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What Would a Deep Green New Deal Look Like?

What Would a Deep Green New Deal Look Like?

Wind turbines in the Columbia Gorge. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

The Green New Deal has attracted perhaps the greatest attention of any proposal for decades.  It would guarantee Medicare-for-All, Housing-for-All, student loan forgiveness and propose the largest economic growth in human history to address unemployment and climate change.

But the last of these hits a stumbling block.  Creation of all forms of energy contributes to the destruction of nature and human life.  It is possible to increase the global quality of life at the same time we reduce the use of fossil fuels and other sources of energy.  Therefore, a “deep” GND would focus on energy reduction, otherwise known as energy conservation.  Decreasing total energy use is a prerequisite for securing human existence.

Recognizing True Dangers

Fossil fuel (FF) dangers are well-known and include the destruction of Life via global heating.   FF problems also include land grabs from indigenous peoples, farmers, and communities throughout the world as well as the poisoning of air from burning and destruction of terrestrial and aquatic life from spills.  But those who focus on climate change tend to minimize very real danger of other types of energy production.  A first step in developing a genuine GND is to acknowledge the destructive potential of “alternative energy” (AltE).

Nuclear power (nukes).  Though dangers of nuclear disasters such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima are horrific, problems with the rest of its life cycle are often glossed over.  Mining, milling, and transporting radioactive material to supply nukes with fuel and “dispose” of it exposes entire communities to poisoning that results in a variety of cancers.  Though operation of nukes produces few greenhouse gases (GHGs), enormous quantities are released during production of steel, cement and other materials for building nuclear plants…

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