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Green New Deal Flunks the Limits Lesson

Green New Deal Flunks the Limits Lesson

The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman claims to have invented the idea of the Green New Deal in 2007.[1]He’s back to enlighten us about what it should mean now.

Friedman deserves credit as one of the few mainstream pundits who takes climate breakdown seriously. But mainstream methods created the problem, they won’t solve it.

For Friedman the Green New Deal is all about innovation. “Clean energy is a problem of scale” that requires “a massive, urgent response.” To accommodate a billion new people by 2030, “clean power, clean cars, clean manufacturing, clean water and energy efficiency have to be the next great global industries.”

But massive is not the cure for massiveness. Clean is a relative term. Energy efficiency is wonderful, right and indispensable, but it only makes massiveness a little less massive; the energy and money saved by efficiency tend to get used somewhere else.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives humanity till 2030 to get our act together and curb the rise in average global temperature. Meanwhile greenhouse gas emissions are rising, not falling, both in the US and worldwide. The climate is telling us something we don’t want to hear: If you burn mass quantities of coal and oil and methane gas, the waste gases will heat the atmosphere and there will be consequences. This is one of the Limits your finite home planet imposes on you.

Everyone who’s serious about climate change agrees that we have to stop burning fossil fuels, but those fuels made possible a productive system that thinks the economy can grow forever — that there are, as the advertisers like to say, No Limits. Friedman’s “next great global industries” sound like part and parcel of the growth economy because they are, but they’re supposed to be different because they’re “clean.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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