy is the reason that the GND will not be accepted until there is major catastrophe. In the wiki on sunk cost, the euro supersonic plane, the Concorde is discussed as an example. It took the crash on the Paris runway and loss of richie rich lives to finally shut the boondoggle down. The delusion of the rational actor in the marketplace is another factor.
    We are getting to the major catastrophe stage…but it will be too late due to “lag time in biological systems” factor.
    Market capitalism can not address this existential problem.

    1. Synoia

      Concorde built the infrastructure for Airbus. The plane was a commercial failure, but the infrastructure created is very successful.

      The French had a plan. The English only a short term view (Thatcher’s myopia).

      1. Joe Well

        Seen another way, one country’s government had an industrial policy and the other country’s government wanted to financialize everything and destroy industry and its pesky labor unions.

  3. TG

    I hate to sound like a podcast set to auto-repeat, but the “Green New Deal” is the next phase of Neoliberalism.

    For the last century and counting, the rich have pushed and persuaded and lied and obfuscated and are I think primarily responsible for the massive increases in population. If the world’s population had been allowed to stabilize at 2 or 3 billion, we would have problems, to be sure, but they would be so much more manageable than today it’s laughable.

    But no, we need to force in ever more people – and the “green new deal” solution is to eliminate every luxury and pleasure for the working class, to make us live like battery hens while they elite live in golden skyscrapers a kilometer high. Take something in principle decent – live in harmony with nature and save the planet – and twist it into making people love their descent into a Dickensian nightmare. If that’s not neoliberalism, I don’t know what is.

    1. The Historian

      If wishes were fishes…..

      It does no good to wish that there were fewer people. Those people are here – they aren’t going away – and they have every right to be here the same as you and I. AND they have the right to want the same things we want for ourselves. And that is the problem: It’s what we in the rich countries want for ourselves that we are willing to get for ourselves off the backs of people we think shouldn’t want or have what we have.

      The problem with the Green New Deal is that it is NOT eliminating every luxury and pleasure – if your definition of pleasure means what you can buy – for anyone. It is only a way to exchange one energy form for another. But every energy form has its costs – there is and will never be cheap energy unless you pass on the costs to someone else. Sorry, but the only way out of this mess is to stop using so much energy and stop funding our pleasures at someone else’s expense.

      1. jrs

        but still noone should reproduce, that’s one pleasure they shouldn’t have. Sex sure – but only after sterilization.

      1. JD

        Yes, it is, but it’s an open question whether that attempt at re-framing will actually work; obviously it hasn’t worked on the dude you’re replying to. There’s lots of reasons to think that it won’t.

        The US right has been using this “elite environmentalists vs. ordinary people” rhetoric for a couple generations now, and it’s worked, and they’re not going to stop punching that button. The STAKES of the debate have shifted from “saving the spotted owl” to “will humanity still exist”, but unfortunately the TERMS of the debate have not yet shifted accordingly.

        The GND is, IMHO, a necessary route out of this dilemma, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll win. It would be the kind of transformative policy action that I’ve certainly never seen in my lifetime, and to get people with a healthy sense of skepticism to buy in is a huge ask.

        1. jrs

          Supposedly in a NYT poll stopping the Green New Deal (that term specifically) was pretty high on Republicans priorities. Contemplate that, stopping policies intended to deal with climate catastrophe and provide jobs is top priority. Now passing a GND was not high *enough* on Dems priorities IMO (every election is a climate election), but that’s not comparable.

          So yea terms of the debate and the right. Or maybe we just move forward without them, the young increasingly care if they have a future regardless of what some boomer Republicans and their Dem counterparts (not as bad of course but still) think and whether or not they want to condemn the young to the collapse of civilization and human extinction because their top priority is not just being indifferent to, but stopping any move toward even attempting to address it.

          1. JD

            Oh yeah, seeing how black-pilled Republicans are on this stuff is terrifying. But to do anything, you have to convince enough people to win elections.

            I see lots of people in these comments saying that basically the GND won’t work on technical grounds and I don’t know, maybe that’s true, I don’t work on this kind of stuff so I can’t evaluate that. But if then the only alternative is some sort of energy austerity (which I think is what Yves is suggesting in the article lead-in)… I’m just like, how on earth do you expect people to go along with that (i.e. win elections)? Unless you’re ready to just chuck democracy overboard and climb into that ethical lifeboat, that is…

  4. Grumpy Engineer

    Robert Pollin says, “my coworkers and I have estimated that building a 100% clean energy system will require about 2.5% of global GDP per year for roughly the next 30 years. Yes, that’s a lot of money in dollar terms (roughly $2 trillion in 2021 and rising thereafter), but it does mean that 97.5% of global economic activity can still be devoted to things other than investments in clean energy.“.

