Democrats Try To Sneak ‘Green New Deal’ Through Tax Code

Technocrats are fixed on realizing the Green New Deal, aka Technocracy, by hook or by crook. The GND is regressive and will result in economic destruction rather than nirvana, and many Republicans are on board with “deep transformation” spoken of by the United Nations. ⁃ TN Editor

In recent weeks, House Democrats have begun to signal how they would govern if given unified control of the federal government. While they will take what they can get from COVID-19 relief bills and conventional extender-type legislation, they have also begun to introduce “shoot for the moon” measures that reveal their unified government ambitions. One area in which this has been crystal clear has been the “Green New Deal,” a series of proposals to bring a radical environmental agenda to all areas of our lives.

The most straightforward way to conduct a major reform campaign in modern government is through the tax code, and that’s true for both parties. Want to promote school choice? Create a tax credit voucher. Ditto for helping people pay for health insurance premiums, or save for retirement, or afford child care, or invest in new business equipment.

The reason is simple: the Senate. Unlike the House of Representatives, which has a Rules Committee dominated by the speaker and allows for virtually anything to pass with a bare majority vote, the Senate has always had slower, super-majoritarian roadblocks to hasty lawmaking. Most notably, a determined Senate minority may try to block a motion to proceed or a cloture motion, which in practice requires 60 votes out of 100 senators to overcome. This may be a moot point in a Senate overseen by current Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has expressed a willingness to explore invoking the “nuclear option” on the legislative calendar, allowing bills to pass with a simple majority vote. In order for this to occur, a resolved and ample Senate Democrat majority would have to do so, which may or may not materialize in 2021 no matter how well their party does this fall.

Advocates of the “Green New Deal” know this, and they want to use the tax code to put in place most of their domestic policy goals for a simple reason — there is a workaround to the Senate’s hoary super-majority impediments called “budget reconciliation.” Under these rules, which have been used by both parties to advance everything from Obamacare to the Trump tax cuts, a simple Senate majority is all that’s required to pass entitlement spending and tax legislation, provided the deficit is not increased outside the budget window. Democrats are sure to include enough tax increases to more than offset “Green New Deal” junk tax credits, so reconciliation is an attractive option. Why make 60-vote law when you can accomplish the same goal with a 51-vote tax bill?

That strategy emerged not once, but twice, in the past couple of weeks. The first is a catch-all “Green New Deal” plan called the “Moving Forward Act,” a kind of “Contract with America” for radical environmentalists. The second was a more conventional highway funding reauthorization pork-barrel bill, but it contained a raft of green tax credits and other tax code atrocities.

By way of example, each of these bills contains an extension of the supposedly-phasing out investment tax credit, which provides tax breaks for the purchase of green energy equipment such as solar panels and geothermal converters. They also want to expand the investment tax credit to include energy storage devices. The bills would extend this expanded tax credit to 2025.

The investment tax credit began in 2005 as a “temporary” market support to then-emerging green energy providers. It was supposed to wind down by 2015 but was extended all the way to 2021. Last December, Congress decided to keep this phaseout schedule in place, except for certain aspects of windmill energy. By advocating a further extension to 2025, congressional Democrats have made it clear they never want the credit to go away.

It’s not as if these “Green New Deal” companies are startup firms struggling to claw out market share. Renewable energy is now nearly one-fifth of all electricity produced in the country. These companies are great investments, with or without a consumer tax credit to spur demand for their products — that’s why private equity firms are getting in on the act.

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House of Representatives

Green New Deal Leads GOP Into Compromise Over Fighting Climate Change

The Green New Deal doesn’t just belong to radical greens and Democrats, but also to the Republicans. Climate alarmists have successfully changed the political narrative into one of finding the best ways to limit carbon and Republicans are eating it up. ⁃ TN Editor
 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of every American. More than 118,000 people have died in the U.S. due to the coronavirus and over 45 million Americans have filed for unemployment assistance. Communities have shut down entirely, and while officials are following public health guidelines to safely reopen, getting to a new normal will take time.

Shutting down our economy also significantly impacted emissions levels. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates U.S. emissions could decline by more than 14 percent this year.

