The Liberal Argument For a Green New Deal
February 7, 2019 8:44 AM   Subscribe

“Candidates and opinion-makers can do this by describing a Green New Deal as a remedy for personal and local issues that people experience every day: air and water pollution and high energy costs in low-income and minority communities. Mass transit inadequacies, congestion, and sprawl in urban and suburban communities. Stagnating economic growth and shrinking union jobs set against dwindling wildlife and agricultural yields in rural communities. The loss of culture and community by encroaching sea levels in coastal towns and aggressive expansion of fossil fuel industries on public and Indigenous lands.” What’s Your Green New Deal? “The fact that the implications are “radical” has led many people to overlook a simple fact: Climate change may be “human-made,” but it is not made by all humans equally, and if some are responsible for knowingly doing damage to others, they must be held legally liable.“ If Property Rights Were Real Climate Destroying Companies Would Be Sued Out Of Existence (Current Affairs)
posted by The Whelk (174 comments total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
 
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey just released their Green New Deal Proposal. Full text here. It's a quite readable 14 pages.

I'm very impressed with it. They're using the oncoming climate catastrophe as an opportunity by putting together a robust program that has a bunch of positive externalities. It avoids the kind of huge negative reaction that recent French legislation had by centering workers and marginalized people, allowing them to participate in efforts to improve our energy infrastructure and making sure the costs of all this aren't thrown onto them.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:11 AM on February 7 [15 favorites]


AOC Just Dropped Her Green New Deal Proposal—Here's What's Inside

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Green New Deal Outline

H. Res._________: Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. [PDF]

Green New Deal FAQ

The Democratic Party Wants to Make Climate Policy Exciting , December
I have come to think of this tension as climate policy’s Boring as Dirt problem: the bad problem. The bad problem recognizes that climate change is an interesting challenge. It is scary and massive and apocalyptic, and its attendant disasters (especially hurricanes, wildfires, and floods) make for good TV. But the policies that will address climate change do not pack the same punch. They are technical and technocratic and quite often dull. At the very least, they will never be as immediate as climate change itself. Floods are powerful, but stormwater management is arcane. Wildfires are ravenous, but electrical-grid upgrades are tedious. Climate change is frightening, but dirt is boring. That’s the bad problem.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:12 AM on February 7 [18 favorites]


I love the "if property rights were real" line. Because so many things would be different, first off, most of the property would be back in the hands of the peoples it was stolen from!

Pollution control is self-defense, and national defense: if your neighbor shoots his gun at you he is threating you and the vaunted "self-defense" that many gun owners salivate over would come into play, you are allowed to "stand your ground" and kill them.

If your neighbor says "but i make a lot of money shooting at you" they have not made themselves innocent. If your neighbor uses poison instead of bullets however, all bets are off!

Green New Deal
two thumbs up and kudos to ocasio-cortez and merkley for getting there first.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 9:36 AM on February 7 [12 favorites]


Look to Louisiana, the restoration economy thrives on suing oil companies. But this is a horrid way to fund government, and oil companies are smart and well funded enough to deter enforce of environmental laws for 40 years or more.

If the federal government would just beef up enforcement of existing CAA, CWA, NEPA, ESA laws, and remove exemptions, they would be hitting the bottom lines of the 100 companies behind climate change, reducing pollution, reducing climate pollution, and creating jobs.

Of course, those 100 companies know full well how to game the system. First, we just kick them out of the government.
posted by eustatic at 9:38 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I'm totally flipping out about this Green New Deal proposal. It is so solid! This is seriously the kind of thing you could build a successful, society-transforming mass movement around. If we could get the Democratic Party to put their full weight behind this, they would dominate elections. This is seriously making me want to go get involved with the Sunrise Movement.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:39 AM on February 7 [16 favorites]




As part and parcel of this transition, the resolution calls for a federal jobs guarantee, a massive infrastructure build-out, building efficiency upgrades and robust investment in public transit, to name just a few of the measures listed. It would ensure a dignified quality of life for workers and communities that rely on coal, oil, and natural gas jobs (“a fair and just transition”), and says that steps toward reaching zero-emissions — such as building new wind turbines — should not impose on indigenous peoples’ land rights or abuse the power of eminent domain. A full plan, the resolution states, will be developed “in transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses.”
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Law is conceived, implemented and enforced by humans. The weak link is the "humans" part...
posted by jim in austin at 10:41 AM on February 7


Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey's document is really something. This isn't "infrastructure week"-- this is "transform the government and the country" level blue-sky thinking (aside from the specific carbon reduction and climate mitigation proposals, it includes a federal jobs guaranty and universal healthcare, among other things)

It doesn't just move the goal posts, it fundamentally changes the goal of what people thought the role of government has been for the past 50 years.

It's fantastic.
posted by gwint at 10:52 AM on February 7 [27 favorites]


Also worth mentioning...

@JMPyper:
Note: Ocasio-Cortez was appointed by Pelosi to Financial Services and Oversight Committees. The climate committee is meaningful, but doesn’t have legislative authority. Today’s #GreenNewDeal unveiling shows AOC can still drive climate policy discussion w/out a climate committee.
posted by gwint at 11:19 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


I love this and it terrifies me. Because we desperately needed the "green" part a couple decades ago, I want the "new deal" part, and I find the combined message of "we can have it all" to be both profoundly inspiring and potentially an enormous step away from addressing climate catastrophe. If we fight greenhouse gas emissions and inequality at the same time, in the same bill, do we have a greater risk of doing neither? As a blueprint for creating a better society and reimagining government, calling for a jobs guarantee, universal health care, an education guarantee, a food guarantee, and an affordable housing guarantee is amazing. As climate policy, I'm worried that the fight over the safety net overshadows the need for urgent action. The premise is that the expanded safety net is necessary to ensure people aren't left behind by the energy changes, which is vital, and it makes sense as a blueprint, but I deeply want to see actual massive action taken on climate right away, and I don't know how we get from the blueprint to that happening, especially if we don't tell the truth that massive social change has costs. The Green New Deal as a generic concept polls really well; removing internal combustion engines from the roads in 10 years, when you're specifically asking people about their car, does not.

@alon_levy:
Two running themes in the document:
1. Massive mobilization, like WW2.
2. No taxes bc muh working-class immiseration.

In actual WW2, even in the US, living standards were repressed in order to divert available resources to the war effort. Stuff was rationed. People were made to car-share or take overcrowded transit; a Toronto poster I saw a few years ago told people to deal with it, it's war.
...
When you bring up WW2 as your model, you should write down what you're willing to sacrifice for it. The people who wrote that GND papers refuse to sacrifice. They sell a fantasy of 100% decarbonization at no cost to the non-rich.They're lying either to you or to themselves; my money is on #2. Toss them and look at what serious G/EFA politicians propose.
I'm not sure that's entirely true. I think it would be more accurate to say that it's selling 100% decarbonization by offering to compensate the non-rich for the inconvenience with a safety net. But there are an awful lot of folks in this country who are comfortable enough in wealth and privilege that I do not think will not see the existence of a jobs guarantee or Medicare for All (remember that everything is welfare if you don't think you need it, but a god-given right like the mortgage interest deduction or tax-advantaged retirement accounts if you do need it) as adequate compensation for the serious social change required to address climate change. You're asking people to trade the stuff they use now: cars, planes, big green lawns, cheap and plentiful beef, etc... for a safety net. Is that a trade people are willing to make? And if so, when do we tell them that they're going to have to give something up?

For example, it sounds wonderful to say every step will be taken "in transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses." What does that actually mean on the ground when it comes to specific projects? Here in California, some of the most Democratic-voting areas of the country will threaten violence against your person for suggesting that their community build apartments, rather than low-density single family homes, near mass transit stations. Replacing a couple of parking spots with a bike share station is a years-long process. Bike lanes are cancelled because the mayor's optometrist complains about the loss of parking. Everyone wants clean energy, unless they have to live near the thing that produces it or pay more for it. Nobody wants to give up their lawn voluntarily. Vitally necessary steps toward zero-emissions are going to trample on what people want, particularly wealthy people with clout, and no amount of consultation is going to change that. At some point, dealing with a climate emergency just means saying "we're doing this because we have to." It's important to figure out how the brunt of that doesn't fall on the most vulnerable—the human rights abuses of our WWII mobilization are not the model to emulate—, but we can't pretend we can consult and collaborate our way into making the changes people don't want to make.

The last decade has involved some excruciatingly slow changes in the rare cases that we're even moving forward. We spent 10 years on the substantial yet far from comprehensive effort that was the ACA, enacting it, implementing it, fighting lawsuits over it, fighting repeal of it, fighting sabotage of it, and on and on and on. That's one damn thing in a decade, and it pretty much involved adjusting the levers on existing systems rather than broad social change. If we're fantastically lucky, if all the stars align, maybe we get one shot in 2021 to pass one big piece of Democratic legislation through reconciliation. Every 2020 candidate is drafting binders full of policies, but the most important question is what would they do with that shot. And as much admiration as I have for the vision, it's hard for me to understand the pathway by which the answer for what gets quickly enacted into law and implemented and defended can realistically be zero-emissions by 2030 plus a robust safety net for all.
posted by zachlipton at 12:05 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


I have no idea who the people are who just fucking love air travel in this country so much that the mere thought of promoting passenger rail over short-hop flights is making them into the biggest idiots in the world, but if I never again in my life see some dullard on Twitter bust out the staggering willful obtusity to bust out, "What, are you going to build a bridge to Hawaii for those trains????? Environmental impact much????", it will still be far too soon.
posted by Copronymus at 12:05 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


I have no idea who the people are who just fucking love air travel in this country so much

Probably the same people who are like "everyone will turn on Medicare for all once they realize that it means they lose their existing healthcare plans", i.e. people who are so rich that they only talk to other people who are also so rich that they never face even the slightest inconvenience.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:09 PM on February 7 [18 favorites]


I lived in Europe for a while, and took trains all over the continent. It was a glorious way to see the countrysides of so many places. I’m in Texas now. If I want to take a train to Florida, I have to go through Chicago, then over to the east coast, and down from there. It’s a week trip to go 1000 miles, vs 13 hours to drive, or 6 hours to fly, counting security theatre. Also, Amtrak is almost twice as expensive as a flight and 10x more expensive than renting a car and driving.

This nation has a vast, taxpayer supported train network, that is virtually unused for passengers except for the NY corridor. And don’t even get me started on the nightmare that is a long distance bus in this country.

I would love to never get on a plane again, except to leave the continent, but outside of the East Coast, there is no such thing as reliable public transportation for distance travels.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:16 PM on February 7 [34 favorites]


I find the combined message of "we can have it all" to be both profoundly inspiring and potentially an enormous step away from addressing climate catastrophe. If we fight greenhouse gas emissions and inequality at the same time, in the same bill, do we have a greater risk of doing neither?

I disagree with this because climate change is inextricably linked with inequality (and indeed a whole bunch of other issues, like women's rights and minority rights). The rich cause almost all the pollution, which shouldn't be surprising when you consider they own almost everything and capture the profits of almost everything.

That is to say, empowering the poor is a form of fighting climate change. Empowering women is a form of fighting climate change. Empowering minorities is a form of fighting climate change.

I don't know if that's a trade most Americans are willing to make, but if they don't, we're all so fucked.
posted by ragtag at 12:18 PM on February 7 [36 favorites]




I have no idea who the people are who just fucking love air travel in this country so much

It’s also like, you have this dynamic pop up all the time, cheap, easy commercial air travel is going to go away, the question is does it go away cause we transition off it and build something better or does it go away cause the suoerhurricanes don’t stop long enough or no one can afford a ticket cause thier house keeps burning down?
posted by The Whelk at 12:22 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


The only thing we can do is more than what we're doing now. We can course correct along the way, but for fucks sake what we're currently doing is nothing and that is criminal.
posted by nikaspark at 12:24 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


What does that actually mean on the ground when it comes to specific projects? Here in California, some of the most Democratic-voting areas of the country will threaten violence against your person for suggesting that their community build apartments, rather than low-density single family homes, near mass transit stations.

Slate dug into this more deeply, I am now learning: The Green New Deal’s Huge Flaw: It completely ignores the most crucial environmental, economic, and racial-justice issue of all: where we live.
But the Green New Deal has a big blind spot: It doesn’t address the places Americans live. And our physical geography—where we sleep, work, shop, worship, and send our kids to play, and how we move between those places—is more foundational to a green, fair future than just about anything else. The proposal encapsulates the liberal delusion on climate change: that technology and spending can spare us the hard work of reform.
...
In Alissa Walker’s exhaustive report in Curbed on why electric vehicles won’t save California, she argues that even with breakneck advances in renewable energy and electric cars, the country must still reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled. EVs won’t save the rest of America, either.

But the good news is that if we do account for land use, we will get much closer to a safe, sustainable, and resilient future. And even though widespread adoption of EVs is still decades away, reforms to our built environment can begin right now. In short, we can fix this. We build more than 1 million new homes a year—we just need to put them in the right places.
The Green New Deal could actually do this. Affordable housing is even a component of the resolution. But it's impossible to do it in "transparent and inclusive consultation" with the people who refuse to have the housing built near them.
posted by zachlipton at 12:24 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


I find the combined message of "we can have it all" to be both profoundly inspiring and potentially an enormous step away from addressing climate catastrophe. If we fight greenhouse gas emissions and inequality at the same time, in the same bill, do we have a greater risk of doing neither?

