Home » Posts tagged 'green new deal'

Tag Archives: green new deal

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

How to Get Off Fossil Fuels Quickly—and Fairly

How to Get Off Fossil Fuels Quickly—and Fairly

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) discuss panel orientation and spacing for a project on simultaneously growing crops under PV Arrays while producing electricity from the panels in South Dearfield, Massachusetts. The project is part of the DOE InSPIRE project seeking to improve the environmental compatibility and mutual benefits of solar development with agriculture and native landscapes.PHOTO FROM SCIENCE IN HD/UNSPLASH Climate experts share a range of ideas and strategies for envisioning a better future.


When it comes to a just transition, it’s going to take a radical reimaging not only of our economy but also of our culture and the shape of our social structures. YES! co-hosted a conversation with experts from the nonprofit The Land Institute to discuss policy proposals and new ways to rebuild our sense of self and community from the bottom up.

The discussion was prompted by a new book, The Green New Deal and Beyond, by Stan Cox, the Land Institute’s lead scientist for perennial crops. He was joined by his colleagues, Director of Ecosphere Studies Aubrey Streit Krug, and President Emeritus Wes Jackson. The event was moderated by YES! contributing editor Robert Jensen.

Together they share a range of ideas and strategies for envisioning a better future.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

ROBERT JENSEN: I would propose that the most important word in the title of your book, Stan, is “beyond.” We know the Green New Deal is not a fully fleshed out political program yet, but why do we need to go beyond it?

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

Why Cleantech Investment Should be a High Priority Now and after COVID-19

Why Cleantech Investment Should be a High Priority Now and after COVID-19

Prior to the COVID crisis, progression to Net Zero carbon neutral emissions was rising to the top of the policy agenda in many countries. Understandably, the global health and economic crisis has thrown a spanner into the works. It is crucial though, Robyn Owen and Theresia Harrer write, that in our attempts to recover, we tie in the fundamental need for a better funded systematic government-led Green Deal approach to early stage Cleantech funding. 

CC.0 :: Casey Horner / Unsplash.com

The COVID-19 crisis threatens all of our lives. Understandably, it is currently the central focus of government policy globally. Yet history tells us that post-crisis economic reconstruction is most successful where investment is greatest in new emerging sectors. It is crucial, therefore, that investment in the UK is directed towards globally leading innovations for environmentally sustainable development, rather than simply to become more efficient at producing and selling more of the same.

Prior to the COVID crisis, progression to Net Zero carbon neutral emissions was rising to the top of the policy agenda in many countries. There was a widespread declaration of the climate crisis and climate war and a proliferation of Green New Deals—overarching policies for integrated government-led approaches to delivering reduction in carbon use and emissions.

We have argued that an essential element of climate change policies is a recognition that investing in early stage SME Cleantech innovators is crucial. These are companies developing technologies that lower carbon use and which are key to reaching the ambitious goals of an at least 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions set by the UNFCCC Paris Agreement of 2015. However, the costs and risks of investments in the cleantech sectors such as renewable energy, transport, building and communications infrastructure are high.

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

Clean Tech Versus a People’s Green New Deal

Clean Tech Versus a People’s Green New Deal

Rich nations’ proposals for greening the economy need to acknowledge that their wealth rests on economic exploitation and ecological spoliation of poorer countries.

The Green New Deal (GND), Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s draft legislation to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions, was literally 2019’s talk of the town.

Climate apocalypse is on everyone’s mind. The spring of 2019 was the season of failed monsoons in Chennai, its reservoirs meters from desiccation. Millennial heatwaves roiled France. Wildfires raged in the United States, and continental firestorms rake Australia. The normally cool prose of scientists has been heating up as well, channeling the anxiety induced by the catastrophic conditions they describe. Reports warning of the disappearance of the world’s flora, fauna, and land increasingly seem like forecasts for the end of the world. Climate change has and will continue to pulverize the global South, where disaster is not on the horizon but has already arrived. Yet at the moment, the most visible environmental legislation — the Green New Deal (GND) — is being made and unmade in the North, the primary polluter and home of the largest corporations.

mining in the Congo
Industrial upgrading requires metals and metal-mining displacement of the people living on that land and pollution. Toxic levels of cobalt, which is used in electronics, have been found in the blood and urine of the miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially children. Photo courtesy of Fairphone. 

Like the New Deal to which the GND refers, it aims big. In the words of Demond Drummer, the head of the New Consensusthink tank, the quiet catalyst of the GND discussion, it is a domestic agenda for governing, a chance “to see the elephant whole.”

Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez’s former Chief of Staff, has added that “we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez has spoken warmly of Tennessee Valley Authority-style programs and “public-private partnerships.” She has put forward the figure of ten trillion dollars as its cost.

Ocasio-Cortez’s draft legislation, much like the draft document from the New Consensus, was bare bones. Its five goals are:

(1) To achieve net-zero emissions through a “just transition;”

(2) Create millions of high-wage and good jobs; 

(3) To “invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States”;

Platforms for a Green New Deal

Platforms for a Green New Deal

Two new books in review

Does the Green New Deal assume a faith in “green growth”? Does the Green New Deal make promises that go far beyond what our societies can afford? Will the Green New Deal saddle ordinary taxpayers with huge tax bills? Can the Green New Deal provide quick solutions to both environmental overshoot and economic inequality?

These questions have been posed by people from across the spectrum – but of course proponents of a Green New Deal may not agree on all of the goals, let alone an implementation plan. So it’s good to see two concise manifestos – one British, one American – released by Verso in November.

The Case for the Green New Deal (by Ann Pettifor), and A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal (by Kate Aronoff, Alyssa Battistoni, Daniel Aldana Cohen and Thea Riofrancos) each clock in at a little under 200 pages, and both books are written in accessible prose for a general audience.

Surprisingly, there is remarkably little overlap in coverage and it’s well worth reading both volumes.

The Case for a Green New Deal takes a much deeper dive into monetary policy. A Planet To Win devotes many pages to explaining how a socially just and environmentally wise society can provide a healthy, prosperous, even luxurious lifestyle for all citizens, once we understand that luxury does not consist of ever-more-conspicuous consumption.

The two books wind to their destinations along different paths but they share some very important principles.

Covers of The Case For The Green New Deal and A Planet To Win

First, both books make clear that a Green New Deal must not shirk a head-on confrontation with the power of corporate finance.

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

Dammed Good Question about the Green New Deal

Dammed Good Question about the Green New Deal

Hydroelectric power from dams might be the thorniest question that proponents of the Green New Deal (GND) have to grapple with. Providing more energy than solar and wind combined, dams could well become the backup for energy if it proves impossible to get off of fossil fuels fast enough. 

An August 2019 forum on the GND included representatives from the Sunrise Movement, Renew Missouri and three of us in the Green Party. Rev. Elston McCowan asked, “What does the Green New Deal say about rivers and dams?” I said “That’s a dammed good question” and went into some of the issues below. Howie Hawkins and Dario Hunter, both candidates for the Green Party presidential nomination, told of their participation in local efforts to block dam construction. But trying to defeat a single dam begs the question of what policy a political organization has toward them. [1]

GND proposals from the Democratic Party, like those of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ignore both nuclear power and dams. Yet dams have ominous implications for the world’s rivers. 

Rivers and lakes are an integral part of human existence, with virtually all major inland cities being located next to one of them. They provide water for drinking, bathing, food, and medicine. Their sustenance is not just for humans but for untold numbers of tiny organisms, insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. Rivers integrate plant and animal life forms and connect human communities to each other. 

As capitalism grew, rivers transported huge quantities of lumber from clear cuts, oil from under the ground and coal ripped from mountains. Rivers have been used for trash disposal, as if carrying it somewhere else would make it vanish.

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

A Mining Explosion: The Dirty Little Secret Of The Green Revolution

A Mining Explosion: The Dirty Little Secret Of The Green Revolution

Mining Explosion

Leftwing darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal, despite its flimsy 14 pages total, is nothing if not all-encompassing and vaulting in its ambition. The bill was also crucial to Ocasio-Cortez’s rapid ascent to acronym status and anointing as the queen of green.

Thanks to her How Dare You tour, 16-year old Greta Thunberg is now the undisputed leader of the growing ranks of school-bunking climate crisis warriors all over the world. 

The Greta show arrived in MINING.COM’s hometown of Vancouver last week to take Make-Love-Not-CO2 youths (and second-life hippies) on yet another march and bridge-blockade. The footslogging Greta groupies are beginning to resemble the disastrous 1212 children’s crusade – with higher ground now doing service for holy land.

Much of the response to AOC and Thunberg (who seem to get on like a house on fire if the Guardian is to be believed) on the right has been mocking and dismissive, accusing the pair of swapping hamburgers for pie in the sky.

This is a mistake. 

Red turns green

Some estimates put the green economy in the US at $1.3 trillion in annual revenue already – that’s 7 percent of GDP – with a workforce of 9.5m Americans.  

Within the Green New Deal is a goal of “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources”.  AOC has no deadline of course, but no doubt Greta would want that for the whole world before she hits drinking age.