    And yet when I read through his article, I see zero mention of energy storage systems, which will almost certainly be the dominant expense of any renewables-based GND. If his team has made the common mistake of looking at only total GWh (or BTU) delivered and not when it’s delivered, then they’ve low-balled the costs by at least a factor of five.

    [Sigh…] I tire of these “plans” where nobody lists the types and sizes and quantities of equipment that will be deployed. Will $2 trillion/year for 30 years actually get us there, or is this a giant exercise in wishful thinking? It’s hard to know without details.

    1. Adam Eran

      Hey, the coup in lithium-rich Bolivia lets us know that our plutocratic masters have this part of the picture well in hand.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Yes exactly, which is why I think TG above is correct that a Green New Deal will simply become the next phase of neoliberalism. Maybe with a neoconservative war or two thrown in to cull the population a bit.

        The criticism of the neoliberal fossil fuel industry mentions government subsidies and other interference in the “free” market. Well how do you get a large scale project like this off the ground without that same interference, and is that not neoliberalism all over again, just with solar panels instead of oil? If it worked there would be the enormous benefit of not frying the planet, but the plutocrats would still be in charge.

        I don’t think we get any real change until the plebes manage to clear the Hamptons so to speak.

    2. polecat

      Exactly ! Without adequate storager capacity, then what we’re getting is essentially a ‘green new mime’ … with the lowly 80-90%er mokes gettin the raw part of the deal ! And given the possiblity of greater enhanced
      energy storage capacity, who’s to say that EVERYONE but the top elite (including a few lower toadies) won’t STILL screw the plebians, just because they can …

      Look up the manufacture of Greta Thunberg by Corey Morningstar as a primer for Things to Come ! Central Banks/Banksters, PE/Hegde Funders, U.N. and other quasi global enforcement mandators, All Govenment Folkers, etc. etc. will NEVER be for Want – flitting to and fro in their private aluminum tubes of joy, tisk tisking these lower stupids on the ground who should be grateful to grub up on mealworm gruel, who’ll also will be ensconsced in a most excellent privation !

      Sorry .. I’m not buyin what they’re sellin.

  5. Susan the Other

    One good thing about “market capitalism” (our favorite euphemism for government subsidy) is that it can be very fickle. When people are done with something you can stick a fork in it. How many dedicated diehard neoliberals will it take to offset this new rational rejection? Who’s gonna maintain all this crap? Exxon won its case against its own shareholders because nobody had clean hands. And Exxon will still be a much smaller company soon. Everybody is getting sober. It stands to reason that the least offensive alternative will win the future. Because at tis point it is so obviously stupid to invest in and expect shareholder value from unsustainable practices that nobody will do it. Presently the main effort of government is to keep the markets alive because they have virtually ceased to function. Whoever designs new economics, new manpower, that is at least as pleasant as going to the gym or out for a jog will easily dispel old neoliberal fantasies – which never made anybody happy anyway.

  6. amfortas the hippie

    i’m in the road, so on my fone, so don’t have numerous basket of supporting links
    but what i’d like to see more of re gnd is a focus on local sustainable regenerative…. and small!… agriculture, to replace the predatory monopoly/ monopsony of giant corpse ag
    everyone rightly mentions using less energy etc and otherwise living more lightly upon the earth
    well, that’s what we’re doing, both out of necessity as well as preference
    it would be way cool if the entire civilization wasn’t set up explicitly that make this harder
    from land reform to totally undoing the idiotic distribution system, there’s lots of paths that lead thataway

    1. Mike G

      Many good storage options already exist to level out intermittent renewable energy production. For example, gravity storage of water, or a rail line up a hill version of moving solids upwards to store potential kinetic energy is very good at low-mid 80% efficient at storing AND retrieving energy as electricity. Hydro storage is currently the most used of any storage technology.

      But the new 4300F “Sun in a Box”, at much higher temperatures than melted salts, developed at MIT is even better at mid-high 80%, and is not constrained by needing nearby hills. It is so hot it’s white glow can power PVs. But given that heat engine efficiency can be extremely high if the working temperature is much higher than the ambient temperature, this means engine efficiencies can be much higher. This hot tech should be up or down scalable. It is great storage for Concentrated Solar Power.
      Making hydrogen while the sun shines from any renewable source is possible and getting better, i.e. wind, including tethered ~500′ balloon windmills or small gliders at low altitude where winds more consistent and stronger. And, and there are many solid metal halide and other alternatives that avoid expending energy by compressing hydrogen gas or liquefying it.