I truly think that fighting climate change has to go hand-in-hand with fighting inequality. If you fight climate change without fighting inequality, then the brunt of the cost falls on the very people who've contributed least to the problem, and then you get a fully justified popular backlash to the legislation. For a real world example of this, look at the massive "Yellow Vest" protests in France after the country passed climate change legislation that dumped the cost on to the working class.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:29 PM on February 7 [18 favorites]


@braak “someone has also pointed out that, since the DoD regards climate change as a global threat driver, there's no reason we can't divert defense spending to green technology initiatives”

Punching Out Podcast on the effects of climate change in the working class, since the damages of climate change effect the poor and marginalized first and hardest, combating climate change is also combating inequality
posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I have no idea who the people are who just fucking love air travel in this country so much

Probably the same people who relax in elite airport lounges, fly first class, and have that program that allows you to bypass the proles' security lines... just a guess.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 12:37 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I can already tell there's going to be a huge number of hot takes on the Green New Deal where people accuse it of not addressing their pet issue that will solve everything.
posted by Merus at 12:51 PM on February 7 [21 favorites]


I disagree with this because climate change is inextricably linked with inequality (and indeed a whole bunch of other issues, like women's rights and minority rights). The rich cause almost all the pollution, which shouldn't be surprising when you consider they own almost everything and capture the profits of almost everything.

On a global scale, absolutely, but the "70 percent of global emissions come from just 100 companies" is not a meaningful metric to actually reduce emissions in the US. 28% of our emissions are from transportation (it's above 40% in California, and our transportation emissions are going in the wrong direction: increasing). Another 28% is from electricity (2/3rds of which is from non-industrial uses, including homes). 10% are from agriculture. If you drove to work this morning, billionaires didn't burn the gas in your car this morning. I'll bash ExxonMobil any chance I can get, but how does attributing the emissions from your car to them reduce emissions? They profited it from it, surely, and that's going to need to damn well stop immediately, and there's a broader land use and transit policy question about the factors that made you drive, but reducing emissions ultimately means millions and millions of non-millionaires and non-billionaires in this country are going to have to make changes. That is, in fact, fighting inequality, because it could help shield the poor and the most vulnerable from the worst effects of climate change. But some of those will be expensive and inconvenient and, yep, out come the yellow vests.

Dumping the cost onto the working class is not the answer, but there are tensions here. Reducing transportation emissions means reducing vehicle miles traveled. Electric cars are swell and useful, but we all need to drive less, not just drive more green. That means addressing the highway trust fund right now while it's up for re-authorization too. If you make gas more expensive to reduce transportation emissions, that inherently falls on the most poor among us who get priced out of driving. If you keep gas at $2.28, what's the mechanism that gets people to drive less? How do you make that mechanism not also target the most poor and vulnerable yet achieve meaningful emissions reductions? It's not just tax credits for electric cars.

Climate and change inequality are inextricably linked because, if we do nothing, inequality will get worse. That's the default option, and we have to fight to change it. The Green New Deal is inspiring because it recognizes that. But it also doesn't tell people, middle class Americans, that they're going to have to sacrifice something, anything to reduce emissions, and I don't see how we achieve our goals without it.
posted by zachlipton at 12:54 PM on February 7 [12 favorites]


I can already tell there's going to be a huge number of hot takes on the Green New Deal where people accuse it of not addressing their pet issue that will solve everything.

Also the "this won't immediately solve everything so why bother doing anything" takes
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:58 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


Let the quibbling begin!
posted by rhizome at 12:59 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


A little bit of History, but the USA already failed to pass climate legislation, in the wake of the largest climate disaster of the decade , when it wasn't connected to the issue of inequality. Why not Broaden the base?

Certainly, the climate and federal infrastructure disaster of Katrina was intimately connected with racial justice, police accountability issues ( it took eight years to convict the police officers that filled a little girl and her mother with bullets after they had fallen to the ground and held each other.) and housing issues. Why do people think that ignoring the new movement for just transition and climate Justice, essentially adding that constituency to the push for climate legislation, is somehow more vulnerable than the constituency we've already failed to succeed with?

I will add that the companies funding policies that promote inequality and the companies that are behind climate change are often the same companies.
posted by eustatic at 1:00 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


BuzzFeed, A Huge Climate Change Movement Led By Teenage Girls Is Sweeping Europe. And It’s Coming To The US Next.
The protests are injecting a new urgency into the debate around climate change, and calling attention to a lack of action by governments. They are also a sign of the new political power of young women, especially in Europe. Climate strikes have also been organized by students in Australia, and US organizers are planning to participate in an international day of action on March 15.

Jamie Margolin, the 17-year-old founder and executive director of Zero Hour, a group working on the March 15 protest in the US, told BuzzFeed News that climate activism has given young women like her a chance to be heard.

“There aren’t very many spaces that I can be in charge of and what I’m going to say is going to be heard,” Margolin said. Her group is led largely by young women of color, which she said should come as no surprise, because people who are already vulnerable are going to be disproportionately hit by climate change. A 2014 report by the World Health Organization outlined that women are more likely to be harmed in the kinds of natural disasters made more likely by global warming, bear greater responsibility for getting access to water, energy, and other basics of domestic life, and often are shut out of opportunities when resources decline.

“If you’re a victim of a system of oppression, you’re more affected by the climate crisis — that goes for women,” she said. “Nobody is going to hand us this, we have to step up and raise our voices.”
posted by zachlipton at 1:00 PM on February 7 [31 favorites]


I have no idea who the people are who just fucking love air travel in this country so much

I tend to look at things from a slightly different angle:
A 747 burns 5 gallons of fuel per mile. But it can hold over 500 people. So a full plane can get over 100mpg per person! Also, it travels a straighter line than a car or train, so the actual miles traveled between two points is lower, meaning the effective mileage is even better than 100mpg.

Of course a high-mileage car with two or more people, especially an electric car, or a full train will do even better.
posted by eye of newt at 1:03 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Regarding addressing inequality in relation to climate change: either radical egalitarianism is part of the solution, or killing billions of people with robots will be part of the solution. Without a rock-solid foundation of social and economic justice, eventually it's going to be the fortress/siege mentality of who gets to live inside the walls and who dies outside them.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:14 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


If you drove to work this morning, billionaires didn't burn the gas in your car this morning. I'll bash ExxonMobil any chance I can get, but how does attributing the emissions from your car to them reduce emissions?

No, but they (and millionaires, etc.) totally created the world in which housing near your job was unaffordable and in which public transport was poor or nonexistent and in which gasoline was subsidized so research into alternatives was slowed or stopped. I don't think it's unreasonable to force them to pony up what they gained from doing so in order to fix it.

(Again, though, this is America and I don't know if that's possible in practice. Your point that "hey, if we try, everyone's lifestyle is going to radically change and possibly not for the better but at least your kids may have water to drink" being polarizing is certainly valid, especially given said billionaires and their ownership of the media. And, hell, how do you evaluate what a given rich person owes to society?)

killing billions of people with robots

Who needs robots when droughts and famines and forced migrations will do?
posted by ragtag at 1:19 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Who needs robots when droughts and famines and forced migrations will do?

The death-robot industry has lobbyists.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:22 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Push-back against the AOC-Markey resolution from the right has been fun to watch. I particularly love that Sen. John Barrasso, who regrettably heads up the environment committee, just came out and said he objects to "guaranteed food, housing, college, and economic security even for those who refuse to work."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:37 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


>>Push-back against the AOC-Markey resolution from the right has been fun to watch. I particularly love that Sen. John Barrasso, who regrettably heads up the environment committee, just came out and said he objects to "guaranteed food, housing, college, and economic security even for those who refuse to work."

Don't laugh, even self-professed liberals just seethe at the thought of "subsidizing" some "welfare queen" or "lazy" person who "chooses not to work". That kind of rhetoric worked very well in the Reagan years and I can only hope that the current state of play will help prevent that message from resonating again.

Let's cast the 1% in the part of the parasite instead.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:04 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


I think it's important to note that the bill is a nonbinding resolution, so it wouldn't create any new programs or obligations in itself. it's more like a statement of purpose that (if adopted) would help guide the development of the actual policies/programs meant to fulfill those goals. As noted above, the actual policies/programs would be developed collaboratively with outside orgs - probably through multiple working groups according to subject (transportation, agriculture, etc) - and I imagine they would be implemented through a mix of grants (including to local governments, nonprofits, businesses, etc) and newly created government programs/services.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:09 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I love the Buzzfeed piece linked to above, which includes this:

De Wever’s mother, Katrien Van der Heyden, told her about Thunberg’s video in their kitchen one evening last December. She watched it that night, and then announced the following morning she would make a video of her own with her best friend.

“I have to be very honest about this — at this point in time I didn’t think it would amount to anything,” said Van der Heyden, who now acts as her daughter’s de facto press secretary. “I thought, it’s a nice little project… she’s going to be making that little movie with her friends, it’s educational, much better that just staying at home watching Netflix — I underestimated my daughter.”

Van der Heyden, a 51-year-old sociologist who specializes in gender equity, said she also underestimated the whole young generation.

As far as she could recall, she said, “It’s the very first time in Belgium that a [mass movement was] started by two women and not about feminist rights.” When the protests drew tens of thousands, Van der Heyden said, she was stunned to see as many boys as girls in the crowds, and yet no one ever challenged the leadership of the female organizers.

“We, as women leaders, have been pushed aside by men, we were told we can only be leaders [on women’s issues],” she said. Van der Heyden said that when she sees boys in the crowd shouting her daughter’s name at the rallies, “Every time I’m moved to tears.”

posted by Bella Donna at 2:14 PM on February 7 [14 favorites]


> ... he objects to "guaranteed food, housing, college, and economic security even for those who refuse to work."

So, he's going to send the idle rich Walmart heirs to the guillotines or the poorhouses? That's maybe a bit harsher than I would have advocated, but sign me up, John Barrasso (R-Wy)!
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:15 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


They sell a fantasy of 100% decarbonization at no cost to the non-rich.

Well if the poor can't pay for it, presumably no-one can.

Push-back against the AOC-Markey resolution from the right has been fun to watch.

I'm not saying it's not pushback from the right, but I've mostly found it depressing because an awful lot of liberals seem to be placing their hopes in those same people.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 2:19 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


These arguments about how the Green New Deal don't address this or that or fail in this way.... I gotta say, I love them.

Keep them coming.

Because, this is just like Trump's goddamn rediculious wall. When we argue about the merits of particular details, we legitimize the thing being argued about; and we *really really REALLY* need to legitimize some kind of Green New Deal as fast as possible.

At this point, "Doing Nothing" would be preferable to what's actually happening now, as the Trump regime actively undoes existing environmental and societal protections.

We need to do something, let's start talking about what that something needs to be.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 4:00 PM on February 7 [12 favorites]


It is beyond me how people can take climate change seriously while also respecting and admiring Pelosi, who doesn’t even try to hide her utter contempt for this proposal
posted by moorooka at 4:29 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


If we're fantastically lucky, if all the stars align, maybe we get one shot in 2021 to pass one big piece of Democratic legislation through reconciliation.

One way to distinguish politicians who are serious about this stuff from those who merely want to mouth "medicare for all" is whether they say they will abolish the filibuster if that's what it takes. Which it will -- the 60th Senator is now much farther right than when Lieberman was it, and nothing even remotely dramatic is going to pass via reconciliation. The only way even one of the planks of the Green New Deal will pass -- let alone the full platform -- is if the filibuster is abolished right at the start of the 2021 session.

Up until a few months ago, I could sort of understand politicians not wanting to outright say that it should go for fear of McConnell preemptively abolishing it and passing a lot of terrible stuff. But that time is passed: we now have a much better veto in the form of the House. And the standard argument -- that we should forever accept stasis because what if the Republicans pass bad stuff when it's their turn -- is looking increasing untenable. The climate says stasis is doom. Our only chance is to pass big policies and hope that their popularity, not legislative tricks, preserves the legacy. Only someone who is willing to abolish the filibuster on day one and ram through a raft of major bills is actually serious about averting disaster and getting significant change done.
posted by chortly at 5:32 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Only someone who is willing to abolish the filibuster on day one and ram through a raft of major bills is actually serious about averting disaster and getting significant change done.

In other words Booker, Harris and Gillibrand are wasting everyone’s time
posted by moorooka at 5:39 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Ezra Levin made the persuasive case that the filibuster must go recently (with bonus Hamilton content), and Politico has a rundown of where people are on it: ‘Everything stays on the table’: 2020 Dems weigh killing the filibuster

I feel like it's almost a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Keep the filibuster, fail to do anything serious about climate, and marginalized and vulnerable people will be harmed in the forthcoming disaster. (Of course, there's also the failure mode of abolish the filibuster and still fail to do anything serious about climate.) Abolish the filibuster, pass some important legislation that gets us toward a cleaner and more just society, and marginalized and vulnerable people will be harmed a few years later when future-Majority Leader Cornyn uses his new Senate majority to hurt all the people the Republican party loves to target. It's hard to be optimistic.

There's an extremely compelling argument that the filibuster is an inherently conservative institution that helps Republicans by blocking progress. But that's also cold comfort to the vulnerable people that Republicans would use the lack of a filibuster against.

I don't know how you look at the enormous harm the Republican Party could have done over the past two years without the filibuster and say "yes, let's have that please." I also don't know how you look at the enormous challenges ahead of us and say "yes, let's make it near-impossible to take action on any of this."
posted by zachlipton at 6:29 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Jesus Christ, why is it that the nominal left, and progressives generally, have such a problem with the whole "perfect being the mortal enemy of the good" thing? Your enemies don't have this problem; they'd vote for a drug abusing child molester (and have!) as long as they can trust that person to beat up on brown folks and make abortion a capital offense.
posted by aramaic at 6:59 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


I don’t think it’s about perfect vs good. There is no perfect solution, but either climate change is an urgent existential threat or it isn’t. The current democratic leadership literally ranks the preservation of the senate’s procedural norms as a higher priority than the preservation of a habitable planet. They are neither perfect nor good; they are effectively genocidal.
posted by moorooka at 7:12 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


Archive.org of FAQ that was linked in the Original Post
Different FAQ posted by NPR

The first says it's gonna be build a windmill and make MMT pay for it.
The second says no nuclear plants (in fact desire to dismantle existing ones), no carbon capture, dismissive of carbon tax and cap and trade. Doesn't even address more active interventions.

