Alexandria Ocasio Cortez Bill McKibben Climate Change Earthrise Global Weirding Green Economy green new deal Paul Krugman Policy & Politics socialism STEM education Technology thomas friedman

The Green New Deal Builds A Bridge To The Future, Not A Wall Around The Past


January ninth, 2019 by Steve Hanley 

We’re listening to quite a bit a few Green New Deal lately, thanks largely to upstart Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The identify itself was first proposed by Pulitzer Prize profitable New York Occasions columnist Thomas Friedman in an op-ed piece dated April 15, 2007. The incontrovertible fact that it was revealed on what for many People is “tax day” was no accident. The Green New Deal, amongst different issues, requires a sweeping reform of taxation in America, notably with regard to learn how to pay for the transition to a zero carbon society.

Ocasio-Cortez has introduced the entire concept ahead up to now few days with a daring plan to transition America — and by extension the complete world — to 100% renewable power in simply 12 brief years. To pay for it, she proposes elevating the revenue tax on the wealthiest People to 70%. That’s loopy speak, isn’t it? Truly, no, it isn’t. In truth, in accordance Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, it’s an concept that has broad acceptance amongst many prime tier economists.

What’s a Green New Deal Precisely?

Because the Nice Melancholy in america dragged on yr after yr, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed a sweeping agenda of latest laws designed to get the financial system rising once more. It featured a variety of social packages designed to offer Americans with some measure of safety from the vicissitudes of the free market system. It gave individuals jobs and constructed issues just like the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. It additionally launched Social Safety and a plethora of latest authorities laws designed to tame the worst abuses of capitalism.

The Green New Deal is designed to duplicate that initiative and mix it with the nationwide dedication John F. Kennedy crafted when he challenged America to place a person on the moon. The end result can be probably the most highly effective social and financial transformation within the historical past of the world.

In line with Wikipedia, the Green New Deal has the next parts:

  • Authorities-led funding in power and useful resource effectivity, in addition to reusable energies and microgeneration
  • Low-carbon infrastructure redevelopment so as to create jobs
  • A directed tax on the income of oil and fuel corporations with proceeds being invested in renewable power and power effectivity
  • Monetary incentives for inexperienced funding and lowered power utilization, together with low rates of interest for inexperienced funding
  • Re-regulation of worldwide finance, together with capital controls, and elevated scrutiny of monetary derivatives – probably alongside the strains of Basel II
  • Curbing company tax evasion via obligatory monetary reporting and by clamping down on tax havens

What’s The Huge Hurry?

It’s no coincidence that Ocasio Cortez is looking for such a speedy transition to a zero carbon financial system. The Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change issued its sixth report final October. In it, IPCC warned that humanity has solely 12 years to repair its carbon habit or face unimaginable penalties as a collection of cascading occasions create a state of affairs worse than any horror film.

three months have handed since then with no vital motion taken. Meaning we’re right down to 11 years and 9 months earlier than we’re waist deep in a full fledged local weather emergency. We have to construct a bridge to the longer term now and that’s what Ocasio-Cortez is proposing to do. By taking that stance, she is positioning herself as maybe one of many few adults within the room in terms of addressing the impression of a warming planet.

Construct Bridges Not Partitions

The state of affairs is analogous to the one the Apollo 13 lunar mission discovered itself in because it struggled to get the crippled spacecraft house safely. A room filled with specialists is having a raucous debate about the easiest way to proceed when one engineer walks in on the assembly and proclaims that the figuring out issue can be electrical energy. Pointing fingers, enjoying the blame recreation — nothing else issues if there’s not sufficient energy to launch the parachutes that may sluggish the capsule sufficient to stop it from slamming into the ocean at a number of hundred miles an hour, killing everybody on board.

For the Earth, it’s all about carbon emissions. Nothing else issues. Not class distinctions, not nationwide delight, not how rich an individual is, and never what faith somebody believes in. Carbon emissions have to be tamed now, at present, this on the spot if humanity has any hope of avoiding the destruction of the Earth and nearly each type of life in existence at the moment.



The similarity between the Apollo 13 mission and the present state of affairs on Earth was pushed house for me just lately whereas studying Invoice McKibben’s 2010 guide Eaarth. On web page 2, he describes how probably the most memorable pictures of all time was created and what it meant to these on board. As Apollo eight was circling the moon for the primary time, Frank Borman, the mission commander, appeared out a window and noticed one thing no different human being had ever witnessed — the Earth rising within the sky as seen from the moon.

“Oh, my God,” he stated. “Here’s the Earth coming up.” Invoice Anders grabbed his digital camera and snapped the photograph that later can be referred to as merely “Earthrise.” Borman stated later, it was “the most beautiful, heart-catching sight of my life, one that sent a torrent of nostalgia, of sheer homesickness, surging through me. It was the only thing in space that had any color to it. Everything else was simply black or white. But not the Earth.” Astronaut Jim Lovell stated it seemed like a “grand oasis.”

Research the photograph for a minute then ask your self, “If the Earth can no longer support human life, where will we go?” The reply is, “Nowhere.” With out the Earth, we can’t survive. There isn’t any Planet B. We’ll merely stop to exist. The Earth might proceed on its lonely voyage via the cosmos for a number of billion years, and it might ultimately get well its potential to maintain human life varieties, however none of us and none of our progeny will survive very lengthy on an overheated speck far in a single nook of the Milky Means as soon as the seas flip acidic and the land not could be cultivated to develop meals.