And as the pandemic ravages health and economies worldwide, the International Energy Agency reports that global energy emissions may decline this year by almost 8 percent – the largest reduction ever and “twice as large as the combined total of all previous reductions since the end of World War II.”

Still, even with the pandemic driving major economic devastation and emissions declines, global emissions barely met the United Nations’ target of cutting annual emissions by 7.6 percent. And, of course, developed countries like the United States are supposed to cut an even larger share, while the world allows China to continue to increase its emissions without consequence for the next decade.

Simply put, even though the arbitrary U.N. climate standards may have been temporarily met in theory, it took pushing the global economy to the brink of collapse and jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of Americans to do so.

Unprecedented pandemics require a robust response, which is why Congress has passed the largest relief package in U.S. history to provide aid to American small business owners, workers, seniors and families.

Unfortunately, some Democrats say COVID-19 is “a dress rehearsal for addressing the catastrophic impacts of climate change.” We agree, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

This financial devastation is a preview of Democrats’ Green New Deal that is supposed to give us a socialist, emission-free utopia. For Republicans in Congress, the answer to addressing climate change and bringing our country back to prosperity is clear: American innovation.

The Democrats have made clear the direction their party is headed. Their presumptive nominee for president, former Vice President Joe Biden, recently said in his climate platform that “our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected,” but added that, “the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.”

While we agree the U.S. needs to utilize clean energy, lower emissions, update infrastructure, and work with our allies for a cleaner world, we vehemently disagree that shutting down our economy is the way to do it.

It’s no coincidence that the same communities that have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic are the ones that have suffered most because the economic devastation it has caused.

Democrats are creating a false choice between combatting climate change and having a prosperous economy. We can have both, and America can supply the innovative technologies that will reduce global emissions. With millions of Americans already losing their jobs, we must find a better way to leave our world better than we found it.

For example, carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies promise to reduce emissions, create jobs and provide cleaner energy. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 created tax credits for deploying CCUS infrastructure.

According to the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, the use of these credits could create 4.3 million to 6.1 million more jobs. Just recently the Internal Revenue Service released guidance to help implement these tax credits, and now American innovators have even more incentive to utilize these technologies.

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Eco-Tyrants: Only ‘Ecological Leninism’ Can Stop Global Warming

In every conceivable way, climate and pandemic alarmism are dancing to the same music while racing toward the same common goal of Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy. TN first revealed this within days of the very start of the COVID-19 panic.

To survive the schemes of these eco-tyrants, their titanic war against Capitalism and Free Enterprise must not be ignored or underestimated. America’s future will be determined by our near-term response.  Inaction on our part means victory on their part. ⁃ TN Editor

Prominent Swedish progressive Andreas Malm has urged using the full coercive power of the state to curb fossil fuel emissions, modeling the response on global coronavirus lockdowns.

The global response to the coronavirus pandemic, which justified massive incursions into civil liberties in the name of public health, offers a model for how to address climate change, Mr. Malm contends, by taking decision-making out of the hands of individuals and delivering it over to the state.

In an interview published Monday with the leftist magazine Jacobin, Malm, who runs the master’s program in human ecology at Lund University, suggests that the moment may have finally arrived to empower governments to dramatically rearrange the world economy to stop climate change.

“There was a moment in March 2020 when many of us in the climate justice movement felt a degree of surprise to find that governments in Europe and elsewhere were prepared to basically shut down their entire economies in an effort to contain the pandemic,” Malm notes. “This is striking, given that the same states had never contemplated undertaking any kind of intervention in the economy for the sake of the climate crisis.”

The reason for this difference in response, Malm suggests, is that the coronavirus disproportionately struck the rich, whereas the effects of climate change seem to never reach the affluent. Moreover, the lockdowns were a luxury that the rich could afford, whereas the poor and middle class suffered their effects more acutely.

“This is a moment where we can say to governments: ‘If you were able to intervene to protect us from the virus, you can intervene to protect us from the climate crisis as well, the implications of which are much worse,’” Malm proposes. “The current juncture therefore provides us with an opportunity to oppose the return to business as usual, to push for the transformation of the global economy and the launch of something like a Green New Deal.”