I am indeed reminded of Trump's Wall, that is a great comparison for how I feel about this. Guess I'm just sitting here hoping for some Bill Gates Carbon Capture System or a Musk-Bezos L1 Sunshade or maybe the Chinese gov't to do something...

(OK I looked and Gates actually has put money towards carbon capture work...)
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:04 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


A rapid industrial transformation that is indisputably necessary to prevent an unprecedented planet-wide catastrophe. Yes what better comparison than Trump’s racist wall.
posted by moorooka at 8:12 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


I truly think that fighting climate change has to go hand-in-hand with fighting inequality. If you fight climate change without fighting inequality, then the brunt of the cost falls on the very people who've contributed least to the problem, and then you get a fully justified popular backlash to the legislation.

If fighting inequality is so popular that not doing it causes a backlash, why are we in the situation we're in now? We've been spending a lot of time not fighting inequality and indeed getting inequality-increasing policies through for the last 20 years.

My feelings are complicated but I basically support this movement not because I like egalitarian policies (though I do) but because the obvious alternative approach to fighting climate change--partner with people who have a lot and don't want to lose it--hasn't worked. But we have *maybe* ten years to start in earnest and are five years away from getting anything actually moving policy wise, best case.

The reaction from a lot of progressives over the last year to the Green New Deal talk has me worried, because people seem excited by it as a path to smash capitalism, help the poor, remake the economy and totally crush the political opposition. With those stakes I worry an approach that "only" saves the world by reducing CO2 will be off the table and considered a sell out.
posted by mark k at 8:19 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I am indeed reminded of Trump's Wall, that is a great comparison for how I feel about this. Guess I'm just sitting here hoping for some Bill Gates Carbon Capture System or a Musk-Bezos L1 Sunshade or maybe the Chinese gov't to do something...

(OK I looked and Gates actually has put money towards carbon capture work...)


If you're sitting there hoping for a super cool billionaire to produce a miraculous geoengineering invention that will save us all, then you don't get to compare anything else to an idiotic, overpriced, authoritarian monument that wouldn't work.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:25 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


I would kind of like to know what happened to the FAQ on AOC's website (indeed, her site's news section now just doesn't mention the Green New Deal at all? Or any news since she was sworn in. Which is strange). Not in a "oh she did something wrong" sense, but because it's an interesting document that disappeared, and I'm curious why. As best I can tell, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's staff first took out the nuclear language from the FAQ, then took down the FAQ entirely?

It's worth reading the text of the resolution itself—it's an inspiring document and pretty easy to read—, as it's a bit different from how some people have been talking about it. The resolution is technology agnostic and is a broad blueprint, not specific policies. Somebody then started writing documents to go with it that pick needless fights over stuff like nuclear energy that the GND backers are explicitly not agreeing on at this time.

If anyone has any links or sources on what happened here, I'm curious.
posted by zachlipton at 8:32 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


The reaction from a lot of progressives over the last year to the Green New Deal talk has me worried, because people seem excited by it as a path to smash capitalism, help the poor, remake the economy and totally crush the political opposition. With those stakes I worry an approach that "only" saves the world by reducing CO2 will be off the table and considered a sell out.

The opportunity to do it any other way has passed. At this stage we must acknowledge that “only” saving the world really does necessitate smashing capitalism, helping the poor, remaking the economy and totally crushing the political opposition.
posted by moorooka at 8:45 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Good. Can you do all that in the next 3 years or so?
posted by mark k at 8:54 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Of course not, but more will be accomplished in 3 years if the necessity of the solution is acknowledged than if it is denied.
posted by moorooka at 9:02 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


If you make gas more expensive to reduce transportation emissions, that inherently falls on the most poor among us who get priced out of driving. If you keep gas at $2.28, what's the mechanism that gets people to drive less?

I like the way Alberta implemented our carbon tax. It's paid for by the emitter (in the case of fuel it's partly an oil company but mainly the consumer), but:

* There are rebates for folks below a certain income level. Something like 60% of Albertans qualify for a full or partial rebate

* The rebates are direct-deposited into your bank account twice a year, either the one the CRA has on file or one you can set up with the Alberta government. (This would probably not work as well with the US banking system and strata of people who lack bank accounts/use cheque cashing stores)

People below a certain income will be net payers only if they consume more than average. Some people who live lower-carbon lifestyles actually come out ahead with the rebate. In the end, importantly, people of all income levels pay less when the consume less and pay more if they consume more.

I like this because it kills the "unaffordable for families" argument against the tax. Of course, a favourite rhetorical tactic of the right is to ignore the existence of the rebate program.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:05 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Dave Roberts has a long article at Vox on There’s now an official Green New Deal. Here’s what’s in it. I really recommend it. I know, I know, Vox, but Roberts is an excellent writer on climate policy, and he even takes a couple shots at neoliberalism in there to help get you over your annoyance at Vox. He breaks the text of the resolution down into its prioroties (justice and investment), the fights it avoids (any details, paying for it), and a few things missing. But he also grapples with the question we're discussing now:
This is just a resolution, not legislation. (I’m pretty sure providing universal housing and health care would require a couple of bills at least.) So I’m not really sure how literally these latter requirements are meant to be read, or how literally those who sign on to the GND will take them.

If they’re taken literally, then everyone who signs on should get a welcome letter from the Democratic Socialists of America. If they are taken as an aspirational list of Good Things, as I suspect they will be (especially given Markey’s involvement), then many arguments will remain to be had about just what a GND endorsement means. But it definitely means something.
...
Choo-choo, indeed. As I said in my first post on the Sunrise Movement protest that got the GND train rolling, I think it is all to the good that a muscular progressive movement is rallying behind a program shaped by the problem at hand rather than speculation about what is politically possible. It is good to start from a position of strength.

And just to be clear, I’m a big fan of universal housing and health care. But at some point, we have to grapple with the fact that a solution to climate change will require the support of people who may not be ready to join the democratic socialist revolution.

Given the two-year time window to get legislation ready and the 10-year time window to kickstart multiple decarbonization revolutions, the chances of pulling off a full-scale political revolution beforehand seem remote.
There are people in this country who are ready to take action on climate who do not feel the same way about the combined policies of a federal job guarantee, expanded union rights, a brand new leftist trade policy, smashing monopolies, universal health care, housing, economic security, clean water, air, food, and nature. The State of California, for example, is meeting its renewable energy goals while doing a sucktastic job of providing housing for my homeless neighbors. That's not a just society. But it is a society with a climate policy, if not an entirely adequate one, and we needed a climate policy 30 years ago (we also needed a housing policy and a health care policy more than 30 years ago; we need a lot). And there's a lot of those people, so the short-term immediate answer to them if we want to reduce our carbon emissions in time has to be more than "Get on the GND train or choo-choo, motherfucker, we’re going to go right past you."
posted by zachlipton at 9:25 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


We don’t need “a climate policy”, we need an end to greenhouse gas emissions. End of story. This means replacing a fossil-fuel based economy with a brand new economy in a very short timeframe, which is impossible without the government essentially taking control of the economy.

Given the necessity of a centrally planned economy, the argument is between those who want a plan that will incorporate economic justice and distribute the costs of this massive disruption in an equitable way, and those who want a plan that will preserve the hierarchies and institutions that brought us to this point.

Choo-choo motherfucker is the right answer.
posted by moorooka at 9:44 PM on February 7 [15 favorites]


OK, second Jesus Christ: intersectionality is a thing.

A Thing.
posted by aramaic at 9:46 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


There are people in this country who are ready to take action on climate who do not feel the same way about the combined policies of a federal job guarantee, expanded union rights, a brand new leftist trade policy, smashing monopolies, universal health care, housing, economic security, clean water, air, food, and nature.

If their opposition to those policies outweighs their desire for a habitable planet then they're either irrational or they don't actually accept the gravity of the situation. If they're not willing to accept structural changes to society, and to possibly lose some of their toys and treats if they're rich, then they are not in fact allies in the fight for survival.

And there's a lot of those people, so the short-term immediate answer to them if we want to reduce our carbon emissions in time has to be more than "Get on the GND train or choo-choo, motherfucker, we’re going to go right past you."

If there's a "more than" that isn't "how about we do maybe half of what we need to do to avoid extinction" then it'll fly in the face of decades of Democratic death-by-compromise.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:47 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Guess I'm just sitting here hoping for some Bill Gates Carbon Capture System or a Musk-Bezos L1 Sunshade or maybe the Chinese gov't to do something

Believe it or not, the IPCC report Specifically addresses this "something magic happens" scenario and it's *STILL* not enough, it *HAS* to come with dramatic restructuring of our carbon-based economy for it to be effective at preventing the worst of global climate crisis. Specifically: EVEN IF you do carbon capture we have to stop producing carbon, which is only possible by changing the way people actually live in society with each other. Even magic new energy sources that are really good and carbon free, like, aliens-landing-and-handing-them-to-us level of magic, would not be sufficient, because you couldn't get it plugged in and the energy shuffled around fast enough to matter.
posted by odinsdream at 9:50 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


The significance of intersectionality to the GND is worth elaborating on, beyond its being ‘a thing’
posted by moorooka at 9:54 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


In a functioning society we would ALL, like, as a culture, have been receiving serious education on the scientific CONSENSUS of what the fuck is going on with our planet, on which we all live, and it would have been a literal global awareness and acceptance and we wouldn't be still fucking around about whether capitalism is linked to climate crisis, or other bullshit person-to-person.
posted by odinsdream at 9:58 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Believe it or not, the IPCC report Specifically addresses this "something magic happens" scenario and it's *STILL* not enough, it *HAS* to come with dramatic restructuring of our carbon-based economy for it to be effective at preventing the worst of global climate crisis.

To my understanding the converse is also true - carbon capture (or something more radical) is believed necessary to obtain a favorable outcome, in addition to decreasing carbon emissions.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:04 PM on February 7


Oh yeah I've long written off the possibility of a favorable outcome.
posted by odinsdream at 10:09 PM on February 7


I mean listen it's obviously ridiculous that we're still having to argue about if climate change is real or not, but even among the larger group of people who accept climate change IS real, there seems to be this further confusion due to lack of information that WE HAVE TO ZERO OUT OUR CARBON EMISSIONS AS A SPECIES.

Like, that needs to be Really Fucking Clear to people because we don't get there as a species unless people Know How Dire this is so they can actually accept what would otherwise be seen as "too radical/weird/new."

This is Beyond politics as we've ever known it before. This is like, obviously a huge crisis but nobody is TREATING it like it is because they don't ACTUALLY KNOW FOR REAL REALS IN THEIR BONES.
posted by odinsdream at 10:13 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


A favorable outcome is any living humans in a few hundred years and accomplishing that will take a lot more hard work than waiting for Tony Stark to invent the Carbonotron 9000.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:13 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Not sure if it's already been posted, but there's a sweet/sad Twitter thread going around with stories about terminally-ill parents who lament they'll never live to see the Mueller report or, as their last conscious act, sign an absentee ballot voting for Obama, and the like.
posted by JHarris at 10:21 PM on February 7


Basically it seems like AOC actually read and understood the latest IPCC reporting, since the Green New Deal tries to do exactly what it's recommending. EVERYONE should read this and become familiar with it enough to demand your representatives support this action.
posted by odinsdream at 12:01 AM on February 8 [9 favorites]


I sent a fax to my representative demanding that he co-sign and support the resolution. I tried to emphasize that it’s not a partisan issue and that everyone will die a slow death of hypoxia and starvation if we don’t do something now.

Fat lot of good it’ll do since he’s a dyed in the wool teahadist toadie, but it’s all I have energy for because the rest of me is surviving with a newborn.
posted by zrail at 3:38 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


I would kind of like to know what happened to the FAQ on AOC's website

Here you go. Bottom line, the original FAQ aspired to financial security for those "unable or unwilling to work" (emphasis mine). This was obviously going to be an impediment to selling the deal.

What's weird is that the FAQ was posted on the path Home>Media>Blog Posts, and now there isn't even a Blog Posts section.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:13 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


BuzzFeed, A Huge Climate Change Movement Led By Teenage Girls Is Sweeping Europe. And It’s Coming To The US Next.

Belgium's Anuna De Wever and Youth For Climate are coming for you (Facebook video).

(One of their early slogans: Respect existence - or expect resistance....)
posted by progosk at 7:42 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


A realistic perspective from the Tax Policy Center:

In an NPR Morning Edition interview, Ocasio-Cortez was unfazed by the cost. Yes, she acknowledged, the GND would be expensive and require lots of government spending. But she insisted there is no need to worry about its long-term effects on the already-massive budget deficit because this initiative would pay for itself through economic growth.

While her prediction echoed precisely the claim by President Trump and Hill Republicans that the 2017 TCJA would pay for itself through growth, she made her prediction without apparent irony. Unlike taxes, she insisted, her new spending really would pay for itself through growth. She could prove it.

I suspect that some of her ideas—especially incentives for new technology and jobs—would generate some growth. But many of the ideas—while well-intentioned—could well slow the economy. For instance, imposing environmental or labor mandates on domestic employers may drive many of these new jobs overseas. Without vastly more details it is impossible to even guess at the net economic effects of it all.