    2. coboarts

      This is why I state my preferences in terms of relocalization of production for food, basic necessities, etc. I give the gnd the ten foot pole treatment due to… see above. I have a simple mind, so I try to focus on the one thing that I feel can begin the process of crystallization. As I understand it, the core strategy of regional then global governance is the assignment of specific subsets of ‘life’ to different regions in order to destroy any chance of a region being able support itself independent of the control grid. That’s paranoia based on the intent that enslavement is the actual goal.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i drive past 10,000 sheep in the 48 miles to the real grocery store, to buy mutton chops that come from australia(for a pretty penny, too)
        but the regs for slaughter and processing etc are onerous for the small…and even medium…and merely as a bothersome fly to the giants.
        i cannot legally sell an egg, but for “on farm”
        doesn’t matter one bit the happiness of my chickens(it matters), nor the superior quality of my eggs.
        local (shitty) small corporate grocer said i’d have to take tomatoes to the warehouse(350 miles away( and follow the truck back)) in order to sell them there.(“out of my hands”, pointing to the corporate flowchart)
        i can go on and on with tiny slices like this, but they all paint a picture that is invisible to most people.
        barriers to entry abound…we can make stuff, but cannot sell it.

    3. Susan the Other

      Yes. I could not agree more. And I’m thinking not just agriculture and husbandry of the planet, but the benign, decentralized generation of energy. And efficient recycling. And etc.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I drive by a giant scattering of those giant windmills(which i really dig, unlike many of my neighbors(gotta get right up underneath them to hear the “whooosh, whooosh”)), and i remember a guy in (i think) hempstead, texas in the eighties who built his own windmill generator from an airplane prop…big, ugly, godawful thing.
        and then took the local power company to court to be allowed to contribute to the grid.
        google seems ignorant of this story, but i remember reading about it in local papers. dude pretty much invented grid tie in texas.
        i see no reason to limit ourselves to the very large.
        of course,there’s prolly technical reasons that a large grid(ercot, in texas) would be leery of millions of small, locally built wind generators…sine waves or something…but even this assumes largeness and high tech.
        why not have smaller grids…even neighborhood size…
        and i’ve used “toilet paper as a bootstrap commodity/cottage industry” as a thought experiment in a few feestore symposia.
        why does it have to come from 2 giant corps(one of the koch joints(Georgia pacific) and the one with the wizard and stars)?
        we have pile of paper at the recycling place(what are they doing with that now?)
        big pot, a few window screens and maybe some lye(almost a controlled substance, due to methcooking) and sunshine and there you go.
        added moral imperative to support your neighbor.
        wendell berry meets john maynard keynes.
        there’s all kinds of things we need, that don’t have to come from china or american samoa, but for greed, and mistaking the map for the terrain.
        “efficiency” is often anathema, if we give a damn about human beings.
        (ramble, off. had a hogleg upon returning from san antonio and a hotel bed(too soft))

  7. Andrew DeWit

    The 100%RE GND illiteracy on critical raw material requirements is disturbing. Rapid decarbonization is imperative, and hence large hydro and/or nuclear that are core to cases that have exited coal (Canada’s Ontario) or greatly minimized it (Sweden, France, Costa Rica, NZ). Trying to decarbonize with critical material-intensive solar/wind/batteries (esp small scale) quickly leads to material shortages, risking price spikes, geopolitical mayhem not to mention even worse environmental destruction in areas (think non-white people) where extraction takes place. The European Commission has a handy calculator that demonstrates critical material shortages in merely trying to reach its 27% by 2030 target, and they’re less than 7% of global population, with flattening energy demand:

    1. jrs

      There is pretty much no way politically to build nuclear quickly either. There just isn’t. It’s not at all realistic. Those plants don’t come on quickly, they take a long time to get off the ground, and noone wants a reactor in their vicinity either (NIMBY – and a few cases like earthquake zones it probably really is a bad idea ..). And then add the possible risks of increasingly unpredictable weather and storms on those nuclear plants that must be taken into account. It’s not 40 years ago afterall as mentioned.

      1. Andrew DeWit

        Sorry, over here in Asia they build them faster and cheaper than in US, etc. (where older nuclear remains pillar of low-carbon power). There are plenty of risks, to be sure, but the same is true of not using nuke and big hydro.

  8. Rod

    All articles like this are good for analysis, and the ensuing dialogue grist for the mill of thought.
    Imo, the greatest challenge is raising other people’s awareness of the issue to the point of even recognizing–then personalizing–the threat.
    But that’s them–I already know and am acting’on it myself. Along with millions of others today and even more next week.
    I find it helpful to recognize that.

    Extinction Rebellion is working on the notion that a 1.5-3.5% shift in population consciousness is enough to start a dynamic political shift in policies.

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