Malm rues the “sudden obliteration of the climate justice movement” effected by the coronavirus in terms of environmental movements such as Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion, and Ende Gelände.

“Prior to this, there had been a growing momentum toward aggressively disrupting business as usual, and while there have been attempts to temporarily move these actions online, there is simply no way to exert the same kind of pressure through digital means,” he laments.

In analyzing which political forces will be best positioned to benefit from the situation of mass unemployment and social dislocation wrought by the lockdowns, Malm suggests that “it will be the far right, simply because it was in a much stronger position prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 and also because the pandemic has reinforced certain nativist political paradigms, in terms of closing the borders, putting one’s nation first, and a suspicion of foreigners.”

Politically, therefore, “there can be no climate mitigation without a massive defeat of the far right in advanced capitalist countries and in many developing states as well,” he contends.

“A successful strategy to address the climate crisis will need to find a way to weave together environmental justice, working-class struggle, and opposition to the far right,” he declares, and yet the actual destruction of fossil capital itself, including the closure of coal mines and the termination of mass aviation can only come about through “increased state control over large swaths of the economy.”

The sort of dramatic change that is needed is “totally impossible to do simply by tinkering with market mechanisms or introducing some carbon taxes; rather, it will require a massive expansion of state ownership and comprehensive economic planning.”

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California’s Green New Deal Bill Is Dead… For Now

The “Great Panic of 2020” literally killed legislation designed to ensconce the national Green New Deal rhetoric in California law. Supporting legislators will not go away quietly, however, and vow to return with more bills to flip the state into Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy. ⁃ TN Editor
 

The author of California’s “Green New Deal” legislation, which aimed to tackle climate change with a focus on environmental, health and economic justice for low-income, immigrant and communities of color, says the COVID-19 crisis was likely the final blow for the bill this year.

“I can’t tell you it was going to be the law this year, but certainly COVID made it much more difficult,” said its lead author, Oakland Democratic Assembly member Rob Bonta.

With the legislature focusing on fewer bills because of a greatly reduced state budget, Assembly Bill 1839 didn’t get a hearing. Bonta says that meant the bill won’t continue on this year, but the ideas baked into it could remain. 

“The California Green New Deal is alive and well … I thought it was important for us to move a bill and to show that it can happen,” Bonta said. “If it can happen in the fifth-largest economy in the world, it can happen anywhere.”

Fourteen Democratic lawmakers pushed for a California Green New Deal in January. It was supposed to be bold and big, accelerating the state’s climate goals amid the threat of drought, sea-level rise and deadly wildfires. Many environmental advocates valued the broad bill that was supposed to get fleshed out this session because it aimed to tackle climate change equitably. 

In response to the pandemic, the authors turned the bill into a California COVID-19 Recovery Deal with a focus on stimulating the economy justly as the pandemic lingers. Part of the goal was to make sure communities disproportionately impacted by climate change continue to recieve support as threats (pollution, warming, wildfires and seas level rise) to lives worsen.

The bill was a spinoff of the national Green New Deal — which was sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — that failed to pass. 

Bonta says the bill was important because it safeguards disadvantaged communities and people of color who “have been an afterthought with respect to the fossil fuel economy and the harm it caused for them,” Bonta said. 

But Bonta notes just because the bill isn’t moving forward this year doesn’t mean its tenets can’t live on in legislation that moves forward.   

“It doesn’t stop the values that animate and give life to that bill from continuing to exist in the other action that is happening now, including the California Economic Recovery Task Force’s Work,” Bonta said. 

He says the values could live on within the state task force aimed at stimulating the economy or as part of a climate resiliency bond, AB 3256. It’s focused on economic recovery, wildfire prevention, safe drinking water, drought preparation and flood protection. The bill would authorize bonds for the November statewide ballot to help pay for costs associated with the state’s changing climate. 

“You have to combine equity and support for vulnerable, disadvantaged communities with the work to address our existential threat of the climate crisis,” Bonta said.