The GND is big and bold, and many Democrats see it as a valuable antidote to what they believe has been decades of policy passivity. But the resolution’s ambitious promises will add trillions of dollars to the nation’s debt. And that itself could slow the economy. Its sponsors eventually will have to tell us how they will pay for it. Relying on a promise of economic growth is no more a credible for them than it was for the supporters of the TCJA.

posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:01 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Gosh, oh no, the Green New Deal might slow the out-of-control capitalistic economic growth that created the problem of climate change in the first place, what are we going to do? Ow, my deficit!
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:12 AM on February 8 [18 favorites]


I'm more of a deficit-hawk than many on MeFi, but think that deficit spending to fund the necessary costs of not wrecking the planet is an exceptionally fine use of money. The Modern Monetary Theory stuff in the hastily-withdrawn FAQ was a mistake; just say we're investing in ourselves because the alternative is a hell of a lot worse for the economy and humanity.
posted by zachlipton at 8:13 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


A realistic perspective from the Tax Policy Center

Realistic for certain values of realistic.

So fucking what if it raises the debt? Even if you accept the claim here that an ambitious program to tackle climate change (and pollution, and energy independence, and a nationwide jobs program) will increase the debt, who cares? Are we only allowed to raise the debt to give tax breaks to billionaires and corporations and to fund neverending wars? This obsession with debt and budgets, but especially the debt, is insane to me. It's a way for so-called "reasonable" or "pragmatic" people to hamstring any spending that actually has the effect of helping the most vulnerable people in our society.

Also, this article both says there aren't enough details to know what the economic effects of the GND will be and also says that it will add trillions of dollars to the debt. If part of the details of the GND is to raise revenue through, oh I don't know, taxing the fuck out of the largest polluters and increasing taxes on the richest Americans, couldn't that offset the spending or even reduce debt? Sure seems like something a place called The TAX Policy Center might have talked about.
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:27 AM on February 8 [15 favorites]


Relying on a promise of economic growth is no more a credible for them than it was for the supporters of the TCJA

Actually, predicting that investing directly and heavily in building infrastructure and employing people will lead to economic growth is much more credible than predicting that handing out checks to billionaires will do the same.
posted by contraption at 8:28 AM on February 8 [15 favorites]


We don’t need “a climate policy”, we need an end to greenhouse gas emissions. End of story. This means replacing a fossil-fuel based economy with a brand new economy in a very short timeframe, which is impossible without the government essentially taking control of the economy.

Many Republicans believe global warming is a plot whose goal is to end capitalism and install a socialist tyranny, and, yes, they would rather die, in the same way that you and I might be willing to die to save our country from tyranny. It's not true or rational, but I've had that discussion with Republicans. Moreover, the belief is deep seated. Reagan believed social programs lead to tyranny. Hayek, The godfather of conservative economists believed it. Saying global warming can only be accomplished by having the government take over the economy is literally, for many Republicans, confirming their worst fear.

What I'm saying is that even if government control of the economy is necessary, and I'm not sure it is, I would think that way of framing the discussion is not a great way to win over Republicans. This argument may sound like the Democratic equivalent of a Republican plan to fix global warming by giving oil companies a huge, no-strings-attached, tax break.
posted by xammerboy at 8:41 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


I don't give a fuck what deranged things conservatives believe, and I'm not willing to watch society collapse to try and meet them in the middle of nowhere. Like Anti-vaxxers, their beliefs are wrong and harmful and they'll never be persuaded to change. The solution isn't to appeal to them, it's to defeat them and drive them back into the darkness. I can't believe people are still suggesting that the GOP is an any way a good faith partner in any capacity.
posted by absalom at 8:44 AM on February 8 [28 favorites]


I don't care what the Green New Deal sounds like to Republicans. Any plan that wins a single Republican vote will do less than nothing to slow down the oncoming ecological apocalypse. They don't even believe that climate change is real, for god's sake. We need to crush them, not convince them. They're an implacable death cult.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:44 AM on February 8 [11 favorites]


Copronymus: I have no idea who the people are who just fucking love air travel in this country so much that the mere thought of promoting passenger rail over short-hop flights is making them into the biggest idiots in the world

I don't get the sudden anti-high speed rail thing I'm seeing on twitter too. Knee jerk contrarianism? Are they all just temporarily embarrassed private jet flyers who see rail as beneath them? China plans on building 4000 miles of high speed rail in 2019 alone.
posted by bluecore at 9:46 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Ocasio-Cortez: ‘I truly do not’ believe Pelosi snubbed me on climate change panel (Tal Axelrod, The Hill)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Thursday she does not feel Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) snubbed her by not putting her on a new special climate change committee.

“I truly do not. The Speaker was gracious enough to invite me on it,” Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive firebrand who began her congressional tenure last month advocating for significant shifts in climate policy, said on MSNBC when asked if she felt Pelosi had snubbed her.

She maintained that while she was offered a spot on the high-profile committee, her existing positions on other panels would have hindered her ability to fully engage on the select committee.

“So we announced our committee assignments. I did not know if I was going to be asked or selected for the select committee at that time, so I wanted to maximize my standing committee assignments. So, I was able to get on financial services, which is one of just a handful of exclusive committees that freshmen almost never get on, and I’m on the environmental subcommittee of oversight, which is also a very high-profile committee,” she said, adding that she was on another four subcommittees.

“I would have to give up doing my job well, is how I feel, and I don’t want to give that up.”
Most of the media coverage is framed around AOC being snubbed or deliberately left off, instead of actively saying no.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:00 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


Look, folks, I'm pretty sure all of us here aren't climate-change deniers. Or at least, we don't think of ourselves that way. That's not because we are all climate scientists who've independently verified all the data, it's because we trust the consensus view of climate scientists who do report on this, and as a result we accept as fact that climate change is occurring, is caused by human actions, and will cause catastrophic damage to human lives.

BUT HERE'S THE THING. Those same scientists also have just as much confidence in other aspects of this, and they've reported on it. So, if you're willing to accept the fact of climate change on the basis of trusting these scientific reports, you also need to accept as fact their other high-confidence statements. These are fully explained in this most recent report. Yes, this is maybe not the best news and it might not align with your own personal views on governance, but TOO FUCKING BAD cause we have a FUCKING PLANET to save and your personal views on it ARE NOT RELEVANT.

To wit, the linked report above is a Summary for Policymakers to try and convince them why we need to keep warming to 1.5C rather than 2C. The short version is that it's because we're headed for 2C or much higher if we do not act and this report is trying to strongly point out that we really ought to keep it to 1.5C because that alone requires a heretofore unseen scope of change in human activity, and 1.5C will already cause significant harm to the world, but far far less harm than exceeding 1.5C.

Look, the Green New Deal is just trying to actually follow the IPCC recommendations in this regard:
A.2.1. Anthropogenic emissions (including greenhouse gases, aerosols and their precursors) up to the present are unlikely to cause further warming of more than 0.5°C over the next two to three decades (high confidence) or on a century time scale (medium confidence). {1.2.4, Figure 1.5}

A.2.2. Reaching and sustaining net zero global anthropogenic CO2 emissions and declining net non-CO2 radiative forcing would halt anthropogenic global warming on multi-decadal timescales (high confidence). The maximum temperature reached is then determined by cumulative net global anthropogenic CO2 emissions up to the time of net zero CO2 emissions (high confidence) and the level of non-CO2 radiative forcing in the decades prior to the time that maximum temperatures are reached (medium confidence). On longer timescales, sustained net negative global anthropogenic CO2 emissions and/or further reductions in non-CO2 radiative forcing may still be required to prevent further warming due to Earth system feedbacks and to reverse ocean acidification (medium confidence) and will be required to minimize sea level rise (high confidence). {Cross-Chapter Box 2 in Chapter 1, 1.2.3, 1.2.4, Figure 1.4, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 3.4.4.8, 3.4.5.1, 3.6.3.2}
Translation into normal-people-talk: We are not yet totally fucked, but if we do not COMPLETELY STOP ADDING CO2 TO THE ATMOSPHERE AS SOON AS FUCKING POSSIBLE we will be fucked, and we get to choose between Superduper Fucked or Only Kinda Fucked IF WE TAKE DRASTIC ACTION.
B.3.1. Of 105,000 species studied, 6% of insects, 8% of plants and 4% of vertebrates are projected to lose over half of their climatically determined geographic range for global warming of 1°C, compared with 18% of insects, 16% of plants and 8% of vertebrates for global warming of 2°C (medium confidence). Impacts associated with other biodiversity-related risks such as forest fires and the spread of invasive species are lower at 1.5°C compared to 2°C of global warming (high confidence). {3.4.3, 3.5.2}
Translation: drastic action will result in LESS harm to LITERALLY ALL LIFE ON THE PLANET but we're gonna lose a whooooole bunch of ecosystems and the living things that rely on them.
B.5.2. Any increase in global warming is projected to affect human health, with primarily negative consequences (high confidence). Lower risks are projected at 1.5°C than at 2°C for heat-related morbidity and mortality (very high confidence) and for ozone-related mortality if emissions needed for ozone formation remain high (high confidence). Urban heat islands often amplify the impacts of heatwaves in cities (high confidence). Risks from some vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, are projected to increase with warming from 1.5°C to 2°C, including potential shifts in their geographic range (high confidence). {3.4.7, 3.4.8, 3.5.5.8}
Translation: Humans, specifically those living in cities, are going to be majorly fucked even if we take drastic action, above and beyond the fuckery suffered by rural humans.
B.5.4. Depending on future socio-economic conditions, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C may reduce the proportion of the world population exposed to a climate change-induced increase in water stress by up to 50%, although there is considerable variability between regions (medium confidence).
Translation: If we don't do something, billions of people are literally going to die of thirst. If we do something, we might reduce those deaths by half. Which would be really cool for people in the good half. Still, not so great. But them's the breaks.
C.1.4. Solar radiation modification (SRM) measures are not included in any of the available assessed pathways. Although some SRM measures may be theoretically effective in reducing an overshoot, they face large uncertainties and knowledge gaps as well as substantial risks and institutional and social constraints to deployment related to governance, ethics, and impacts on sustainable development. They also do not mitigate ocean acidification. (medium confidence). {4.3.8, Cross-Chapter Box 10 in Chapter 4}
Translation: Elon Musk blocking out the sun isn't going to work cause the oceans would still fucking die. Stop being ridiculous.
C.2. Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems (high confidence). These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options (medium confidence). {2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5}
Translation: The only way we have found to get to only 1.5C warming requires MASSIVE CHANGES TO EVERY FUCKING THING EVER. SO PLEASE GET ON THAT.
C.3.1. Existing and potential CDR measures include afforestation and reforestation, land restoration and soil carbon sequestration, BECCS, direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS), enhanced weathering and ocean alkalinization. These differ widely in terms of maturity, potentials, costs, risks, co-benefits and trade-offs (high confidence). To date, only a few published pathways include CDR measures other than afforestation and BECCS. {2.3.4, 3.6.2, 4.3.2, 4.3.7}
Translation: Elon Musk making some magic carbon-sucker device is totally irrelevant to solving this problem. Planting trees is definitely a good idea and works really fucking well. Cause they're fucking trees. Plant them. Stop tearing down existing trees.
D.5. Limiting the risks from global warming of 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication implies system transitions that can be enabled by an increase of adaptation and mitigation investments, policy instruments, the acceleration of technological innovation and behaviour changes (high confidence). {2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3.2, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 5.2, 5.5, 5.6}
Translation: We have to ELIMINATE POVERTY as part of solving climate change.

Really, just read the fucking document. Please.
posted by odinsdream at 10:08 AM on February 8 [22 favorites]


Push-back against the AOC-Markey resolution from the right has been fun to watch. I particularly love that Sen. John Barrasso, who regrettably heads up the environment committee, just came out and said he objects to "guaranteed food, housing, college, and economic security even for those who refuse to work."

interesting to see it coming from the 'radical' center, too -- or at least some people claiming it -- focusing on undermining GND's (apparent, but withdrawn?) MMT foundations :P
  • "This Green New Deal explainer by @drvox doesn't discuss the GND's guarantees of health care, housing, and education for all (or its promise of security for those 'unwilling to work', and says we should save the question of how to pay for it 'for later' ... Inevitably, explainers like this that soft-pedal all the incredible eye-popping economic demands of the GND and focus on the details of the environmental policies, will get most of the publicity, thus normalizing the economic craziness."
  • "In other words, the Green New Deal plan, as released by Ocasio-Cortez, definitely seems to include: 1) universal health care paid for by MMT; 2) trillions of dollars in infrastructure spending paid for by MMT; 3) economic security for those 'unwilling to work', paid for by MMT ... Oh, and affordable housing for every American, paid for by MMT."
  • "Hey, everyone! In light of today's Green New Deal FAQ promising economic security for people who are 'unwilling to work' ... Democrats Need to Decide If Work Matters: The party is getting pulled between those who want benefits tied to employment and those who don't."
The Modern Monetary Theory stuff in the hastily-withdrawn FAQ was a mistake; just say we're investing in ourselves because the alternative is a hell of a lot worse for the economy and humanity.

the thing that MMT lays bare is how to pay for things is less important than what you 'spend' it on -- that is direct real resources to, not the monetary accounting of it per se.

in other words:* "if an asteroid was about to crash into New York City, we wouldn't ask economists to create a poorly-founded model of its costs. We would tell NASA to do whatever it can to save us. Economists need to stop telling us what the program for change should be, but rather identify the most efficient means of implementing a program scientists already deem necessary."
posted by kliuless at 10:10 AM on February 8 [9 favorites]


Planting trees is definitely a good idea and works really fucking well. Cause they're fucking trees. Plant them.

