29 votes

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Green New Deal Outline

18 comments

  1. [18]
    Pilgrim Link
    Here's the text-only version if anyone wants it: https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=691997301 You can get their front page by going to text.npr.org. I use that almost exclusively. Regarding the actual...

    Here's the text-only version if anyone wants it:
    https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=691997301

    You can get their front page by going to text.npr.org. I use that almost exclusively.

    Regarding the actual outline, I love the overall goal of being carbon neutral and the various broad strokes. However, I cannot describe the depths of my disappointment to see the grab bag of progressive dreams haphazardly smashed together in the FAQ:

    "upgrading all existing buildings" in the country for energy efficiency;
    working with farmers "to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions ... as much as is technologically feasible" (while supporting family farms and promoting "universal access to healthy food");
    "Overhauling transportation systems" to reduce emissions — including expanding electric car manufacturing, building "charging stations everywhere," and expanding high-speed rail to "a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary";
    A guaranteed job "with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security" for every American;
    "High-quality health care" for all Americans.

    At a glance we have several things that I imagine might take an entire generation to accomplish:

    • health care for all
    • guaranteed employment
    • universal access to healthy food
    • expand high-speed rail to an extent where it replaces air travel

    I mean that's a HELL of a list. I like AOC, a lot. I like that she goes big. But it's hard to take this seriously. I get it's non-binding, but it's also a bit nonsensical.

    9 votes
    1. [9]
      alyaza Link Parent
      well, unless you want to overthrow capitalism, those are the sorts of reforms that are going to need to immediately begin to happen and immediately be put in to practice to avert unprecedented...

      well, unless you want to overthrow capitalism, those are the sorts of reforms that are going to need to immediately begin to happen and immediately be put in to practice to avert unprecedented amounts of displacement, death, and changes in climate like mass desertification and stronger, more severe storms. there is literally zero room for incrementalism. the time to implement changes like this was thirty years before today, and the longer they don't happen the less we're able to at least mitigate the effects of this massive shitshow we've made for ourselves.

      (there's a case to be made that what they've outlined here isn't radical enough, in fact)

      23 votes
      1. [8]
        Pilgrim Link Parent
        Right, but not much of anything I listed in my bullets has anything to do with climate change (or only tangentially at best), so you're preaching to the choir...

        Right, but not much of anything I listed in my bullets has anything to do with climate change (or only tangentially at best), so you're preaching to the choir...

        2 votes
        1. [5]
          determinism Link Parent
          That is why its called the Green New Deal and not the Green Means-tested Tax Incentives for Small-Polluters Proposal. Here is why I don't view these bullet points as tangentially related to...

          That is why its called the Green New Deal and not the Green Means-tested Tax Incentives for Small-Polluters Proposal.

          Here is why I don't view these bullet points as tangentially related to addressing climate change.

          Trump won the presidency because there are people hurting, he provided a populist message that working people could latch on to. It was bullshit, it was a sales pitch, but it demonstrated a need that isn't being met. That energy is being directed towards what now? More neoliberal macro-economic positions and more imperialism and more policies that favor the oligarchy. There are even figures emerging who push narratives that are dangerously similar to Nazism. They are being listened to because there hasn't been a party in the United States that actually represents the interests of labor in over thirty years. Wages have stagnated, profits are being increasingly concentrating into the hands of billionaires, both parties are guilty of enabling this.

          We require more jobs that provide a living wage under humane conditions. At the same time we have a climate crisis that requires incredible capital and labor investment in order to be addressed in a manner that will allow us to maintain our current standard of living. The free market isn't going to sort this problem out, it's outside the scope of capitalism. It's a political decision that requires leadership and real democratic consensus, not emergent phenomena out of a system of self-interested exchange.

          17 votes
          1. Pilgrim Link Parent
            I don’t really disagree with anything but you didn’t really make a case for why any of the bulleted items are related to climate change

            I don’t really disagree with anything but you didn’t really make a case for why any of the bulleted items are related to climate change

            4 votes
          2. [3]
            hungariantoast Link Parent
            I don't really disagree with the rest of your comment, but I just want to make one point, and it's a long point: This is impossible to do at the moment because our standard of living is the...

            I don't really disagree with the rest of your comment, but I just want to make one point, and it's a long point:

            At the same time we have a climate crisis that requires incredible capital and labor investment in order to be addressed in a manner that will allow us to maintain our current standard of living.

            This is impossible to do at the moment because our standard of living is the problem.

            Consumption and the runaway production systems of today are totally at odds with what has to be done to "fix" climate change. It flies directly in the face of what consumers and producers want and is the exact opposite of what capitalism is supposed to enable.

            I'm not some hardcore socialist who thinks capitalism can't work or never will work, I think that, like all systems, it has its cons and pros and it comes down to the individuals that decides how humane and well it operates in the view of history, but this is a problem capitalism started and its solution is what will finish capitalism as an economic system.

            Limiting consumption, forcing the limit of production, these are things that don't fly under capitalist systems, and they don't even work that well under socialist ones either. They create dissent, limit supply, increase demand as well as price, and generally lower the standard of living for individuals, but it's necessary. Until we have the technological means to reduce the impact of our production and consumption to a level that it is sustainable, we have to reduce the amount of consumption and the amount of production.

            A lot of what is necessary (and the drastic measures that are now necessary are a result of doing nothing for so long) is incredibly difficult to implement as law. The United States' love affair with runaway capitalism is killing it. What was once a sustainable, passable oligarchy to the middle class is ever so slowly marching towards kleptocracy to the scale of Russia, which is a fucking wasteland of all that is good and fair in the ideas of democracy and freedom.

            China is also riddled with problems, in its strange, fucked up mix of authoritarian socialism, self proclaimed communism, and fascist vigilance and surveillance. It too is an awful consumer and producer, and what we may yet have a slight chance of fixing in places like the United States or Europe, we are almost powerless to fix in China. This isn't to say that the Chinese are hopeless, just that we have to walk a fine line of cooperation and compromise to get West and East where they both need to be.

            Other nations, such as Brazil, currently have it much, much worse. Not only do they contain natural resources that are vital for the survival of humanity, but they've elected a leader who is unpredictable and could destroy it all.

            While ideas like the Green New Deal are great, Americans especially are going to need to lower their standard of living to mitigate the soft-apocalypse that climate change is shaping up to be.

            It's not like we don't know how to do this, it's that we don't have the power to enforce it.

            Take Apple for instance. There's no reason for a new iPhone to come out every year. It's ridiculous. It's even more ridiculous that their old hardware (and yeah, Android is worse about this, but whatever) loses support or updates after a certain number of years and... that's it. You're fucked. There's no alternative OS, there's no community patching. You're fucked.

            This is the type of consumption/production that needs to change. Apple needs to produce iPhones so rapidly and they cannot afford to support such old hardware or else they probably wouldn't exist, and in the United States, that's still more important than millions of American homes disappearing under the sea. More important to Apple, more important to congress, and more important to most of the people you set your eyes on in any given day.

            Do I know how to fix it? Nope, not really. Apple might be able to skirt by with their current system and find ways to make their company sustainable, but even if they can, and I don't think they can, but even if they can, there are others who are in similar situations that cannot or will not.

            To amass capital, to gain wealth, is more important to most human beings, especially those with power to enact change, than any sort of environmental issue.

            As to why we seem so incapable of handling what has been a pressing issue for so long, I blame the slow moving nature of most political systems across the globe, especially international bodies, as well as the fact that climate change is, for the most part, a slow march until you get closer to the end. When most of the governments of most nations and the international political bodies of the planet are so slow moving as to take years to pass simple legislation and you combine this with being faced with an issue that takes a century or more to reach climax, you end up with a procrastinatory recipe for disaster.

            There's a lot at play here. It's the literal culmination of human society's actions over the course of its entire history, leading to changes on the only ball we currently own. It's obviously a complicated issue.

            4 votes
            1. Pilgrim Link Parent
              My neighbor is a Chinese national and the one thing I've learned from him is that almost everyone here gets China wrong. If anything China is BEST posed to tackle this problem, if and when they...

              China is also riddled with problems, in its strange, fucked up mix of authoritarian socialism, self proclaimed communism, and fascist vigilance and surveillance. It too is an awful consumer and producer, and what we may yet have a slight chance of fixing in places like the United States or Europe, we are almost powerless to fix in China. This isn't to say that the Chinese are hopeless, just that we have to walk a fine line of cooperation and compromise to get West and East where they both need to be.

              My neighbor is a Chinese national and the one thing I've learned from him is that almost everyone here gets China wrong. If anything China is BEST posed to tackle this problem, if and when they decide to. Imagine a country where every person is in lock-step with the government. The government says "no more meat" and there is no more meat eaten (or nearly). They say only nuclear power - coal plants go dark over night. They have an unprecedented potential for mobilization.

              EDIT: The way I phrased that makes it sound like I'm disagreeing with you... I'm not really. I just wanted to share that observation.

              8 votes
            2. DonQuixote Link Parent
              I think the majority of Americans are finding their standard of living being lowered for them. The more I read, the more I start feeling the futility that makes people move toward survivalism, for...

              While ideas like the Green New Deal are great, Americans especially are going to need to lower their standard of living to mitigate the soft-apocalypse that climate change is shaping up to be.

              I think the majority of Americans are finding their standard of living being lowered for them. The more I read, the more I start feeling the futility that makes people move toward survivalism, for better or worse.

