Thursday, February 7, 2019

Climate Change Black Death surrounds us
No, The Green New Deal is not new. But two generations of Democrats - Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi - begin the push toward implementation



Today, February 7, 2019, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass) laid out in the form of a Congressional Resolution the goals of a “Green New Deal” to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions which can be summarized as follows:

    The Green New Deal fully tackles the existential threat posed by climate change by presenting a comprehensive, 10-year plan that is as big as the problem it hopes to solve while creating a new era of shared prosperity calling for such policies as:
  • Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.
  • Upgrading all existing buildings in the country for energy efficiency.
  • Working with farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as is technologically feasible" (while supporting family farms and promoting universal access to healthy food.
  • Overhauling transportation systems to reduce emissions — including expanding electric car manufacturing, building charging stations everywhere, and expanding high-speed rail to a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.
  • A guaranteed job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security for every American.
  • High-quality health care for all Americans.

As noted in the previous post three-time Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times Columnist Thomas L. Friedman first discussed a "Green New Deal" in A Warning From the Garden published January 19, 2007.

He followed that up on April 15, 2007, in the New York Times Magazine article The Power of Green in which he noted:

    In the world of ideas, to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue. One thing that always struck me about the term "green" was the degree to which, for so many years, it was defined by its opponents — by the people who wanted to disparage it. And they defined it as "liberal," "tree-hugging," "sissy," "girlie-man," "unpatriotic," "vaguely French."
    Well, I want to rename "green." I want to rename it geostrategic, geoeconomic, capitalistic and patriotic. I want to do that because I think that living, working, designing, manufacturing and projecting America in a green way can be the basis of a new unifying political movement for the 21st century. A redefined, broader and more muscular green ideology is not meant to trump the traditional Republican and Democratic agendas but rather to bridge them when it comes to addressing the three major issues facing every American today: jobs, temperature and terrorism.
    How do our kids compete in a flatter world? How do they thrive in a warmer world? How do they survive in a more dangerous world? Those are, in a nutshell, the big questions facing America at the dawn of the 21st century. But these problems are so large in scale that they can only be effectively addressed by an America with 50 green states — not an America divided between red and blue states.
    Because a new green ideology, properly defined, has the power to mobilize liberals and conservatives, evangelicals and atheists, big business and environmentalists around an agenda that can both pull us together and propel us forward. That's why I say: We don't just need the first black president. We need the first green president. We don't just need the first woman president. We need the first environmental president. We don't just need a president who has been toughened by years as a prisoner of war but a president who is tough enough to level with the American people about the profound economic, geopolitical and climate threats posed by our addiction to oil — and to offer a real plan to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

In the earlier January 2007 article Friedman noted:

    To spark a Green New Deal today requires getting two things right: government regulations and prices. Look at California. By setting steadily higher standards for the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances — and creating incentives for utilities to work with consumers to use less power — California has held its per-capita electricity use constant for 30 years, while the rest of the nation has seen per- capita electricity use increase by nearly 50 percent, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That has saved California from building 24 giant power plants.
    Had Ronald Reagan not rolled back the higher fuel efficiency standards imposed on Detroit, we might need no Middle East oil today. High standards force innovation, and innovation leads to conservation at scale.

Of course he mentioned Ronald Reagan. As noted in our Progressive Pacific website, Ronald Reagan was America's first Neoliberal President. Because Trump has included key Neoliberals in his administration, the most notable of whom is Vice-President Mike Pence, it shouldn't be surprising that opposition to the Green New Deal by the Administration and from the Senate will be (already is) fierce and angry.

"Socialism" will be the basic attack word and it will be used in the 2020 election. It will be effective outside the Pacific Coast states and a few other Blue states.

The earliest reported use of "Green New Deal" was from the Bioneers 2003 Marin County annual environmental conference. The San Francisco Chronicle noted that Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel called for a "Green New Deal" but stated he realizes that most politicians won't react until they see a groundswell from below them. Ausubel was correct.

Whether those behind the 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez can create such a groundswell is a big question. Nonetheless 78-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is bringing back the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis that she created back in 2007, when she first became speaker. Republicans disbanded the group when they regained control in 2011. The problem we have is that these two women from the youngest and oldest generations in Congress are from the two most progressive/liberal Congressional Districts in two of the most Democratic states in the United States.

At risk is the 2020 election. And while Ocasio-Cortez may think there is a groundswell for this, in fact at least 40% of Americans will oppose it at the outset and another 20% will have grave, or at least some, reservations. The problem Pelosi and others have noted is that there are no details, and as we all know the devil is in the details.

As explained in the previous post, the alternative for Ocasio-Cortez's generation, the generation ahead of them, and the generations that follow them is a world-wide Climate Change Black Death, the symptoms of which have already been seen.

The 21st Century Climate Change Black Death is happening now.
                                                                                                          If you're new to this blog here's the link to the listing of the 30+ previous posts in the Blog regarding Climate Change and the Environment.

This post is a part of a series:  climate change black death surrounds us 
                                                                                                         

No comments: