Planning For A Global Green New Deal
June 25, 2019 8:33 AM   Subscribe

“Inslee’s “Freedom From Fossil Fuels” plan looks to take on the leadership of fossil fuel companies directly and account for their role in climate and environmental crises, in part by establishing an Office of Environmental Justice within the Department of Justice. These Are The Polluters (The Intercept) “Our study shows that action on climate change demands shuttering vast sections of the military machine. There are few activities on Earth as environmentally catastrophic as waging war. Significant reductions to the Pentagon’s budget and shrinking its capacity to wage war would cause a huge drop in demand from the biggest consumer of liquid fuels in the world.” (The Conversation) Today, People’s Policy Project has released a plan for a truly Global Green New Deal (GGND). We begin with a modest proposal: that lawmakers should take seriously the standard cost estimates developed by climate science and policy research, which calls for $2 trillion in annual transfers from wealthy nations to the poorer ones. (Intervuew with one of the paper’s writers on The Discourse).
posted by The Whelk (17 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
establishing an Office of Environmental Justice within the Department of Justice

That sounds fantastic, and long overdue.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently has this definition:
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
The Wikipedia page on EJ is much longer.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:31 AM on June 25


Significant reductions to the Pentagon’s budget and shrinking its capacity to wage war would cause a huge drop in demand from the biggest consumer of liquid fuels in the world.

Or we could try something that America will actually allow to happen. (Alas.)
posted by delfin at 9:50 AM on June 25


Coming from Washington state, I always thought of Inslee as kind of a dud, but I love the concept behind his presidential campaign. I'm voting for someone else, but happily sent $1 to Inslee to help him stay in the debates.
posted by duffell at 9:55 AM on June 25 [7 favorites]


Or we could try something that America will actually allow to happen

Fuck all then?
posted by howfar at 10:53 AM on June 25 [7 favorites]


It is definitely past the time for pretending that abetting climate change is being practical or realistic or something like that. Yes it's scary but we've put ourselves in a position where the only ways forward are going to be very costly and a drastic departure from how things have gone before now.
posted by XMLicious at 12:02 PM on June 25 [10 favorites]


Or we could try something that America will actually allow to happen.

Self-fulfilling prophecies are the best kind because they always come true.
posted by klanawa at 4:04 PM on June 25


Or we could try something that America will actually allow to happen

That’s Nancy Pelosi Democrat-loser talk. “Oh, the Republicans are gonna poke is in the eye over this one, we better not bring it up!”

It’s just the opposite of what you think. The democrats lose over and over by pre-emptively deciding not to propose things they think Republicans will bully them over. Inslee’s daring plan is exactly what we should be talking about right now.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:08 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


That’s Nancy Pelosi Democrat-loser talk. “Oh, the Republicans are gonna poke is in the eye over this one, we better not bring it up!”

It’s just the opposite of what you think. The democrats lose over and over by pre-emptively deciding not to propose things they think Republicans will bully them over. Inslee’s daring plan is exactly what we should be talking about right now.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:08 AM on June 26 [1 favorite +] [!]


Hopefully I don't sound like a loser Democrat with this analysis, because hell yes let's reduce military fossil fuel usage and military spending, but I'd love to see some real, detailed military-people-ish evaluation of Inslee's plan on the impact to global security, because there are a few things buzzing in the military realm right now that I think might be a wrench in the gears of his idea. These are:

1) Satellite & rocket warfare - As computers get more advanced, ICBM's/rocket tech/nuclear weapons proliferate, and satellites become more important to global information networks, we're in a fix where chemical fuel for rockets is probably going to rise substantially. For every bomber you decommission and replace with electric drones, you'll need a battery of anti-anti-satellite weapons to protect them, and you'll probably end up with attacks on satellites being far more common... more countries will be launching satellites... space tourism... etc. I don't see demand for chemical rocket fuels going down. I see it going up exponentially.

2) Military power vacuum - If the US dials down its military presence abroad, what's to stop Russia or China or someone else from stepping into the power vacuum? They're doing this already. Geopolitics aside, US military reductions in fossil fuel usage could be cancelled out by other countries expanding their military presence. Russia sure didn't waste any time militarizing the Arctic, and they ain't burnin' renewables. How would we deal with this? The diplomacy to ensure global compliance would be difficult to say the least.

3) Economic disruption - Certain parts of the world are very dependent on fossil fuels to keep their economies going. The Middle East comes to mind, but Venezuela, Brunei, Angola, and lots of other petro-economies are in the same boat. By the same token, there are many places in the world that are simply poor and badly run, where people will go with what they know works, know how to build, and can source locally over shiny new eco-tech. If demand for fossil fuel drops, it could destabilize some economies and lead to more military conflict, and at the same time make the involved militaries more reliant on fossil fuel resources, especially if there are plentiful supplies locally, OR could require increased military presence from the rest of the world to keep locals from using fossil-fuel military tech on each other. Imagine, for example, trying to convert the DRC to renewables without pissing off any of the various militias and ensuring security while you do it. Whoever takes on a task like that, whether a local government or a foreign occupying force (not that I support an occupation/war like that, but it's happened before, and if we're taking climate change seriously enough that armies are involved, it's within the realm of possibility) is going to need a lot of vehicles.