A seminal paper by Bernstein’s European mining and metals team led by Paul Gait outlines just how fundamental a restructure of the global industrial economy is necessary to bring this – or even a fraction of this – about. 

And all of it to the great benefit of mining.

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

Energy vs DNA

Energy vs DNA

Rembrandt van Rijn Landscape With the Rest on the Flight into Egypt 1647

Hmm, energy. Is it a good idea I be drawn back into the subject? We used to do so much on the topic, Nicole Foss and I, in the first years of The Automatic Earth, and before that at the brilliant Oil Drum, where we had all those equally brilliant oil professionals to guide us on. So why revisit it? Well, for one thing, because a friend asked.

And for another because things -may have – changed over the past 15 years or so. Not that I think the peak oil idea, which is that we reached the peak in 2005 or so, changed. Yeah, unconventional oil, shale, fracking etc., came about, but that has nothing to do with peak oil. Just look at the EROEI (energy return) you get from shale. You go from 100:1 to, if you’re lucky, 5:1. You can’t build a complex society on that.

It’s not an accident that shale oil firms are going broke all over; even ultra low interest rates can’t save them. But all that still doesn’t come close to scratching the surface of our energy -or oil, for that matter.- conundrum.

I’ve never understood what the idea behind the Extinction Rebellion is. Or, you know, that they know what they’re talking about. Do they know the physics?

The general idea, yeah, but not how they aim to reach their goals. Far as I can tell, it’s about less CO2 -and methane, supposedly- emissions, but I don’t get how they want to achieve that. I’ve read some but not all of their theories, and it’s not obvious. It feels like they want less of various things, only to replace them with something else. Like they think once oil is gone, you can put wind and solar in its staid, and off we go. Tell me how wrong I am. Please do.

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

‘Planet of the Humans,’ Possibly Most Bracing Environmental Documentary Ever Made, Premieres at Traverse City Film Festival

‘Planet of the Humans,’ Possibly Most Bracing Environmental Documentary Ever Made, Premieres at Traverse City Film Festival

Director Jeff Gibbs argues we’re heading toward ‘total human apocalypse’ and green energy is ‘not going to save us, it’s actually going to kill us faster’

Picture
An image from “Planet of the Humans,” directed by Jeff Gibbs. Photo courtesy Traverse City Film Festival

Films about environmental issues have long been a staple of the documentary form, a genre that in recent years alone has brought us Before the FloodChasing IceChasing Coral and, of course, An Inconvenient Truth. But those documentaries arguably pale in importance to Planet of the Humans, which just held its world premiere at the Traverse City Film Festival. 

The film directed by Jeff Gibbs, produced by Gibbs and Ozzie Zehner and executive produced by Michael Moore, makes the deeply disturbing case that unless we reverse course, the human species faces ruin.

“The ultimate problem is that there are too many people consuming too much and we don’t even have a word or a name for what this total human apocalypse is called,” Gibbs told me during an interview in Traverse City. “What is the word for a single species that’s overrun an entire planet and is causing mayhem in every direction?”

There is nothing you will ever have in your life that’s not an extraction from the planet earth. And so we’ve all lost touch with that.
​–Planet of the Humans director Jeff Gibbs to Nonfictionfilm.com

Gibbs, an environmentalist, film producer and composer who has worked on several of Moore’s documentaries, describes himself as “worried sick” about climate change. But unlike others who focus solely on the danger presented by global warming, Gibbs sees climate change as symptomatic of a larger problem – overpopulation and consumption of Earth’s resources.

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

The Green New Deal and Accursed Wealth

The Green New Deal and Accursed Wealth

Pulp mills, Longview, Washington. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Accursed Wealth! O’er bounding human laws,
Of every evil thou remains’t the cause:
Victims of want, those wretches such as me,
Too truly lay their wretchedness to thee:
Thou art the bar that keeps from being fed,
And thine our loss of labour and of bread.

Al Gore missed this memo, written at some time between 1809 and 1813, by the poet John Clare in Norhamptonshire, England. However, in his latest op-ed, It’s Not too Late – The climate crisis is the battle of our time and we can win, in the New York Times, September 22, 2019, the former Vice President helpfully notes that the fastest-growing occupation in the United States is solar installer and the second fastest- growing is wind turbine service technician. The loss of Clare’s world is un-remediated. The loss of our world, apparently, is salved by the growth of mostly low-wage ‘green-tech’ jobs. Clare, at least, identifies the cause of his loss – Accursed Wealth, or, as we might call it today, capitalism.