              1 vote
        2. [2]
          alyaza Link Parent
          that's why it's called the Green New Deal. it's not just about the ecological and visible effects of climate change, it's about reducing inequalities within society that will be exacerbated as a...

          that's why it's called the Green New Deal. it's not just about the ecological and visible effects of climate change, it's about reducing inequalities within society that will be exacerbated as a consequence of climate change because of things like environmental racism. that's always been part of the branding (as exemplified by the originators of the idea, the green party)

          4 votes
          1. Pilgrim Link Parent
            Best response so far but still feels like a big stretch to me

            Best response so far but still feels like a big stretch to me

    2. [6]
      edward Link Parent
      All that is stuff we should have been working since the original New Deal. At this point it's catch up time.

      All that is stuff we should have been working since the original New Deal. At this point it's catch up time.

      8 votes
      1. [5]
        Pilgrim Link Parent
        Agree but why lump it altogether?

        Agree but why lump it altogether?

        1 vote
        1. [4]
          harrygibus Link Parent
          Because it's a holistic approach - a lot like the original New Deal. All this money being spent is an investment in energy infrastructure, and that means a lot of new good paying jobs - that leads...

          Because it's a holistic approach - a lot like the original New Deal. All this money being spent is an investment in energy infrastructure, and that means a lot of new good paying jobs - that leads to fluidity of capital and money moving does a lot more for the economy than companies buying back their own shares. The point is to improve our energy infrastructure while making sure a fair share of the gains from those advances go to the people who need it most.

          11 votes
          1. [3]
            Pilgrim Link Parent
            I'm probably just expecting more detail than they're ready to provide yet. If they can better tie the actual green initiatives to the social reforms then I'll be more accepting. Also - reading...

            The point is to improve our energy infrastructure while making sure a fair share of the gains from those advances go to the people who need it most.

            I'm probably just expecting more detail than they're ready to provide yet. If they can better tie the actual green initiatives to the social reforms then I'll be more accepting.

            Also - reading today that AOC doesn't want nuclear to be part of the plan? WTH?

            Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-08/how-the-green-new-deal-almost-went-nuclear-on-its-first-day

            1. [2]
              harrygibus Link Parent
              The time frame and hurdles involved don't really allow for nuclear - it takes too long to build. That money would be better spent upgrading to a smart grid so we can more easily and efficiently...

              The time frame and hurdles involved don't really allow for nuclear - it takes too long to build.
              That money would be better spent upgrading to a smart grid so we can more easily and efficiently move the power to where it's needed. That combined with improved efficiencies and reduction in usage would have an immediate effect on fossil fuel burned. There is a considerable amount of waste in the current system.

              5 votes
              1. Pilgrim Link Parent
                That's a solid argument! Thank you.

                That's a solid argument! Thank you.

    3. [2]
      patience_limited (edited ) Link Parent
      I like the Doughnut Economics approach. As others have mentioned, climate change mitigation has interdependencies with a host of other human problems. Every aspect of modern civilization will be...

      I like the Doughnut Economics approach.

      As others have mentioned, climate change mitigation has interdependencies with a host of other human problems. Every aspect of modern civilization will be affected.

      And arguably, we're talking about rebuilding civilization with greater respect for the laws of thermodynamics and the natural resource bounds of the Earth. Any "sustainable" model of the planet's systems depends on having a reliable solar furnace 150 million km away that steadily pumps in energy. We've just gotten a civilizational sugar-high from burning up millions of years of chemically-stored solar power.

      You can't ask people to consume less if they believe they won't be able to consume enough, or that someone else is getting unjust access to resources.

      You can't maintain stability in an economic system where all the metrics and rewards favor perpetual growth of consumption, without improving utilization of existing resources. It's far less traumatic to modify a malfunctioning economic system than to start over after smashing it. People can't just stop eating while we build the shiny new automatic, intelligent, sustainable socialist Paradise.

      You can't ensure that mass suffering is averted, or at least distributed equitably, without changing winner-take-all political and economic systems.

      The ugly thing about the political solutions to climate change is that people expect rapid fixes, for a problem a couple of centuries in the making. The only ways we know of to rapidly, reliably modify climate involve population crashes. There are 50-year solutions that can work without enormous suffering, but maintaining popular support is a different proposition altogether.

      The Democrats are going to have to wake up about foreign policy and defence. China may be pursuing the path of dictatorship and extensive social control to ensure it can force the necessary changes for climate adaptation. Russia may be undermining mitigation because economically and geographically, it's a carbon-pollution winner.

      2 votes
      1. Pilgrim Link Parent
        Yes! This is what I am after. Something that pulls things together and shows that real thought and research has been put into it. What a great graphic to tie is all up in a nice little package!...

        Yes! This is what I am after. Something that pulls things together and shows that real thought and research has been put into it. What a great graphic to tie is all up in a nice little package! Thank you sincerely for introducing this to me.