Sadly, it may not be as good of an idea as we'd hope. :(

Jonathan Amos, BBC: America colonisation ‘cooled Earth's climate’
"And what we see from this study is the scale of what's required, because the Great Dying resulted in an area the size of France being reforested and that gave us only a few ppm. This is useful; it shows us what reforestation can do. But at the same, that kind of reduction is worth perhaps just two years of fossil fuel emissions at the present rate."
Sarah DeWeerdt, Anthropocene: We may be overestimating the carbon cleanup power of trees
[Two papers published in the past week] suggest that plants’ capacity to sop up excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is finite. After all, trees evolved for thousands of generations in an atmosphere containing less than 290 parts per million of carbon dioxide; current atmospheric carbon dioxide is at 405 parts per million. “There is a point at which the photosynthesis apparatus saturates,” says Boucher, comparing the situation to a person fed 6 meals a day rather than the usual 3. “The photosynthetic system just can’t take it anymore.”
posted by ragtag at 10:22 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Planting trees is definitely a good idea and works really fucking well.

Could a superplant save the planet?*
posted by kliuless at 10:49 AM on February 8


I'm still gonna just defer to the IPCC on this stuff.
posted by odinsdream at 10:52 AM on February 8


Trees have limited capacity to help but they sure don't fucking hurt. They won't save us but the moral of the IPCC report is that no one thing will save us.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:55 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


Mass tree planting can be seen as part of wilderness renewal.

“Notably missing in Reason's criticism of AOC's proposals for replacing some air travel with high-speed rail is any sign of awareness -- any whatsoever -- that the US civil aviation system was almost entirely a creation of the state built with taxpayer money and eminent domain. It's a lot like the way all their analysis of public transit and sprawl issues ignore the ways in which the federal govt, auto industry, urban planners and local real estate interests completely re-engineered the US around the car culture in the 20th century.“ @KevinCarson1
posted by The Whelk at 11:00 AM on February 8 [10 favorites]


I've sometimes wondered if the airlines could be enticed into also running train lines in some fashion. Doesn't have to be all Amtrak. Might reduce the friction of introducing high-speed rail if passenger airlines could make money off of rail too.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:05 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Trees are important, and more trees are in fact good, and mass replanting efforts should be a priority. However along with the reasons above for why they're not great for mass carbon capture, their carbon only remains captured as long as the tree is alive and it's therefore only a short term solution unless you carbon-neutrally dig a giant hole to bury the dead trees in.

Could a superplant save the planet?

This is how you get a peterwattsian North-America-smothered-in-superkudzu situation. Not saying that bio-geoengineering isn't something we'll eventually resort to out of desperation, but it'll have to be dire enough that it's worth the risk of continent-loss-scale downsides.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:06 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


The limitations of trees are one of the reasons I'm bullish about managed kelp farming.
posted by vibrotronica at 11:11 AM on February 8


unless you carbon-neutrally dig a giant hole to bury the dead trees in.


.....getting in on some massive composting instative to boost fertilization and build healthier soil without the use petrochemical fertilizers is ... an idea.
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


... and replace steel and concrete building styles with Cross Laminated Timber and Hempcrete. Lock that carbon into buildings.
posted by weed donkey at 11:32 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Oh! Also tall grass prairie sequesters more carbon than trees so restoring huge swathes of the Midwest as part of decarbonizating agriculture is a fun side project.
posted by The Whelk at 12:34 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]


Also tall grass prairie sequesters more carbon than trees so restoring huge swathes of the Midwest as part of decarbonizating agriculture is a fun side project.

This is not quite correct. It's pretty obvious to anyone's own eyes that there is a lot more carbon stored in a forest of trees than in prairie grass. But in the case of an unstable environment with increased drought and fires, prairie grass, in some situations, can be more effective in the long run because a smaller percentage of the carbon in prairie grass burns in a drought. That is not to say that prairie grass contains more carbon than forests. A stable, sustained forest contains much more carbon.
posted by JackFlash at 1:04 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


There are people in this country who are ready to take action on climate who do not feel the same way about the combined policies of a federal job guarantee, expanded union rights, a brand new leftist trade policy, smashing monopolies, universal health care, housing, economic security, clean water, air, food, and nature.

This. I am disappointed this plan contains proposals for policies that don't seem central to fixing global warming, and are obvious deal-breakers for many people. If universal healthcare is truly central to fixing global warming, that needs to be explained in terms any one can understand, and right now, it's not. These other, seemingly unrelated, proposals will lead many to conclude that the entire report is hogwash.
posted by xammerboy at 2:19 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


If universal healthcare is truly central to fixing global warming, that needs to be explained in terms any one can understand, and right now, it's not. These other, seemingly unrelated, proposals will lead many to conclude that the entire report is hogwash.

How about these terms: if we don't establish now that every person must be guaranteed a decent quality of life, we will guarantee later that some or most lives will be expendable once the crisis worsens and deepens. If we don't make clear now that there's enough to go around then we will approach the climate crisis from an attitude of scarcity, and in an existential planetary crisis a problem of scarcity will be solved with extermination. Aiming for Star Trek and not Mad Max is not too complicated to explain.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:42 PM on February 8 [22 favorites]


If the goverment is in the bank for healthcare costs then it makes sense to push for public transportation and pollution controls in order to lower rates of asthma and other diseases associated with pollution and the extraction industries - furthermore, treating something like cancer early uses fewer resources and costs down the line.

Also you should guve a damn about other people.
posted by The Whelk at 2:53 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]


I thought the idea that we should be consuming fewer animal products and resources as members of the first world in order to stave off environmental crisis was an inherent acknowledgment of scarcity.
posted by Selena777 at 2:53 PM on February 8


OMG everybody this Green New Deal might not actually be perfect!

I say we build a Perfection Golem and have it declare war on this Good Thing. They can be Bestest Enemies!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:55 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


I thought the idea that we should be consuming fewer animal products and resources as members of the first world in order to stave off environmental crisis was an inherent acknowledgment of scarcity.

I mean I haven't heard the argument that people should eat less meat because there isn't enough livestock to go around. Recognizing and encouraging the reduction of harmful behaviors isn't in and of itself an acknowledgment of scarcity.

Of course it is a fact that there are a limited number of atoms on the planet and a limited amount of the sun's energy that reaches it, etc, so literal scarcity does exist in the sense that matter and energy are not infinite. But so much of the problem is uneven distribution that scarcity framing usually serves capital. The minute you decide there isn't enough to go around is the minute you start thinking about who gets it and who doesn't.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:02 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


Furthermore, a joint Medicare For All/NGD plan might be say, ending the arachic corn subsidies that make the default cheap food sugary carbs, cutting back on large monoculture agribusiness that use lots of petrochemical fertilizer, and investing that money is smaller farms closer to the towns to reduce the amount spent in travel. Organic farms with sustainable practices eventually outperform traditional ones, they just require more years to get settled, so an investment scheme and makes sense - allow towns to access the fund to build farmers markets and co-ops, townwide CSAs! Down the line, fruit and vegetables become cheaper, (hey why not a universal snap program for that?), carbon use goes down, traditional and varietal breeds can reestablish, money stays in the communities and regional economies diversity, with the end goal of making everyone healthier.
posted by The Whelk at 3:03 PM on February 8 [6 favorites]


looks like AOC hit another nerve -- the narcissism of small difference? -- if the response to the GND 'bait and switch' is to separate out environmental policies and call the rest something else because marketing/optics, how serious is the complaint? besides, it isn't as if social and environmental justice aren't intersectional?
posted by kliuless at 3:26 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


The argument in the Twitter links doesn't sound like it's about "marketing and optics," though.
posted by Selena777 at 3:32 PM on February 8


I feel like the IPCC addresses this somewhat:
D.3.1. Adaptation options that reduce the vulnerability of human and natural systems have many synergies with sustainable development, if well managed, such as ensuring food and water security, reducing disaster risks, improving health conditions, maintaining ecosystem services and reducing poverty and inequality (high confidence). Increasing investment in physical and social infrastructure is a key enabling condition to enhance the resilience and the adaptive capacities of societies. These benefits can occur in most regions with adaptation to 1.5°C of global warming (high confidence).

D.3.2. Adaptation to 1.5°C global warming can also result in trade–offs or maladaptations with adverse impacts for sustainable development. For example, if poorly designed or implemented, adaptation projects in a range of sectors can increase greenhouse gas emissions and water use, increase gender and social inequality, undermine health conditions, and encroach on natural ecosystems (high confidence). These trade-offs can be reduced by adaptations that include attention to poverty and sustainable development (high confidence).
In short: helping vulnerable people and reducing poverty and inequality will help us adapt to the effects of 1.5°C warming. Improving our social infrastructure makes us more resilient. And other ways of adapting to 1.5°C warming could worsen inequality if the impacts aren't managed properly. Establishing that at the outset is vital to doing this in a just way, and GND does that. Specifically, GND proposes five goals: net-zero emissions, jobs and prosperity, infrastructure investment, clean air+water/resiliency/healthy food/nature/sustainability, and justice and equity. It proposes to achieve these goals through a series of projects ranging from renewable energy to universal health care.

That's all great, but those sections of the IPCC are all about adaptation to 1.5°C warming. That's the goal. 1.5°C warming causes a whole bunch of bad stuff, and we need to do things to adapt in a way that doesn't hurt the most vulnerable. To even be lucky enough to have that problem, the IPCC tells us that we have to take the enormous measures required to limit emissions first. Because otherwise we have 2.0°C warming or worse. As a blueprint, GND doesn't really say anything about how we're going to do that. Which is fine, it's not that detailed of a policy, and no non-crazy person is going to disagree with the idea that we should aspire to do it somehow in some unspecified way. But it's also 2019, and "renewable energy plan TBD" is an entirely unacceptable answer at this stage in the game for what the Democratic Party is calling a plan to reverse climate change (see, for instance, California, which has been setting and meeting renewable energy goals for years, maybe too slowly, but doing it). When everyone's more excited about the job guarantee and the housing guarantee than the net zero emissions bit, that's a problem for me. Because it's probably easier to MMT our way to Medicare for All than it is to get to net zero emissions (dozens of countries have established successful and popular universal health care systems, none have figured out how to decarbonize).

Also you should guve a damn about other people.

Please don't do this. It's totally valid to believe we need to take immediate and enormous action on both climate and universal health care. Asking why it's the best strategy to combine them in a single policy is not the same thing as wanting people to die.

So when is the revolution coming? Do we need a DSA Congress to do this?

Because we have to reduce emissions right now, and we can't reduce emissions by giving people health care or jobs. We can't reduce emissions by redirecting concrete from the border wall to building roads. We can invest in the technologies and infrastructure we'll need to get the job done, but investment alone doesn't stop emissions. We need policy that directly results in the stuff we all do, the stuff business and industry does, putting less carbon into the atmosphere. All the social policy on top of that is about mitigation and resilience for everyone who will bear the brunt of the carbon we didn't stop. It's about mitigation for the people who relied on the industries we can't have anymore if we want to have a livable climate.

I don't oppose that. And saying right up front "this is what we want" is how we make sure we don't lose sight of that vision when it comes time to decide who gets thrown under the bus. But it also doesn't provide any practical guidance on our plan to stop burning all this carbon. A candidate who endorses the Green New Deal as a plan for climate change has not really endorsed a plan for climate change; they've merely acknowledged we need a decarbonization plan and signed onto a series of mitigation measures. And I feel like the mitigation strategies have been getting all the attention and the headlines, and the actual zero-carbon part, the key thing we have to do for any of this to be remotely successful, is getting lost and is undefined amid that.
posted by zachlipton at 3:54 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


(dozens of countries have established successful and popular universal health care systems, none have figured out how to decarbonize)

Ok, in fairness. Bhutan: I'm so sorry I forgot you
posted by zachlipton at 3:57 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


The argument in the Twitter links doesn't sound like it's about "marketing and optics," though.

the argument is: "'Just transition' and 'saving the planet' are two separate things, and even though they're both good things, I want advocates of the Green New Deal to stop pretending they are the SAME thing." (sprinkled with caveated-strawman MMT bad)

instead?
More international focus
More technology focus
Keep infrastructure and retrofitting
Add (rebated) carbon tax
Add density incentives
Add nuclear
Subtract job guarantee and basic income
Keep M4A and college subsidies
Add taxes on the rich
which great, everyone has their preferred policies, priorities and sequencing -- and enacting any one of them is a challenge! -- but that's just like your opinion man :P
posted by kliuless at 4:32 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's just opinion that some of these policies address reducing our carbon emissions and some reducing the negative impact of global warming on society. It would be less confusing if they were in separate parts of the report, but, since the latter part would touch upon all the other hot button issues of our time, by including them you're running the risk that no one will pay attention to the part about reducing carbon emissions.
posted by xammerboy at 5:39 PM on February 8


Noah Smith's opinion seems to be that since the strictly environmental aspects of the GND and its other pillars are "two separate things," the whole program is a "bait-and-switch" -- "It's pretty clearly just a way of forcing an up-or-down vote on the entire DSA agenda as one package deal, and then claiming the whole package is necessary to save the planet." So because the left is using the climate emergency as a stalking horse to pass their dream bundle of policies, "every Democrat's answer to the question "Do you support the Green New Deal?" should be "NO.""

Ie, if the cost of saving the world is a coalition with the left that allows them to also pass a bunch of socialist stuff, Smith would rather the world burn.
posted by chortly at 6:34 PM on February 8 [8 favorites]


Somehow The Economist managed to entirely miss the point on this one, in what reads like an angry blog post.