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Green New Deal

EU Sponsors Green New Deal To Conquer Economic Shutdown

At the beginning of the Great Panic of 2020, TN stated that recovery stimulus funds would be purposefully directed into financing the global Green New Deal, aka Sustainable Development and Technocracy. The EU is the first to lay it out. ⁃ TN Editor

World leaders know their countries face one of the most severe recessions in history thanks to the coronavirus restrictions.

That presents a unique challenge, but also a massive opportunity.

Politicians know they are going to need to spend huge amounts of money to kick-start economic activity as the threat of coronavirus finally recedes.

It is a one-off, never-to-be-repeated chance to transform their economies. So the question is, what will they spend it on?

‘Europe’s moment’

This week the European Union put its cards on the table. On Wednesday it unveiled what it is billing as the biggest “green” stimulus package in history.

“This is about all of us and it is way bigger than any one of us,” announced Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, when she told European Parliament members what was planned. “This is Europe’s moment,” she said.

As well as being a big step towards federalism, the recovery package puts fighting climate change at the heart of the bloc’s recovery from the pandemic.

The scale of what is being proposed is mind-boggling. The headline figure is €750bn, but add in spending from future budgets and the total financial firepower the European Commission says it will be wielding is almost €2tn ($2.2tn).

There will be tens of billions of euros to make homes more energy efficient, to decarbonise electricity and phase out petrol and diesel vehicles.

The idea is to turbo-charge the European effort to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

“If we do not do it we will be taking much more risk,” Teresa Ribera, the deputy Prime Minister of Spain told me.

“The recovery should be green or it will not be a recovery, it will just be a short-cut into the kind of problems we are facing right now.”

A Green New Deal

If you are thinking this is just something that sandal-wearing European liberals might get behind, think again.

Donald Trump may be an avowed supporter of fossil fuels, but his Democratic opponent in the November presidential election is not.

Joe Biden is reckoned to be planning a similarly huge green stimulus package for the US.

The model is the vast investment projects of the New Deal that helped lift America out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

That was the defining policy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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Club of Rome

Club Of Rome Calls For Green Reboot After Pandemic

The writers state that “we can use the science to design economies that will mitigate the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pandemics.” In fact, science has already designed such as system and it is called Technocracy, aka Sustainable Development. ⁃ TN Editor

The COVID-19 coronavirus has forced entire countries into lockdown mode, terrified citizens around the world, and triggered a financial-market meltdown. The pandemic demands a forceful, immediate response. But in managing the crisis, governments also must look to the long term.

One prominent policy blueprint with a deep time horizon is the European Commission’s European Green Deal, which offers several ways to support the communities and businesses most at risk from the current crisis.

COVID-19 reflects a broader trend: More planetary crises are coming. If we muddle through each new crisis while maintaining the same economic model that got us here, future shocks will eventually exceed the capacity of governments, financial institutions, and corporate crisis managers to respond. Indeed, the “coronacrisis” has already done so.

The Club of Rome issued a similar warning in its famous 1972 report, “The Limits to Growth,” and again in “Beyond the Limits,” a 1992 book by the lead author of that earlier report, Donella Meadows. As Meadows warned back then, humanity’s future will be defined not by a single emergency but by many separate yet related crises stemming from our failure to live sustainably. By using the Earth’s resources faster than they can be restored, and by releasing wastes and pollutants faster than they can be absorbed, we have long been setting ourselves up for disaster.

On one planet, all species, countries, and geopolitical issues are ultimately interconnected. We are witnessing how the outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China can wreak havoc on the entire world. Like COVID-19, climate change, biodiversity loss, and financial collapses do not observe national or even physical borders. These problems can be managed only through collective action that starts long before they become full-blown crises.

The coronavirus pandemic is a wake-up call to stop exceeding the planet’s limits. After all, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change all make pandemics more likely. Deforestation drives wild animals closer to human populations, increasing the likelihood that zoonotic viruses like SARS-CoV-2 will make the cross-species leap. Likewise, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that global warming will likely accelerate the emergence of new viruses.

Governments that succeed in containing epidemics all tacitly follow the same mantra: “Follow the science and prepare for the future.” But we can do much better. Rather than simply reacting to disasters, we can use the science to design economies that will mitigate the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pandemics. We must start investing in what matters, by laying the foundation for a green, circular economy that is anchored in nature-based solutions and geared toward the public good.