Gore, in his best, ever youthful, Gee-Wiz journalese proclaims that, “…we are in the early stages of a sustainable revolution that will achieve the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution and the speed of the digital revolution, made possible by new digital tools”. John Clare’s erstwhile bucolic freedom had been proscribed by the British parliament’s Enclosure Acts early in the nineteenth century, under which he lost his rights to the common lands that were seized for the benefit of proto-capitalist land-owners newly cognizant of the wealth generated by grazing sheep. Wool, like cotton, was a fiber fundamental to the modern capitalist ethos whereby the acquisition of wealth transcended the interests of both humanity and the natural world.

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

Central Bankers Go Green… Why?

Central Bankers Go Green… Why?

I was told many depressing things as a child.

Watching World Vision infomercials educating the west to the want and misery suffered by millions of children in the third world, I wasn’t alone in asking adults “why”? When I enjoyed all the comforts of food security, electricity and running water, why were these other children living in poverty? I know that I was not the only bewildered child to receive the shallow response that I did from family and teachers when I was told that this “simply is the way it is”. At best, we privileged few in the 1st world could hope that $1/day would alleviate their pain, but really there was no great solution.

Later in life, as my closest friends found themselves enmeshed in university political science and economic programs, the innocent curiosity that recognized injustice for what it was not only died under the weight of materialist theories of human nature which their parents paid good money to feed them, but upon leaving school, those same friends actually became witting accomplices in that very system which their youthful hearts recognized as wrong so many years earlier. Since humanity was intrinsically selfish and our economic system so immutable, the best we could hope for was success in life and enjoy being on the receiving end of destiny.

Again, I know that I’m not alone in this experience, as tens of millions of citizens took to the streets all around the world on September 27 to march for the earth, repulsed by corrupt consumerism and celebrating the advent of a Green New Deal.

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

Trump Praises US Energy Independence After Saudi Attack: “We Don’t Need Middle Eastern Oil”

Trump Praises US Energy Independence After Saudi Attack: “We Don’t Need Middle Eastern Oil”

With international oil prices soaring following this weekend’s attack in Saudi Arabia, which has indefinitely crippled as much as half of its oil-production capacity, President Trump sent a tweet Monday morning to try and reassure markets that the US is now energy independent and doesn’t need crude from the Middle East in what looks like an attempt to send prices lower.

“Because we have done so well with Energy over the last few years (thank you, Mr. President!), we are a net Energy Exporter, & now the Number One Energy Producer in the World. We don’t need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!


Because we have done so well with Energy over the last few years (thank you, Mr. President!), we are a net Energy Exporter, & now the Number One Energy Producer in the World. We don’t need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!


The takeaway from the tweet is that Trump’s threatening posture toward Iran, which Washington has blamed from the attack, is simply an example of the US standing up for Saudi Arabia since its a critical regional ally. The US’s energy supplies are not being threatened.

Trump has a point about his policies helping to bolster the US energy industry. Democrats, particularly those who have embraced AOC’s ‘Green New Deal’ are much more hostile to the US energy industry. Among the candidates seeking the 2020 nomination, Elizabeth Warren has promised to shut down US shale drilling on her first day as president, something that would irreparably damage the US energy industry and kill any hopes of continued energy independence.

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

False hopes for a Green New Deal

False hopes for a Green New Deal

If the ‘Green New Deal’ is our best answer to the climate crisis, then we have no answer to the climate crisis.

Image: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA/PA Images

In recent months the ‘Green New Deal’ has given hope to many on the Left as a promising solution to climate breakdown. Having been championed by the Sunrise Movement and figures such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders in the US, excitement for the Green New Deal has spread to the UK with the launch of the ‘Labour for a Green New Deal’ campaign.

Successive local Labour Party branches have passed motions in support of the programme, and the UK Labour Party itself has launched consultations for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution.’ Recently, the progressive think-tank Common Wealth published a ‘road map’ for implementing sweeping reforms for a greener and fairer economy, providing the most detailed description yet of what a Green New Deal might look like.

The Green New Deal promises everything. Its advocates anticipate a green industrial revolution led by workers, forging a power-grid run on renewables, a new and luxurious electrified transport system and affordable homes retrofitted for energy-efficiency. Our economy will be one of ethics and environmental stewardship, producing only what is socially-useful, with low-carbon lifestyles for all and with investors investing for sustainable ends. We will see employment for all, workers on shorter hours enjoying high-paid green jobs and a democratised workplace. Equally as important, the UK will enact this great renewable transition without perpetuating colonial resource extraction abroad. It all sounds too good to be true.

That’s because it is. Basic enquiry into the details of the Green New Deal reveals a failure to confront the political and economic realities leading to climate breakdown.

Capitalism’s dilemma

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

Toward Climate-Catalyzed Social Transformation?