Why bundle together the seemingly unrelated issues of climate change and economic inequality? To some, the appeal rests in political economy. Any plan to free an industrialised economy from fossil-fuel dependence will create losers. To succeed politically, it must mobilise groups of winners more powerful and passionate than those losers. Plans to tax carbon and pay out the revenue as a dividend may seem appealing; what voter could resist cash rebates?

To others, the Green New Deal is something more revolutionary. Roosevelt saw the Depression as both a threat to liberal democracy and the product of an economic system that put profits ahead of the welfare of the working man. Similarly, left-wing activists view climate change as the result of unbridled capitalism. They aim to solve it by redistributing economic and political power.

Which climate solution would not involve participation from the majority? How is the link between capitalism and climate change so opaque as to attribute the idea to "left-wing activists?"

This depressingly narrow yet mainstream mindset is what irks me more than the bury-my-head-in-the-sand ignoramuses. The perpetual barrage of research on how quickly and broadly this is going to hurt us, and the only solution they can come up with is a carbon tax. The Arrogant Middle clings so desperately to corporatism it's blind to how climate change answers are redistributive just by nature. Public transit, local materials sourcing, urban density. None of those solutions work with an entrenched political class.

That's why I'm grateful to see how quickly the narrative has focused on the Green New Deal. If the window of debate for a climate solution is so narrow and weak as it stands today, we need to shift the window hard.
posted by hexaflexagon at 6:48 PM on February 8 [11 favorites]


Noah Smith's opinion seems to be that since the strictly environmental aspects of the GND and its other pillars are "two separate things," the whole program is a "bait-and-switch" -- "It's pretty clearly just a way of forcing an up-or-down vote on the entire DSA agenda as one package deal, and then claiming the whole package is necessary to save the planet."

I mean, I don't think that's an entirely absurd reading, to a rather limited degree. Here's Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's website from the campaign. Top issues include Medicare For All, Housing as a human right, a jobs guarantee, and mobilization against climate change. The bit about climate change is three vague paragraphs, and the actual decarbonization policy expressed therein amounts to we should have 100% renewable energy by 2035, electric vehicles, sustainable home heating, and rooftop solar, with no further specifics as to the policies to achieve this goal.

So we get the Green New Deal, and it's "zero carbon, plus all the other stuff that happen to be my top policies," and you're branded not serious about climate if you don't support it, if not an outright denier. Here's then-Rep-elect Ocasio-Cortez explaining how the pieces are linked:
“It’s inevitable that we will create jobs. We can use the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social and racial justice in the United States of America.”
The climate policy is a means to an end. It's a good end, a great end even, but the anticipated enjoyment of the end starts to overshadow the immediate flaming emergency of dealing with the climate, without which we will have a much worse end. Where you start to lose me is where this is coming from someone with an incredible track record of talking about justice and equality, and little to no record on decarbonization, someone who talks about building more roads but not about reducing vehicle miles traveled or renewable portfolio standards, I get worried that people are way, way more into the new deal part than the green part, which has pretty much amounted to everyone expressing their feelings about nuclear energy and the positive attributes of trains (trains are great).

Now Smith is also wrong, because climate and equality are also inexorably linked, and the GND calls for a just transition to manage that. Decarbonization without climate justice is not just wrong, but politically unfeasible. But when the form of the climate justice you propose happens to be exactly your other domestic policy priorities, people are going to ask "why these policies in particular?" Was there a process that determined that universal health care was the best component of a climate change impact mitigation strategy?

So why care? What's the harm if, oops, we accidentally created a better society while fixing the climate and looked good doing it? Nothing, if it all succeeds. This is, as you say, about building coalitions. There are some political questions here: if health insurance companies are going to treat the GND as an existential threat to their businesses, what does that do to the likelihood of getting to zero emissions in time? Smith asks why the cost of saving the world has to be centrists joining a coalition with the left. The left asks why centrists won't save the world and build a better society at the same time. What I wonder about is that there are lots of self-interested jerks who vote in this country who might, maybe, with enough persuasion and protests and school strikes and education, be motivated to do something about the climate because they don't want their houses to be underwater or on fire and maybe their kids badgered them into it. These are the same people who are unlikely, sadly, to demonstrate equal motivation for a federal housing or jobs guarantee. And if those people are being explicitly excluded from the coalition, is there a large enough coalition left to be able to immediately implement GND policies?
posted by zachlipton at 11:45 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


not to make it a generational thing, but when it comes to building coalitions (you think will pass GND legislation in 2021), it kinda depends on how many (reliable, but more conservative?) boomers you lose vs. (less reliable?) millennials you bring on and whether that gets you through opposition regardless.

personally, i think exciting the left's emerging 'base' at the risk of alienating entrenched interests -- which (in part) got us here! -- is a fine gambit. i'm willing to be persuaded otherwise, but i've found attacks so far against basic income, job guarantees and MMT unconvincing, but i'm biased :P

anyway, for those rooted in the past, maybe look back to the future?
posted by kliuless at 3:56 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


To me, so many of the objections to the GND in this thread boil down to "I'm afraid it tries to do too much good and people will be afraid of that so we'd better pre-compromise". Instantly watering down your proposals has been the strategy of the Democratic Party for half a century, and look where it's gotten us. Loudly and proudly promoting a radical but obviously beneficial and easy to understand vision for a better future... That's something they haven't really tried. I think the evidence of recent history suggests that this is a moment to be bold, not a moment to shrink away.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:00 AM on February 9 [28 favorites]


It feels like an odd argument when stuff like universal healthcare polls really well and has been rising since it became a talking point.
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 AM on February 9 [7 favorites]


[One deleted - let's skip the needlessly-making-it-personal framing, it'll tend to tank the discussion and it's perfectly possible to make the same points without that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:52 AM on February 9


Why bundle together the seemingly unrelated issues of climate change and economic inequality?

Great, so by the same token we can decouple the fixes for climate change and concern for the revenues of energy companies. Is there anything inconsistent in that? I don't think so, but I'm not a lawyer, economist, environmental scientist, nor Bloomberg opinion writer.
posted by rhizome at 9:02 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


So we get the Green New Deal, and it's "zero carbon, plus all the other stuff that happen to be my top policies," and you're branded not serious about climate if you don't support it, if not an outright denier.

Again, the IPCC report is just as clear on these points as it is on the fact that climate crisis is happening and worsening. Yes, they happen to be AOC's priorities as well, not because these are pet issues she personally wants to do, but because they are actually what we need to do to fix our system that is killing the planet.

Capitalism is literally not compatible with the survival of our species. We actually can't just continue to reward the behaviour that is killing the planet just because it makes a vanishingly small portion of the population feel powerful.

Climate change deniers refuse to accept the scientific consensus on climate change due to their personal biases.

Progressives run the risk of doing the same thing by accepting only part of the findings, but distancing themselves from the rest because of an unfounded fear of "socialism."
posted by odinsdream at 9:11 AM on February 9 [15 favorites]


It boggles my mind that left derides the straightforward policy of charging corporations for the toxins that they're pouring into the atmosphere as milquetoast neoliberalism. I'm all for social and economic justice, and building infrastructure, and investing in sustainable technologies, but as far as actual climate change is concerned, the main target variable has to be actual CO2 emissions.

After all, which is really better from an emissions-control point of view, buying a new Tesla or continuing to drive your ten-year-old Corolla? That's a genuinely hard problem, and a carbon tax that applies to every step of production and consumption is the only way I can see to actually tackle it. I love the ambition of the GND, but I'm sad that a straightforward emphasis on increasing the cost of pollution is not a key component.
posted by rishabguha at 9:50 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Maybe because we only have a few literal years to stop literally all CO2 output at all, and just making it very expensive doesn't actually even step towards that goal?
posted by odinsdream at 10:07 AM on February 9 [8 favorites]


The typical neoliberal tinkering around the edges of the market hasn't solved any real problems yet and I don't expect it to start now. Make it more expensive to emit CO2 and the corporations are still going to emit just as much CO2 while they scheme and lobby their way out of paying the fines. It does nothing.

You're talking about using a feather to break down a wall. We need a sledgehammer.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 10:12 AM on February 9 [9 favorites]


"Capitalism is literally not compatible with the survival of our species."

I wonder how well that polls.
posted by Selena777 at 10:20 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Those of us who understand this is a civilization-ending event will need to fight those who don't if they refuse to take action just cause it doesn't make them feel good. It would be much easier to just all work together on what's actually true and obvious.
posted by odinsdream at 10:31 AM on February 9 [8 favorites]


I wonder how well that polls.

"Would you rather have capitalism or socialism" would likely get different results than "Would you rather keep your riding mower or have your kids not all die prematurely from climate-change-related causes." Except among Republicans.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:30 AM on February 9 [8 favorites]


How many Democrat congressman and senators would sign on to a resolution that calls for ending global warming? Probably all of them. How many will sign on to a resolution that calls for ending global warming and capitalism? Probably none of them.
posted by xammerboy at 11:32 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]


How many will sign on to a resolution that calls for ending global warming and capitalism? Probably none of them.

If they put the preservation of capitalism above the continued existence of a biosphere then it's primary time, baby
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:35 AM on February 9 [11 favorites]


The pollies that won't sign on to the socialist deal will never actually support the radical transformation required, unless through inadequate incrementalism which simultaneously alienates working people by making them pay for the mistakes of capital
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:36 AM on February 9 [6 favorites]


Are there contemporary or recent historical examples of socialist or other non-capitalist economic systems being implemented in large countries? If so, what are their environmental track records?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:42 AM on February 9


It really seems to be a problem of educating people about the reality and the level of threat we face so they actually support action that's going to fix it. This is far beyond political systems we have ever had before.
posted by odinsdream at 11:50 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Look we can't do this thing thread after thread where after making arguments that capitalism is not viable, someone asks for an explanation of all socialist theory and history.

As much as I love talking socialism, if people are really curious and not just going "but Cuba/Venezuela/USSR" like a reactionary troll most anywhere else on the internet, there's myriad works already out there, libraries and libraries exploring the history of socialist projects, challenges faced, mistakes made and plans to do better. A lot of it's been linked on MetaFilter before.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:52 AM on February 9 [14 favorites]


Smith asks why the cost of saving the world has to be centrists joining a coalition with the left. The left asks why centrists won't save the world and build a better society at the same time. What I wonder about is that there are lots of self-interested jerks who vote in this country who might, maybe, with enough persuasion and protests and school strikes and education, be motivated to do something about the climate because they don't want their houses to be underwater or on fire and maybe their kids badgered them into it.

This has been covered a bit by other responses, but in addition to the broader argument that the capitalist system is fundamentally unable to achieve what needs doing, the more immediate argument is that, whether or not the current capitalist system is conceivably capable of it, the centrist and "self-interested jerks" have had a long go of it and have shown absolutely no sign of doing anything whatsoever. The only serious plan in the offing is coming from the left, and even the half-measures earlier in the decade have only come from the left. There is no movement coming from the center that the left can join, notwithstanding whatever promised proposal Smith lays out in some threaded tweets this weekend.

As I've said in the previous thread on this in December, I personally think that there are definitely grand, trillion-dollar policies we could enact that nevertheless don't entail reconstructing capitalism into socialism -- eg, those described here. But if anything, those more narrowly-targeted policies are actually less likely to build the coalition we need to pass this kind of stuff. There's a good argument to be made that the only feasible path to this will either involve sweeping the "self-interested jerks" and centrists aside, or sweeping them up in the enthusiasm. Unless it is on a fundamentally different scale that what we have seen heretofore, more protests and school strikes and the like are no more likely to do the job in the future than they have in the past. And narrow fear-mongering (accurate though it may be!) doesn't seem likely to motivate trillion-dollar movements as much as a broad, positive program that has ambitions and rewards beyond just preserving the status quo from destruction.
posted by chortly at 12:47 PM on February 9 [9 favorites]


that nevertheless don't entail reconstructing capitalism into socialism

I would (vehemently!) encourage not adopting the "either/or" framing. I'm sure you don't see things this way, but in general, the deal as I see it is to enact more social policies. Social Democracy. Forget about "socialism," it's a non-starter (and like "communism," an ideology that will always be failed).

We have examples of working Social Democracies all around the world, and really, any country that has a better social safety-net and a political class that is not always chasing the dollar is "socialist" compared to the US, but not capital-s Socialist, they're just Social Democracies. And heck, aligning lexically with them might even get us to weaken the President and move toward a parliamentary model.

Even so, I don't care if it doesn't roll off the tongue. Rather than trying to rehabilitate "socialist" to make it palatable to more people who are already predisposed to hate it, "social democracy" uses words that people already like. It also doesn't posit itself as an exclusionary extreme, which I think is the more important problem of the word "socialism."

I don't know how DSA fits into this mindset I have, but I generally think of them as starting before the current momentum and can thereby be "forgiven." But I do think they'll have to have a conceptual transformation at some point if they want the seats at the table that they deserve.
posted by rhizome at 2:31 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


>I would kind of like to know what happened to the FAQ on AOC's website

Here you go. Bottom line, the original FAQ aspired to financial security for those "unable or unwilling to work" (emphasis mine). This was obviously going to be an impediment to selling the deal.