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Economic Destruction Is A Preview Of The Green New Deal Economy

Let this article sink in: Sustainable Development and the Green New Deal, aka Technocracy, depend on economic destruction such as is seen with the Great Panic of 2020. If you can imagine the current economic doom lasting until 2030, then you will know what they are trying to do. ⁃ TN Editor

Eric Holthaus, a popular online climate-change activist, points out that the allegedly positive environmental effects of the coronavirus crisis are on “roughly the same pace that the IPCC says we need to sustain every year until 2030 to be on pace to limit global warming to 1.5C and hit the Paris climate goals.”

“We’re doing it. It’s possible!” he adds.

It’s nice to see an environmentalist finally acknowledging the inherent economic tradeoff of their vision. Holthaus is absolutely correct that implementing a plan like the Green New Deal would hold approximately the same gruesome economic consequences as the coronavirus crisis — except, of course, forever. The point of modern environmentalism, as Greta Thunberg has hinted, is the destruction of wealth. This process is what Holthaus, and others, euphemistically call “degrowth.”

Holthaus, who doesn’t celebrate coronavirus, reminds us that merely to keep pace with the IPCC recommendations on carbon emissions, Americans would be compelled to shut down virtually the entire economy. They would need to restrict air travel, place most Americans under virtual house arrest (or raze all the suburbs), halt international and interstate trade, destroy millions of jobs, shut down large swaths of manufacturing, and stop people from using their cars — or buying gas.

How would it work? The only “Green New Deal” that we’ve ever actually seen was authored by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her plan, one supported by the Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, calls for the banning of all fossil fuels, 99 percent of cars and planes, and meat-eating, among many other nonsensical regulations, within the next decade.

Now, AOC has struggled to understand that a marketplace with cheaper fossil fuels wouldn’t herald a new age of expensive “clean energy,” but destroy it. In normal times, Americans use around 20 million barrels of petroleum every day. You’d have to layer every inch of the country with solar panels and windmills, and then print tens of bazillions of dollars to pay people for unproductive work. This is what Holthaus calls a “transition for workers.”

Also, you’d have to compel people to participate. I feel confident that Americans won’t voluntarily relive the 19th century because, whether intuitively or not, they comprehend that by nearly every quantifiable measure their lives are better because of the affordability and reliability of fossil fuels. One day that reality might change. Today is not that day.

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AOC On Demise Of Oil: ‘You Absolutely Love To See It’

Green New Dealers like AOC are ready to dance on the grave of capitalism and free enterprise. AOC is visibly pleased to see the fossil fuel industry being crushed with wells being capped, companies going bankrupt and employees being laid off. ⁃ TN Editor

On Monday, U.S. oil prices fell below zero for the first time ever, shocking observers and raising doubts about the solvency of oil and gas companies coming out of the coronavirus crisis and the oil selling war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. These negative prices were distressing news for the U.S. economy, threatening the livelihoods of oil and gas workers and the availability of the gasoline Americans will need after the crisis ends. Yet Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) saw them as a reason to celebrate.

“You absolutely love to see it,” AOC tweeted. “This along with record low interest rates means it’s the right time for a worker-led mass investment in green infrastructure to save our planet. *cough*”

Twitter

In other words, AOC found the negative prices not only a reason to celebrate but another excuse to push her radical Green New Deal legislation. Except, the Green New Deal would not be “worker-led,” of course. The green big government boondoggle would not just devastate America’s energy sector and cost all those workers their jobs, but it would require the government to tax the life out of the rich, the middle class, and probably the poor, too.

But you know what they say, never let an opportunity — oh, sorry, I mean a crisis — go to waste, right?

Even Ocasio-Cortez seems to have had some shame, however. She deleted the tweet but not before it had been saved for eternity.

House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was among those calling out AOC’s despicable words.

“Oil & gas workers are losing their livelihoods. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s response was ‘you absolutely love to see it.’ Then she deleted it because she doesn’t want people to see the truth: Dems are willing to sacrifice people’s jobs & livelihoods for their radical socialist agenda,” Scalise tweeted.