4) Technology sharing - Let's assume, for the sake of this thought experiment, that the US figures out military "energy independence", as in how to electrify and/or produce local biogas and/or set up solar or wind field generators or something. I don't know how it would be done, but it would assume "energy supply lines" are no longer a combat vulnerability, or are less of one. What would the US now be empowered to do with that technology that it can't do now, how/when/under what conditions would we share it with our allies, how would it be used against a "traditionally fueled" enemy, and how would "new energy" wars be fought? It seems to me that "energy-asymmetric warfare" would breed a whole new generation of terrorists. I imagine it takes a whole lot less energy to breed plague germs in a vat and disperse them with drones than to fuel a fleet of electrified Hummers patrolling the street. Power generation capacity could be subject to all kinds of new surveillance and licensing. Also, if you can drop a strike team with a super-powered solar generator or high-capacity battery and a miniature variety of those fancy microwave ray guns the US army puts on the back of trucks now deep into enemy territory, that might make targeted assassination much more common. Get in, blast the building with radiation for a few minutes, sneak away.

I would love to see a security analysis from serious people over the ramifications of really decarbonizing the US military. I think it could go off in lots of unintended directions, many of which could negate the climate-change goals.

*I'm just a random guy on the internet, this is not serious analysis.
posted by saysthis at 8:11 PM on June 25


Military power vacuum - If the US dials down its military presence abroad, what's to stop Russia or China or someone else from stepping into the power vacuum?

The US has to maintain their absurdly large military's because if they don't hold the whole world hostage, someone else might, and that's a risk worth massively exacerbating climate change.

I'm not convinced. What's going to change here if China is the world's leading power instead? Would they put bases in Australia, and make us complicit in their global hegemony? Would they bomb innocent civilians sometimes? Are they going to be really pushy with their industry and production, trying to control as much of the global economy as possible? Veto human rights motions in international assemblies? Track every person who their digital technologies come into contact with and develop profiles of them and their behaviour?

Any of that would be shocking, unprecedented behaviour no other country would dream of doing if they were militarily unopposed.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 10:59 PM on June 25 [6 favorites]


Any of that would be shocking, unprecedented behaviour no other country would dream of doing if they were militarily unopposed.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 2:59 PM on June 26 [+] [!]


I definitely agree with you about the US's atrocious track record as the world's leading military power. We suck, and I hate that we get away with it.

I disagree that no other country would be as atrocious. I think China or Russia (or any global superpower) would be tempted to exercise unchallenged power in abhorrent ways, and I think at least part of the time they'd get away with it.

The specific question I'm pondering here is, if the US decides to "green" its military, it stands to reason that there's either going to be a voluntary reduction in our military capabilities or a deployment of revolutionary different capabilities...another way of saying it might be, if the US decides to swear off fossil fuels, which are incredibly energy-dense, in favor of less energy-dense things, any industrious adversary could, in theory, equalize a future disparity with US forces by continuing to use fossil fuels, or even expanding their use of them, and then we'd be right back where we started, just with a different army.

I guess what I'm asking is, what kind of diplomacy will it take to ensure that other countries don't simply burn the fossil fuels that we refuse to, on the condition that we decide to cut back?
posted by saysthis at 11:36 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


I disagree that no other country would be as atrocious. I think China or Russia (or any global superpower) would be tempted to exercise unchallenged power in abhorrent ways, and I think at least part of the time they'd get away with it.

I don't feel that anyone else will necessarily be "better" than the US, I agree they'd be abhorrent and get away with it, I just don't see that as any different to the status quo. It seems like a melange of white/western supremacy, American exceptionalism and orientalism of a sort that imagines that anyone else would be easily distinguishable as "worse" instead of just different.

I guess what I'm asking is, what kind of diplomacy will it take to ensure that other countries don't simply burn the fossil fuels that we refuse to, on the condition that we decide to cut back?

Well, on one hand, everyone else is also aware of climate change, and most other countries seem rather more cognisant of both the dangers and and requisite steps of redress, so while I can guarantee nothing, it seems odd to worry about a world where the US military gives up all of their capacity while China fills their trooper's packs with coal, when that's definitely not what we're seeing now.

On the other... this is just the same old economic argument about coal isn't it? We won't begin to stop burning it until India and China stop! We must be last! The ship may be sinking, but as long as someone's still pumping water into the bilge, we won't start bailing, because of our strong sense of justice and fairness and respect for the tradition that it's not fair trade, unless the West comes out ahead.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 12:06 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]




How to fund the Green New Deal? public Banks
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 AM on June 26


I love this, and I can't wait for Jay Inslee to be Director of the EPA.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:48 AM on June 26




Coming from Washington state, I always thought of Inslee as kind of a dud

Washington State is as much of a dud for not getting behind carbon taxation. Can't fault Inslee too much, when he has to work in a climate of fake leftists. I don't expect him to do any better in the larger context of a federal election, but I did send some money to his campaign to give it a go.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:36 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]




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