Toward Climate-Catalyzed Social Transformation?

Applying the work of Erik Olin Wright to emergent climate change movements helps us to understand current trajectories and possible pathways for transformation.

In the past weeks, Extinction Rebellion has continued to make news headlines with acts of protest in LondonBostonNew York and other cities across the globe. In London, thousands of activists blocked roads and bridges and over 1,000 were arrested. These actions are a part of Extinction Rebellion’s ongoing strategy to disrupt the economy and pressure governments to meet their demands to address climate change.

In addition, the youth movement Fridays for Future continues to hold school strikes with an estimated 1.6 million participants across the globe on March 15. In the United States, the Sunrise Movement has just launched a tour to promote the Green New Deal, a possibly transformative resolution that targets both inequality and greenhouse gas emissions.

These movements are unprecedented, growing, and are unlikely to go away any time soon. In addition, meeting the demands of these movements would require significant social and economic changes through a radical political program.

Given the momentum of these movements, are we on the verge of a possible climate-catalyzed social transformation? And if so, what strategies for transformation will be most effective?

To interpret the recent rise of these climate change movements, we draw from the late Erik Olin Wright whose work illustrates a deep understanding of social transformation.

In his book Envisioning Real Utopias, Wright outlined a detailed theory of social transformation with four main components. First, identify the forces of social reproduction that impede positive social change. Second, find gaps and contradictions that can be politicized to open the door for change. Third, understand and build a trajectory of change: history tells us that transformation occurs when unintended social consequences combine with purposeful social movements.

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

How to Build the Green New Deal? Cities and States May Already Have Answers

How to Build the Green New Deal? Cities and States May Already Have Answers

There’s much to learn from local efforts — and good reasons why they’ll need to be part of the process, experts say. But can states do it on their own?

Over the past several months, legislators in Washington have engaged in heated conversations about the Green New Deal, the potential plan to help the United States to cool the planet by quickly and equitably curbing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

The hotly debated idea has both vocal supporters and detractors. But even for those who champion the mission, there’s still a lot to figure out about how it would be developed and implemented.

The good news is that any effort to bring the Green New Deal to fruition wouldn’t need to start from scratch. Proponents can, and should, look to states and cities for help and inspiration, says Caitlin McCoy, a fellow at Harvard Law School who specializes in in climate, clean air and energy. McCoy just authored a new policy paper that shows areas where state and local governments have been leading and how understanding their progress is crucial to crafting any new sweeping federal legislation.

“States are an experimental testing ground for policies that could one day be adopted at a federal level,” she says. Green New Deal backers, she adds, “would be wise to do an accounting of what’s happening at a state and local level and see where they might be able to plug federal policies and programs into existing architecture and frameworks. And any big federal policy to operationalize the principles of the Green New Deal would necessarily need to build on state action, because a lot of the areas that the deal seems to be seeking to reach are areas of traditional state and local control.”

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

A War Reporter Covers “The End of Ice”–And It Will Change the Way You Think About Climate Catastrophe

2Photos: Getty Images Animation: The Intercept

A WAR REPORTER COVERS “THE END OF ICE” — AND IT WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT CLIMATE CATASTROPHE

FOCUSING ON BREATH and gratitude, Dahr Jamail’s latest book, “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption,” stitches together personal introspection and gut-wrenching interviews with leading climate experts. The rapidly receding glaciers of Denali National Park, home to the highest peak in North America, inspired the book’s title. “Seven years of climbing in Alaska had provided me with a front-row seat from where I could witness the dramatic impact of human-caused climate disruption,” Jamail writes.

With vividly descriptive storytelling, Jamail pushes further north into the Arctic Circle where warming is occurring at double speed. He surveys rapid changes in the Pribilof Islands, where indigenous communities have had to contend with die-offs affecting seabirds, fur seals, fish, and more — a collapsing food web. The story continues in the fragile Great Barrier Reef, utterly ravaged by the warming ocean. South Florida is faring no better: Jamail finds that 2.46 million of the state’s acreage will be submerged within his lifetime. Experts are aghast everywhere Jamail visits. In the Amazon, rich in biodiversity, the consequences are especially enormous.

“The End of Ice” readers won’t find calls for technology-based solutions, politicians, mitigating emissions, or the Green New Deal to save us.

Describing the current state of the planet, Jamail likens it to someone in hospice care. The global mean temperature is already 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Not half a decade ago, leading climate scientist James Hansen warned that that one degree would usher in a crisis of sea level rise, melting Arctic ice, and extreme weather. He concluded that the goal of limiting global warming to only 2 degrees was “very dangerous.”

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase