Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What about the Green New Deal?

Most of us are quite familiar with the term, and the significance, of what was known as the New Deal in this country. But in recent days we have been hearing about the Green New Deal, a relatively new idea that deserves serious thought and positive action.
The Proposal for a Green New Deal
On February 7, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) introduced a Green New Deal resolution in both the Senate and House of Representatives. That 13-page resolution can be found here.
Markey (b. 1946) was a U.S. House member from 1976 to 2013 and has been in the Senate since then. Ocasio-Cortez (b. 1989), as you probably know, is the outspoken new House member who is often just called AOC.
When presented, Markey’s resolution was co-sponsored by ten other Senators—mostly names you know quite well, such as Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.
While it is a long way from something being presented as a resolution and it actually being legislated, this is surely a significant start for serious consideration of a vital issue.  
The Purpose of the Proposal
The title of the 2/7 resolution is “Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.” Its purpose is to elevate awareness of the fearful realities of global warming along with other environmental issues and to set forth goals for Congress to consider over the next ten years.
Rather than being a proposal for detailed legislation, the Green New Deal (GND) resolution is a statement of what will most likely be necessary to meet the challenge of ever-worsening climate change. It presents the need for massive infrastructure programs and many other imperative actions for the creation of a sustainable future for our society and the world.
Thus, the GND resolution is a challenge to bold, creative, and long-term thinking about the most crucial issue of the present-day.
So, What About It?
One of my favorite op-ed writers is Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. His February 7 article was titled, “A ‘Green New Deal’ sounds like pie in the sky. But we need it.”
I fully agree with Robinson when he writes that “climate change is the biggest, most important story of our time. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will judge us by how well we meet the challenge, and so far we are failing. Miserably.”
Of course, there are those who staunchly oppose the proposal for a Green New Deal. The main criticism is that it smacks of socialism.
DJT no doubt had the GND in mind when he said in his SOTU message that “we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.” He then went on to assert, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
It must be recalled, though, that the New Deal proposed by President Roosevelt and enacted by Congress in the 1930s was also castigated for being socialist legislation.
Even among those who inveigh against socialism today, however, there are not many who are willing to give up their Social Security, which was one of the most important parts of the New Deal.
Just as the New Deal helped solved some of the most serious problems in American society many decades ago, the Green New Deal is a proposal for solving even potentially greater problems for the U.S., and the world, in the coming decades.
In the view from this Seat, the sooner the Green New Deal proposals are enacted, the better!


  1. Here is the link to a relevant cartoon; it is by Tom Toles, the eminent Washington Post cartoonist (darken and click):

    And also this by Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee:

  2. Before 6:30 this morning, local Thinking Friend Harold Phillips emailed me the following comments:

    "Great blog. -- It is interesting: to its detractors, 'socialism' is Cuba or Venezuela. To thinking people, we think of European countries. Not hearing any Seniors complaining about Medicare."

  3. Then just at 6:30, David Nelson, another local Thinking Friend, shared these comments:

    "Thanks for a thoughtful reflection about GND. Let’s not allow the right to define terms. Democratic socialism is as American as apple pie. I celebrate public education, social security and health care as a right for all citizens. I am not a fan of nationalistic socialism and that is what those in the right are fighting. We are better than this."

  4. About 30 minutes later, a third local Thinking Friend, Milton Horne, sent these comments:

    "Thanks for bringing this up, Leroy. It's timely, of course. I wonder, though, how the rank and file American is going to decide what to support. Are conditions bad enough for that person (average American person--an operative assumption) to assess accurately the relative benefits vs. costs of either allowing or insisting upon government's imposition of such regulation as would be necessary to make significant change in environmental outcomes? I fear that average Americans tend to be reactive not proactive."

    1. You raise an important point, Milton. My guess is that the more educated and forward-looking a person is, the more likely he/she will be to support the general idea of a Green New Deal. On the other hand, the less educated and those inclined to live for the present, whether for hedonistic reasons or financial necessity, will be less inclined to agree with helping to bear the costs of a GND. The former may be proactive, but the latter will probably be primarily reactive--and it may well be that there are more Americans in the latter category.

  5. Then Thinking Friend Eric Dollard in Chicago shared these thoughtful comments:'

    "I agree that climate change and the concurrent mass extinction of many species constitute the gravest threats to our future and we need to take bold action immediately. It has little to do with socialism versus capitalism; most of the new, green innovations and inventions will probably come from the private sector, but the government will need to foster the proper economic environment for these green industries to flourish.

    "The principal opponents of any action on climate change are the fossil fuel industries. But fossil fuels are not the future; if they are the future, then we will have no future."

  6. The last comments I have received to this point is this brief one from Thinking Friend Glenn Hinson in Kentucky:

    "I’m fully in agreement, Leroy. We can’t tarry on climate change solutions!"

  7. After receiving two very brief comments ("I like it" and "Amen"), I received the following from Thinking Friend Andrew Bolton, who sometimes lives in England and sometimes in greater Kansas City:

    "Thanks for reviewing this very important topic, the Green New Deal. The rich industrialised countries, especially the USA are producing more than their fair share of CO2. Yet it is the poor and our children and great grandchildren who will suffer as you say. It would perhaps be good to do a blog on measuring your carbon footprint. You could do yours as a demonstration and get others to do the same. I am on the road at the moment and without internet, otherwise I would do mine and give you the result.

    "Thanks again for your faithful, steady stream of informational and helpful blogs."

    1. Thanks, Andrew, for the suggestion to measure my carbon footprint and to write a blog on the subject. I may well want to do that sometime--but it seems that to measure one's carbon footprint takes quite a bit of time, mainly to find the information needed. Here is the link to a website I found for that: Do you have a different one to suggest?

  8. Last night I received the following comments from Truett Baker in Arizona, one of my few Thinking Friends older than I:

    "I like the Green New Deal. Excuse my skepticism, but I have grave doubts that anything of this nature will make it through our 'do nothing' Congress. I am mystified and appalled by the notion that people in this country don't see the 'hand-writing-on-the-wall' about the serious environmental crisis we are in."

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. This blog begs several questions.
    1st: How old is the planet? Per climatoologist the holocene began 13,000 years bce and has had hiccups along the way.
    2nd: Is global warming bad? 1%ers will loose beach property, tropics will grow to latitude 40, and avg temps and rainfall in the midwest and southwest will eventually increase, with drought conditions initially, waining as the coast encroaches.
    3rd: Is global warming caused completly by humans or are we contributing to a natural cycle? Geologists and climatologists seem to agree the onset of global warming was the birth of agriculture after the Younger Dryas. Without agriculture the holocene would have been short lived.
    4th: Can global warming be reversed if all agriculture and fossil fuel consumption stop? Experts seem to agree we are way past the point of no return.
    5th: Would the planet revert to an ice age if fossil fuel consumption and agriculture were curtailed? Historic solor cycles compared to glaciatian cycles indicate it would.
    6th: Would international limits on fossil fuel consumption cause 3rd world countries to remain impoverished? Yes.
    7th: Can the 1st world countries tackle this problem ithout causing abject poverty to increase in the 3rd world? No.
    8th: Who is responsable for the increased use of fossil fuels? Scientists and inventors. They figured how to use coal and crude oil to fuel the industrial age.
    9th: Who is best able to solve the problem of ever increasing green house gases? Scientists and inventors. Malthus was not wrong in his calculations of population out pacing food production. Scientists and inventors stepped up to forstall the crises. The crises still looms large and is a greater threat to the world than is global warming.
    10th: Is the possibility of peak oil a better reason to develop alternate energy? Absolutly!
    11th: Is Trump the devil? I think so!!!!