From Ocasio-Cortez's Chief of Staff:
Regarding all the errant FAQ, TLDR is to read the resolution to see what people actually signed on to. We did this in collaboration with a bunch of groups and offices over the course of the last month. As a part of that process, there were multiple iterations, brainstorming docs, FAQs, etc. that we shared. Some of these early drafts got leaked.
...
There separately IS a doctored FAQ floating around. And an early draft of a FAQ that was clearly unfinished and that doesn’t represent the GND resolution got published to the website by mistake (idea was to wait for launch, monitor q's, and rewrite that FAQ before publishing).
...
Mistakes happen when doing time launches like this coordinating multiple groups and collaborators. It's hard to have both a transparent and open process with many stakeholders while keeping all info locked down. But what’s in the resolution is the GND.
It's not clear how to reconcile 'early draft of a FAQ...got published to the website by mistake' with copies being sent directly from Ocasio-Cortez's office to NPR and to several other journalists at other institutions for them to report on, embargoed until the bill was made public; but I don't think it ultimately matters very much -- the bottom line is 'a mistake was made.' There might be some PR-spin happening about the exact nature and timing of the mistake, or there might not, but it amounts to (substantively) the same thing: the current proposal with the most current buy-in is the resolution as introduced.
posted by cjelli at 2:42 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


This may be the most bracing 3 minutes and 20 seconds you can spend watching video today or most any day. Greta Thunberg full speech at UN Climate Change COP24 Conference. If that is not your bag, there is also a TED talk. She was a guest on a podcast (episode 4), and she has been written up in plenty of articles. Her message is a good message. "We do need hope—of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere."

Some days I think maybe the best use of my time would be spending a Friday with this young stranger on the steps of Sweden's Parliament and holding a sign that says "Grandmas For Climate Action" or something. Right now I think we have to do all the things–all the things–and see what works.
posted by Bella Donna at 4:11 PM on February 9 [12 favorites]


The media needs to step up its game. Forbes has a piece on some ways to do that.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:13 PM on February 9


When we argue about the merits of particular details, we legitimize the thing being argued about

Way upthread, but this this this.

Anecdotally, I was at a DSA meeting a few weeks ago where everyone wanted to talk about the Green New Deal, and of course the elephant in the room was that the government was fucking shut down at the time. Nobody was going to get any sort of deal, because Mr. "Art of the Deal" has filled what government positions he's even bothered to fill with sycophantic racist scum who are among other things actively working against any sort of regulatory response to climate change.

From an actual policy-that-can-get-passed perspective the Green New Deal is simply not going to happen right now, really I promise it's not. Probably as proposed it will never happen. But we have to keep talking about it, because every single chucklehead that has some canned kneejerk "well why's it so cold right now hurf hurf global warming my ass" has to keep getting whacked on the head every single time they jerk a knee. And every Obama liberal has to confront the fact that their individual lifestyle choices are not going to be enough to stop climate change. There will have to be state level responses for any of this to change, and this stuff is pushing the conversation in the right direction. Industries that anticipate regulation often even start self-regulating.

However exhausting I find the pie-in-the-sky naivete that often characterizes this sort of thing (and I do; good lord there are a lot of "bright young things" in the DC DSA), I'm really glad this is getting traction.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:16 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


Maybe because we only have a few literal years to stop literally all CO2 output at all, and just making it very expensive doesn't actually even step towards that goal?

Making it very expensive means some companies will stop, which provides leverage to push the "just pay it" companies into stopping. A carbon tax that persuades some companies to find zero-emissions methods means those companies can be used as examples to pass laws that ban all emissions - "hey look, GreenFactory here can do this! No more excuses that it can't be done--Chevron/Dow/Murray, it's your turn next!"

It also gives money to make the transitions to the gov't, while its in the process of requiring major changes. Carbon taxes allow us to strip off coal/petrochem profits to make the infrastructural changes needed, and once the tax is established, it can be increased until the company has to change or dissolve--and change will be more compelling if consumer systems have changed to greener ones.

It's not enough, and may be we don't have time for it, but it's not causing additional damage to require carbon taxes. As long as we push the fact that this is part of the transition, not part of the solution, they're useful.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:32 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


Are there contemporary or recent historical examples of socialist or other non-capitalist economic systems being implemented in large countries? If so, what are their environmental track records?


Debating whether this or that nation's policies qualify them as socialist or capitalist is a gross waste of time, which is why there is so much of it going on in dorm rooms around the world, and on the internet.

For the moment, let's say "socialist" means "anything that moves economic decision making from the purview of private entities acting in a market to the purview of some level of government or some form of parliamentary process."

By that standard of measure, lots and lots of countries are "socialist" in comparison to the United States. And if we use the change in CO2 emissions as a standard of measure, we can actually get something quasi objective as to whether they've accomplished something about global warming.

USSR? Hell no. The entire Soviet block pointedly ignored the issue.
Post-Soviet Russia: the less said, the better.

China? Until recently, no better than Russia. Now that the CCP is intending to cut coal use, we'll see. (This if being decided by an elite in Beijing that gives nary a fuck about working Chinese, so some of you will bristle about them being called "socialist", but the new energy policy is a government fiat - ergo socialist.)

Britain? The Labour Party is being productive about global warming, but only because Thatcher crushed the coal miners so hard that Labour mutated into Nulabor, and even when and if it resumes being a Labour Party, coal miners are no longer a major constituency. This is an Achilles heel of any left wing party that's a labor party - that is one that relies on the exercise of union activism to wield power alongside the power of the ballot box: if coal or oil jobs are a source of union power, you cannot be relied upon to accomplish anything in regards to global warming.

So what's left? Well, there's the European Union and Germany: a bunch of technocrats who are actually getting emissions down without imposing hardship on the population. This is a government-driven policy, ergo socialist by my definition, but done by technocrats who know more about how markets operate than all the Koch-funded pundits put together. Actual socialists are justified in bristling about me calling those guys socialist. Call them what you like, however. They actually are getting shit done.
posted by ocschwar at 8:42 PM on February 10 [8 favorites]


Your definition of socialism could use some work! Socialism as an ideology is not at all predicated on strong state action. In fact, many libertarian socialists like Murray Bookchin don't believe the state should even exist.

Socialism is very broad and hard to define, but if you wanted a simplistic catch-all definition, it'd be much more accurate to say that socialists want to reduce the influence of unjust hierarchy on human society by empowering the least empowered members of society in pursuit of a more egalitarian and rational economy and governance.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:33 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


Thus, if you wanted to play the game of identifying which countries are most or least "socialist", you'd be better off considering how extreme and ossified their class structure is, how much of a social safety net exists, how empowered their workers are, how racist and sexist their governance is, how imperialist they are, and how much exploitation exists in the social relations that undergird their society.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:43 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


I live in Sweden, a social democracy (whatever that means but it is objectively more democratic in a variety of ways than the US system). Sweden has a good if not excellent record on climate change action. Even so, debating capitalism vs socialism vs social democracy vs whatever is a derail to this discussion and to the planet, and will not help resolve any part of this crisis IMHO.

There are political considerations, of course. When it comes to the US, getting Trump and as many Republicans out of political office as possible will be a huge step in the right direction. Because we need bold, ballsy politicians and feisty public servants (ideally not recruited from the industries they used to work in) to combat this stuff. Nixon was willing to support the landmark Clean Water Act. Not so the Republicans in national office today.

I find it somewhat comforting that the US has tackled big problems before and had many environmental victories but often it took many more years than we can afford this round. Consider the ban of lead from gasoline (from the first link above):

In 1974, the EPA began a phaseout of lead from gasoline in the U.S., a process that completed in 1995. The toxic element was originally added to boost engine performance, but scientists eventually discovered that it was building up in soils and becoming a serious air pollutant. The EPA estimated more than 5,000 Americans died per year from heart disease linked to lead poisoning. Since the ban, the average level of lead in the blood of Americans has decreased by more than 75%.

Changing the formulation of gasoline was an incredible win for the environment and public health. It was not an easy sell but it did happen eventually. Even more comforting is the fact that many years ago the world's nations came together to ban all ozone-depleting substances.

... scientists started realizing that CFCs were widening a gaping hole in the Earth’s ozone layer, an essential shield for life on this planet against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. CFCs’ chlorine molecules initiate ozone-destroying chemical reactions and allow UV radiation through to the surface. The world came together in 1987 to sign the Montreal Protocol, a pact that effectively banned all ozone-depleting substances, including CFCs. Signed by every nation in the U.N., “the Montreal Protocol is famous for being the world’s most successful environmental treaty,” says Durwood Zaelke, the founder and president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. “It’s done more than any other treaty to protect the climate. It’s kept the climate system from disaster.”

Last year scientists realized that the ban was not being observed. The Environmental Investigation Agency tracked down the culprits: Chinese producers—at least 18 companies in 10 provinces—had found ways to dodge legal compliance and continue to use CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane). So that sucks. But perhaps the way(s) in which the Montreal Protocol came about (a topic of which I am ignorant) is a potential model for some of the work ahead of us.

When we argue about the merits of particular details, we legitimize the thing being argued about.

Nthing this. Criticism is a form of respect. So by all means, let us argue about the merits of particular details large and small when it comes to the Green New Deal and related topics. But fuck the capitalism vs socialism debate in this context. Ain't nobody got time for that shit. We have a planet to save. Or not.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:11 AM on February 11 [13 favorites]


fuck the capitalism vs socialism debate in this context.

And in general; socialist praxis plus ambitious leftist policy is a lot more likely to have positive environmental effects (and requires less implicit violence) under current conditions/zeitgeist than smashing the state and seizing the means of production, either of which seem pretty likely to be incredibly environmentally destructive.

I mean, unless people seize the means of production to y'know, close the factories.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:22 PM on February 11 [7 favorites]


demonstrating how the politics of overton window shifting works, here is an 'alternative' GND :P based partly on @ramez's ideas (and expressly _not_ MMT ;) now folks are talking about a Green Marshall Plan internationally!
posted by kliuless at 3:26 AM on February 13


That alternative green new deal is such bullshit. It replaces "costly new entitlements" aka the same social safety net that most other western democracies have with... speculative research? Like, I think we should put more money into alternative energy research, but unfortunately that doesn't help us now, and we need to tackle the problem now. The technology already exists to eliminate fossil fuel consumption, we just need the social and political will to do it.
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:59 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


That alternative green new deal is such bullshit. It replaces "costly new entitlements" aka the same social safety net that most other western democracies have with... speculative research?

The specific bits the author objects to are jobs guarantees, basic income, and guaranteed housing which are specific kinds of social safety nets that most western democracies do not currently have (in combination); it also includes explicit calls for increased taxes on the rich, including changes to capital gains, and possibly a wealth tax, which the GND resolution does not actually discuss.

The details in the Bloomberg piece are worth reading - not just research, but government research that's free of IP issues and freely distributed globally; carbon taxes "rebated to low-income Americans, either as a carbon dividend, or through earned income tax credits, child tax credits, food stamps, housing vouchers and income support for the elderly and disabled" to expand American's current social safety nets; universal health insurance through the government, not through your workplace; and increased spending on education, on green jobs, and on infrastructure.

It's probably better to read this as a specific proposal for how to implement the goals called for under the GND resolution than as an alternative to the GND resolution -- as the resolution moves from sweeping language about goals towards (hopefully) actual legislation in the future, there are going to be discussions about how exactly to " to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century," for example -- this proposal explicitly calls for replacing all fossil-fuel energy plants and retaining nuclear power plants to help make the transition to solar, wind, etc, as needed, which is a point that the sponsors of the GND resolution (rightly, I think) chose not to address in the resolution.

These compromises might not be the right compromises, but some compromises will certainly happen: I'm doubtful that every goal in the GND will make its way into any one bill in the future in a way that's going to satisfy every sponsor or every American and be passed into law, because the GND resolution is explicitly a broad, inspiring vision. It needs to be that to inspire people, and to keep citizens focused on the fact that we're working towards the same goal, even if we compromise with each other here or there on the exact path to get there.
posted by cjelli at 8:39 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


To not abuse the edit window: I think the tl;dr on that alternative proposal is less 'cuts social safety nets' and more 'increases social safety nets in different ways that the GND does.' That's obviously a compromise, but it's one that would be a huge improvement on the status quo -- it's a (hypothetical) compromise within the Democratic party, not a compromise with the Right.
posted by cjelli at 8:42 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


I'm familiar with Noah Smith. He exists entirely to watch out for any social reforms with potential to threaten our society's power structures and water them down into something "sensible" that will accomplish tiny portions of the original goal without threatening the ruling classes in any way.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:54 AM on February 13 [7 favorites]


The specific bits the author objects to are jobs guarantees, basic income, and guaranteed housing which are specific kinds of social safety nets that most western democracies do not currently have (in combination); it also includes explicit calls for increased taxes on the rich, including changes to capital gains, and possibly a wealth tax, which the GND resolution does not actually discuss.

Yes, this explicitly what I'm objecting too. It's called the Green New Deal, as in the original New Deal which in part was a massive federal jobs program. And, as you say, there's a lot of non-specific language in the GND resolution, which means it could include increased money for research, a carbon tax, progressive taxation, etc. So, this "alternative" proposal is nothing but an attempt to cut the heart out the GND by removing anything that smells too much like socialism to whoever this yahoo is.

Some more specific objections:

If the U.S. can discover cheap ways of manufacturing cement and concrete without carbon emissions, and of reducing emissions from agriculture, it will give developing countries a way to reduce carbon output without threatening their economic growth[...]

I am 100% for increased budgets for government funded research into all areas (except defense). I work for a large federal science and technology organization that I would love to see have its budget increased 1000 fold. But, the operative word here is if these things can be discovered. Not only that, but its if they can be discovered in time. Climate change is a ticking clock and we need to do something about it yesterday. Absolutely we should be doing as much research as we can to reduce emissions, but this is not a solution to climate change now.

By avoiding huge open-ended commitments like a federal job guarantee or universal basic income, and by including progressive tax increases, it would avoid the threat of excessive budget deficits.

Please see the rest of this damn thread for all the reason that "but the deficit!" type objections are, for the most part, bullshit.

On preview, yes, Noah Smith person seems real bent on not upsetting the capitalist order for no good reason.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:14 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


Like, just as an example we give the fossil fuel industry 20 billion in subsidizes. When a government wants something to happen it can make it happen.
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


McConnell: Senate will vote on the Green New Deal
Republican lawmakers challenged Democrats to back up their support for the "Green New Deal" on Tuesday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he plans to bring the ambitious resolution to the Senate floor and conservatives in the House pressing for a vote in their chamber.

The move by McConnell is an attempt to use the plan spearheaded by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to paint Democrats — including a half dozen presidential challengers —as far to the left of the American public in their support for a measure Republicans have derided as a "socialist fantasy."
posted by xammerboy at 10:53 AM on February 13




McConnell: Senate will vote on the Green New Deal

Wow turtle really is pretty sure/full of himself. I do hope we see that fucker get his comeuppance, as unlikely as it seems.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:14 PM on February 13




Here Salt Lake Trib's Pat Bagley does it again.
posted by Oyéah at 9:52 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Having attacked Noah Smith upthread before he released his alternative proposal, the interesting thing about it, now that it's out, is that it's not actually a "skinny" climate bill at all. That is, his argument on Twitter was that the GND was climate stuff plus a bunch of "separate" lefty wishlist policies, and that as long it was structured that way, one should oppose the whole thing. Putting aside the factual, strategic, or normative merits of that argument, what's notable about his new proposal is that (a) it too quite explicitly includes "sweeteners," things that he himself claims are not directly related to climate (such as healthcare), and (b) he has also stripped out many of the major climate policies needed to actually save the environment. There are long-standing empirical estimates of the CO2 reductions that various of his proposals would make, and if you add them all together, even if implemented exactly as he proposes they do not remotely sum to the reductions necessary. These estimates are pretty well known -- hell, the NYT had a nice interactive piece on a lot of this stuff just yesterday -- so to omit any talk of the estimated impacts of his various proposals is either astounding ignorance for someone engaging with this issue on the national stage, or outright deception. While disagreeing with him, I at least took him at his word that he believed climate policy should be separated from other leftwing policies, but that seems mistaken: he neither wants a climate bill that's separate from other stuff, nor does he want actual climate policies sufficient to the need. Which I guess just means he's another bullshitter.
posted by chortly at 9:03 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Again, look to Louisiana for a state ecological program that tries to restore the ecology while maintaining massive economic inequality. Pipeline after oil pipeline is being laid on top of ecological restoration area after ecological restoration area because, although the united states has this silo d ecological program in Louisiana, it fails to confront the social issues that give fossil fuel companies so much leverage in the first place.

I would argue that, given our experience in the United States, ecological restoration without acknowledging social issues is the real bait and switch.
posted by eustatic at 8:39 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


How to decarbonize America — and the world - "Congress ought to accelerate the deployment of autonomous cars on the nation's roads. Why?"
Some calculations show that an autonomous electric taxi, by 2025, could cost 35 cents per mile. That’s 1/10th of what a taxi costs, 1/5th of what a Lyft or UberX costs today, and half the cost of owning and operating your own car. That lower cost would cause even more rapid switching to electric transport fleets, as currently-owned gasoline vehicles increasingly sat unused, or saved for long-distance trips or other scenarios. Some studies find that, even at twice that price, as much as 40% of miles driven would switch to these electric fleets.
also btw...
Google's Waymo risks repeating Silicon Valley's most famous blunder - "Google's moonshot projects (self-driving cars here) may be falling into the traps and patterns that famously made Xerox PARC into Moses, guiding others to a land of milk and honey it could not itself enter."
posted by kliuless at 6:19 AM on February 16


Why can everywhere else in the world build high speed rail but not America? Why can pipelines be built but not public transit?

It’s cause America is massively, cartoonishly corrupt
posted by The Whelk at 1:14 PM on February 16 [3 favorites]




Making it very expensive means some companies will stop, which provides leverage to push the "just pay it" companies into stopping. A carbon tax that persuades some companies to find zero-emissions methods means those companies can be used as examples to pass laws that ban all emissions - "hey look, GreenFactory here can do this! No more excuses that it can't be done--Chevron/Dow/Murray, it's your turn next!"

There's not a lot of evidence that, in practice, companies stop. Instead, they move their production to a country where they don't have to pay the carbon tax, they pass it onto consumers, or they squeal about the jobs that are being killed by the carbon tax.

It seems to be more effective to simply ban carbon dioxide emissions, in the same way other environmental changes have been made. Put a ten year limit on it so companies can't accuse you of job killing. Most of them see the writing on the wall - they know Europe's going to eventually try it - and are hoping they can prolong the end as long as possible.
posted by Merus at 12:34 AM on February 17 [4 favorites]


Claiming that America is even more ludicrously corrupt than Japan, um. Japan has had some really impressive, wild, widespread, longlasting, ludicrous corruption in it's day, and in fact, the face of that corruption (Tanaka Kakuei) ran for office specifically on high speed rail lines.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:38 PM on February 17


So what does it say about our public construction corruption that we can’t even do another corrupt industrial nation can do?
posted by The Whelk at 12:47 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


It says that corruption maybe isn't actually an obstacle

JAPAN'S LDP had a keen focus on pandering to constituents with (among other things) pork barrel construction projects. So you could say that cutting pork barrel and earmark spending is why we can't build rail. Or you could say the problem is Americans not buying the simple idea that governments can and should spend money to make their constituents lives better. But all of those analyses are just as shallow as blaming corruption.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 1:47 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


But when we do try to build ambitious rail programs, they end up costing way, way, way, per mile then in other countries, even countries with tough landscapes, strong unions, strong ecological protections, spread out distances, pork barrel corruption, etc. what makes us so very special?

(I’d say the elephant in the room is the lack of a public Bank type set up to avoid depending on the large commerical banks to make profit-maximizing loans)

(And I don’t think Americans don’t think politicians should spend money to make people’s lives easier is shallow cause that’s been the dominate political ideology in this country since the l80s)
posted by The Whelk at 2:27 PM on February 17


Cost breakdowns for rail projects in the US look like this: 40% engineering, 40% land purchase, and 20% actual construction costs. I'd like to see someone look into these values and compare them across countries. If I had to guess, I'd guess that the costs of environmental regulation (included in that 40% engineering) or fair market value land purchases (possibly due to public land banking in other countries) are very different, but I have not done the analysis myself so I have no idea.

Could very well be that engineers in other countries cost less too (get paid less), I mean that's why the company I work for outsources some engineering costs to Europe.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:29 AM on February 18


Also Japan rail systems are able to sell or manage property development rights around their rail stations (which diversifies their income streams and creates additional users for their rail systems), but most light rail systems in the US are not able to do that. Hence why many light rail stations are in BFE and TOD is not financed by the rail company in most states.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:35 AM on February 18


There's also economies of scale. Most other countries have a lot of trains already, they have that expertise, or they're willing to import it from the countries that do. The US is a large country that lacks the economy of scale, uses track and train standards different from the international standard, etc. That drives up the cost of engineering and parts relative to other countries.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:43 PM on February 18


Yet we poured billions into a plane that couldn’t fly in the rain and ultimately never saw use so maybe it is a matter of priorities
posted by The Whelk at 3:02 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


fwiw...
Rail privatisation: the UK looks for secrets of Japan's success - "Unlike in Britain, fares and subsidies have been tightly controlled under private ownership."
The regulation of Japan’s railways starts with Mr Ishii at his desk in the transport ministry. The ministry collects detailed information on costs from all of Japan’s private railways. Based on that information, the ministry sets an upper limit on fares. “How do we determine the upper limit? It’s set based on an appropriate profit and appropriate costs under efficient management,” he says.

If a company can cut costs and run itself more efficiently than rivals it can earn greater profits: this is known as yardstick competition. One important consequence is ruling out the complicated fare structures found in the UK. Since prices cannot go above the cap, even for last minute booking or at the height of the rush hour, companies instead operate a simple, distance-based fare. With no way to ration scarce peak-time capacity by price, however, everybody tries to get the 8am train...

Japan’s railways may be organised along geographical lines, but they are not a series of regional monopolies. Rather, many companies run lines in the same area, interlaced with each other, which sometimes offers a choice. For example, between Tokyo and Yokohama there are three competing routes, as there are between Osaka and Kobe. For an individual traveller, one operator is usually more convenient, but higher prices are noticed.

There is a third, more abstract, but still crucial form of competition. Every line radiating out of a city such as Tokyo serves a particular slice of suburbs — and those suburbs compete. Since new construction is much easier in Japan than in the UK, the rivalry is fierce, especially as the population starts to drop. Overprice or underinvest in your railway and passengers will ultimately move elsewhere...

This competition between railway areas is linked to another vital part of the business model for Japanese railways: real estate. “The railway is about one-third of our total sales,” says Mr Shiroishi. “By name we’re a railway company but that’s just one of our functions.” Another one-third of revenues comes from real estate development along the Tokyu lines, especially at its Shibuya terminus. The final third comes from services to passengers such as supermarkets, convenience stores and hotels...

Another economic strength of Japan’s railways, particularly the shinkansen, is a level playing field with roads. A one-way shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Osaka costs ¥13,620 ($124) but the motorway toll is similar. It is unlikely Japan could run profitable high-speed rail if the state provided free roads as an alternative. There are no urban congestion charges but parking is all off-street and formidably expensive. Added to the sheer density of Japan’s population, the result is ample demand for railways, letting them run frequent trains and cover their costs at reasonable prices.
also btw!
Record Breaking Steam Trains - "In the 1930's, Britain had a railway network that was envied around the world. The East and West Coast railway companies fought to transport passengers from London to Scotland in the shortest time possible."

oh and...
Surge in US economists' support for carbon tax to tackle emissions :P
posted by kliuless at 10:28 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


Yes, very thorough! So given that Japan diversifies their rail lines through both competition and horizontal integration of services whereas in the US rail lines are contractually barred from doing so isn't exactly 'corruption', as automotive companies don't really do that either. It's not really crony capitalism either, as it's plain to see they are leaving billions of dollars on the table or being straight up wasted on underused lines. it's something else...uniquely American. Maybe we invented the word 'synergy' to describe what we don't want to do.
posted by The_Vegetables at 6:54 AM on February 19


A Centuries-Old Idea Could Revolutionize Climate Policy (Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic)
"The Green New Deal’s mastermind is a precocious New Yorker with big ambitions. Sound familiar?"

The economic thinker who most influenced the Green New Deal isn’t Marx or Lenin. No, if you want to understand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bid to remake the economy to fight climate change, you need to read Hamilton.

... Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal is not only a set of progressive nice-to-haves, nor is it a full-on assault on capitalism. The Green New Deal has a coherent economic philosophy and a compelling theory of change—and pundits don’t have to like them to bother understanding them.

Above all, the Green New Deal is a leftist resurrection of federal industrial policy. It is not an attempt to control the private sector, according to its authors; it is a bid to collaborate with it. And it draws on a set of ideas with a rich American history, extending long before the great World War II mobilization to which the Green New Deal is regularly compared.
...

Viewed in a certain light, you can start to see the potential for a certain kind of play here: an attempt to integrate Trump’s working-class nostalgia with the urgency of remaking the economy to fight climate change. “Skilled crafts­men, and trades­people, and fac­to­ry work­ers have seen the jobs they loved shipped thou­sands of miles away,” the president has said. “This wave of glob­al­i­za­tion has wiped out our mid­dle class. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can turn it all around—and we can turn it around fast.” Would Green New Dealers really disagree with any of this?

... the sum effect has been that Ocasio-Cortez and her team shout about equity while whispering about the economy. If the word manufacturing is now a racial dog whistle, who better than a popular leftist congresswoman to reclaim its whine? It may be too much to hope for a cross-partisan climate policy in the United States, but every climate policy must have some kind of crossover appeal. The U.S. economy will eventually be remade to fight climate change. Ocasio-Cortez and her team must decide whether they will lean into their policy’s promise or make it seem like more of the same.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:00 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]


A new model says that as the Earth warms, high-atmosphere stratocumulus clouds break up and don't reform, removing the main source of natural shade from the planet and causing further warming, which in turn makes cloud formation even less likely. This feedback loop is predicted to add as much as 8 degrees C to global temperatures. That's beyond the warming that actually triggers the cloud degradation.
Once clouds go away, the simulated climate “goes over a cliff,” said Kerry Emanuel, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A leading authority on atmospheric physics, Emanuel called the new findings “very plausible,” though, as he noted, scientists must now make an effort to independently replicate the work.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:34 AM on February 25 [3 favorites]


When Matt Darling analyzes the interaction between the left and center-left re climate policy, it's time for some (actually legit) game theory.
posted by Jpfed at 8:18 PM on February 26


God, anyone who buys that game theory analysis as relevant to the real world better never complain about engineers' disease ever.
posted by mark k at 9:45 PM on February 26


FPP on the clouds thing Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish mentions.
posted by XMLicious at 9:54 PM on February 26


Can America Still Build Big? A California Rail Project Raises Doubts - "California's High-Speed Rail Authority, which is running the project, was established 23 years ago. During that time China has built 16,000 miles of high-speed rail."

When You Really Gotta Build a Train Staion Fast, Call the Chinese - "More than 1,500 Chinese workers used only less than nine hours to finish a station in Longyan City of east China's Fujian Province."

The Cheaper, Greener Future of France's High-Speed Trains - "While the U.S. stumbles in rolling out fast rail travel, France is going big on smoother, better high speed trains."
posted by kliuless at 6:06 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


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