AOC had retweeted independent journalist Brandon Smith, who noted that “oil prices [are] now at ‘negative values,’ meaning oil producers have to pay people to take it off their hands and store it because when demand plunges (like now), that is less expensive for them than building more storage and/or shutting wells down.”

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SDGs

UK Climate Group: COVID-19 A ‘Test Run’ For Greener Lifestyles

Because of the underlying mutual links between global warming hysteria and the COVID-19 panic, it is no wonder that green groups would make statements like this. Greening the world for Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy, is the red meat of the pandemic. ⁃ TN Editor

Working from home and other measures to help stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Britain show how quickly the country could change its ways to address climate change too, participants in the Climate Assembly UK said on Sunday.

“With coronavirus, (the government) has had to act because they had no choice in the matter. With climate change, they need to act in the same way,” said Marc Robson, 46, a British Gas installer and one of the 110 members of the citizens’ assembly.

As with the response to the COVID-19 respiratory disease, “people will die if we don’t do it”, the Newcastle resident warned in a video interview.

“And we all need to buy into this as well. It needs to be explained to the public that if we don’t change what we’re doing, it’s going to cost us, big time.”

The assembly, chosen to reflect Britain’s diverse geographic and demographic makeup, as well as different viewpoints on climate change, has met once a month in Birmingham since January to hear from experts on climate science and policy.

It is expected to submit over the summer its recommendations to the government on how Britain should meet a legally binding goal to cut its climate-heating emissions to net zero by 2050.

But with coronavirus restrictions now in place on public gatherings, the assembly this weekend was held for the first time online – a change some assembly members saw as a “test run” for potential climate-smart shifts they had been discussing.

“This has opened up my mind that we can make these changes, like working at home,” Robson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Sarah Allan, the head of engagement at Involve UK, a charity helping run the assembly, said some members of the group had asked to discuss coronavirus during this weekend’s event and reflect on “how it makes them feel about what they’ve heard”.

Ibrahim Wali, 42, a physician based in Surrey, said he had been conducting COVID-19 assessments via telephone and video-link since the outbreak began and realised “it’s doable”.

“People could stay home more, work remotely. Sometimes in life you just need a challenge to change the way you live and operate,” he said.

What he had learned more generally at the assembly sessions also had led him to install LED lightbulbs at home, look at switching to a hybrid or electric car and reconsider how often he eats meat, which has a large carbon footprint.

“If you can do that on an individual level, that’s where it starts. Then it’s friends, family, society,” he said in a video interview.

Reducing emissions “is not just something for the government to do. I thought in the past the government would sort it all out with laws and legislation. But it makes a huge difference if everyone looks at themselves and makes a change,” he added.

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Ann Pettifor

Green New Deal Eyes Immediate Startup During Great Panic Of 2020

It is not the Green New Deal architects who are confused about the immediate future and its prognosis. Rather, the confused are those Americans who laugh and shrug it off as a radical pipe-dream. They will be sorry that they didn’t pay better attention. ⁃ TN Editor

Javier Moreno Zacares (JMZ): Somewhere in between left accelerationism and de-growth lies the idea of a ‘Green New Deal’ now being championed by social-democratic forces in different countries. Despite its different incarnations, what unites all these Green New Deals is the idea of rolling out large-scale public investment to engineer a transition toward a more environmentally-sustainable society.

This is the most likely strategy to be implemented, so let’s explore it in a bit more detail. Are the Green New Deal proposals being floated around any better than the alternatives put forward by growth-boosters, or do they fall into the same pitfalls?

Gareth Dale (GD): The Green New Deal proposal has transformed the landscape of debate around the question of climate breakdown and made a radical politics around climate much more real for many people. So we have to thank its early theorists, like the New Economics Foundation, Larry Elliot of The Guardian, Ann Pettifor, and many others. And then of course, the fact that it was taken up by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, easily one of the most inspiring politicians in the world, by the left of the Democratic Party, and now by Momentum and the Labour Party.