Not everybody agrees, in fact. Earlier than he handed off this mortal coil, Jerry Falwell stated, “I can tell you, our grandchildren will laugh at those who predicted global warming. We’ll be in global cooling by then, if the Lord hasn’t returned. I don’t believe a moment of it. The whole thing is created to destroy America’s free enterprise system and our economic stability.”

Constructing Partitions Is A Harmful Distraction

Do Falwell’s phrases remind you of somebody, an individual who was on tv final night time pleading his case for a “big, beautiful wall” from one finish of US/Mexico border to the opposite? Somebody who reacted to the newest US authorities local weather evaluation by saying merely, “I don’t believe it”? In principle, that wall is a matter of nationwide safety, however what might be extra in America’s nationwide curiosity than offering a homeland the place its residents can correct and develop?

Shouldn’t America be main the best way to a zero carbon future as an alternative of wringing its palms over a number of wretched waifs who’ve dedicated no crime aside from the will to outlive? The actions of America’s alleged president are harking back to one other world chief who got here to the United Nations in 1960 to bang his shoe on the lectern and scream, “We will bury you!” Do you see the similarities? In current days, increasingly more individuals are evaluating the person within the White Home to a petulant baby continuously throwing mood tantrums. Are they improper? And is that what America wants most at this second in time?

The world has already witnessed what constructing partitions accomplishes. Why would we rejoice the autumn of the Berlin Wall in a single decade after which search to do a reprise of that affront to humanity in one other? Is there anybody alive who remembers the horrors of the Berlin Wall who thinks constructing an identical wall in America is a good suggestion? Is there anybody who imagines a wall is a better precedence than preserving the power of the Earth to maintain human life?

Berlin Wall

Credit score: David S. Mitchell/YouTube

Higher Lifeless Than Purple?

On 60 Minutes final Sunday, Anderson Cooper requested Andrea Ocasio-Cortez if she was a socialist. He made it sound like an accusation. To her credit score, she proudly and enthusiastically embraced the phrase. When having a debate, it’s important to first outline one’s phrases. For a lot of, “socialism” and “communism” are seen as one and the identical. That’s inaccurate. America has lengthy stood as a staunch foe of communism, so it’s comprehensible that some individuals equate the 2.

Some have observed that in my biographical info I recommend that democracy and socialism are inextricably intertwined. I’ve gotten hate mail from various individuals who discover that characterization despicable. The degree of vituperation in these messages is actually startling.

The Declaration of Independence and the US Structure are distinctly socialist in nature and are based mostly on the writings of Voltaire, Thoreau, Mill, and different 18th century writers who collectively sought to recast the position of presidency as a protector of the individuals, not an oppressor as had been the case beneath a succession of monarchs and non secular leaders all through historical past.

Was FDR’s New Deal socialist? Oh, yeah. You betcha. It has been stated that Jesus of Nazareth was a socialist. If being a follower of His teachings makes an individual a socialist, I fortunately plead responsible to being one myself.

First Issues First

Throughout her interview on 60 Minutes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to as on People to “Push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible.”  What’s flawed with that? What might probably be extra necessary that preserving the Earth that sustains us for current and future generations?

Right here’s one thing for all you xenophobes who cower in worry on the “threat” of immigrants to America’s ethnic purity, as if there ever was any such factor. A new research by researchers at Duke College finds “US immigrant children study more math and science in high school and college, which leads to their greater presence in STEM careers.”

“Most studies on the assimilation of immigrants focus on the language disadvantage of non-English-speaking immigrants,” Marcos Rangel, assistant professor at Duke’s Sanford Faculty of Public Coverage tells Science Every day. “We focus instead on the comparative strength certain immigrant children develop in numerical subjects, and how that leads to majoring in STEM subjects in college.”

You need to push America’s technological capabilities? The youngsters of immigrants are those who’re more likely to do exactly that. “Meaningful differences in skill accumulation … shape the consequent contributions of childhood immigrants to the educated labor force,” in response to the researchers.

The Essence Of A Green New Deal

Thomas Friedman has a brand new perspective on the Green New Deal he proposed in 2007. In a narrative for the New York Occasions dated January eight, he references the 4 Zeros proposed by Hal Harvey:

1. Zero-net power buildings: buildings that may produce as a lot power as they eat.

2. Zero-waste manufacturing: stimulating producers to design and construct merchandise that use fewer uncooked supplies and which might be simply disassembled and recycled.

three. A zero-carbon grid: If we will mix renewable energy era at a utility scale with some shoppers placing up their very own photo voltaic panels and windmills which are built-in with the grid, and with large-scale storage batteries, we actually might, someday, electrify every part carbon-free.

four. Zero-emissions transportation: a results of combining electrical automobiles and electrical public transportation with a zero-carbon grid.

“That’s my Green New Deal circa 2019,” Friedman writes. “It basically says: Forget the Space Race. We don’t need a man, or woman, on Mars. We need an Earth Race — a free-market competition to ensure that mankind can continue to thrive on Earth. A Green New Deal is the strategy for that. It can make America healthier, wealthier, more innovative, more energy secure, more respected — and weaken petro-dictators across the globe.”

Seems like a plan. Let’s get busy following it. As we speak can be a superb time to start constructing bridges to someplace slightly than partitions to nowhere. 


Tags: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Invoice McKibben, Local weather change, Earthrise, International Weirding, inexperienced new deal, Paul Krugman, socialism, STEM schooling, thomas friedman

Concerning the Writer

Steve Hanley Steve writes concerning the interface between know-how and sustainability from his house in Rhode Island and anyplace else the Singularity might take him. His motto is “Democracy is socialism.” You bought an issue with that?

You possibly can comply with him on Google + and on Twitter.

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