The Labour Party passed a motion on the Green New Deal at its last conference – a huge number of constituency Labour parties submitted proposals on this issue, more than for any other motion. It was backed by the trade unions, such as the fire brigade union and the communication workers union. It was a radical motion, targeting 2030 for net zero carbon, and arguing for climate refugees to be accepted as well; and for a soaking of the rich – for radical redistributive policies.

There was a commitment to nationalising the fossil fuel industries, which is not necessarily a solution (many of the big oil companies are nationalised), but a necessary step nonetheless. So, it was a very inspiring moment and gives us a glimpse of the kind of policies needed.

But the Green New Deal is a contested field. There’s a spectrum: from the far left, which see it as a way towards a socialist transformation of the world, through to people like Thomas Friedman, the rightwing New York Times columnist, who coined the term ‘Green New Deal’. And all points in between. This has been discussed by Thea Riofrancos in a piece for Viewpoint magazine, which is well worth reading, where she discusses the Green New Deal as a terrain of struggle.

Take the Labour Party motion as an example: it initially included a call for an end of airport expansion. This was not to shut down all airports (which I think is necessary, unless they are used for dirigibles for rather slower long-distance travel), but only to curtail expansion. Yet even thus was nixed by a couple of reactionary union leaderships (of the GMB and Unite). So there’s conflict there. Yet despite the loss of that aspect it was a very positive development and in a diluted form entered the Labour Party manifesto.

The implementation of any Green New Deal programme would meet robust resistance from business and would need huge support from grassroots movements, such as the school strikes, Extinction Rebellion, and others that will spring up. It is unlikely such a radical proposal would have been discussed at the Labour conference had it not been for social movements pushing from the outside. If global heating is going to be mitigated meaningfully under capitalism it’s going to require a lot more of those movements.

I’ve been circling around your question – are Green New Deal proposals any different to those put forward by green growth boosters? Yes there’s a clear overlap. Even the Labour party’s proposal tended to focus on growth, increase, investment, and not on shutting down coal production and oil production and so on. That’s an inevitable tendency considering the Green New Deal is being put forward by parties that appeal to voters, in a capitalist system where most of the world is owned by businesses and we depend upon businesses for our jobs.

So, it’s useful to think of the detailed consequences of some of these demands. Take for example high-speed rail. Broadly, it’s an attractive and rational proposal that should, I suppose, be rolled out around the world—do you think? But there might be a catch. If you connect up all cities over, say, the size of New Orleans, that’s 50 cities in the US, add up the links between them – whatever the map you use, the network topology, that’s a lot of track.

You’ll agree, I hope: the rest of the world deserves prosperity and capacities at the same level as the USA. So the Salvadorian would need to rapidly get to events in Manaus, and the Muscovite to Omsk and so on. Where are you going to extract all these materials?

This will be a colossal construction project, even on top of the other projects we’ve been discussing (passive houses and so on). Can we even do it without burning the planet to a crisp? Maybe, but you could reach a stage where so much cement has been manufactured and so much iron ore dug for all this construction that, say, the breakneck expansion of material throughput that we’ve recently seen in China appears a little burp of emissions by comparison.

To build the planned 100 miles expansion of new high-speed rail track in England, 20 million tonnes of concrete will be poured. To produce a tonne of concrete releases the same tonnage of CO2 under present technologies. Of course, these proposals need to be developed, but also consider the material details: the materials and energy required.

Similarly, we could carpet the world with wind farms, and we probably should, but bear in mind that although turbines are powered by thin air, they are not made of it, but of concrete, steel, copper, glass fibre, neodymium, etc. Much of this requires highly pollutive mining, with mines surrounded by toxic lakes and workers and neighbourhoods suffering and so on.

Of course, under capitalism, these expansive proposals are the ones that are going to filter to the top, because they can bring to agreement among radicals, unions and the businesses that will profit from them. And those who instead advocate shutting down the mines, decreasing consumption, and tackling the rich directly, will face the power of business.

There is, then, a dilemma. I accept that the overturning of capitalism is unlikely in the next thirty years, but that’s the same time we have for the world to act very rapidly – so that’s a conundrum. Capitalism is a system where competitive accumulation is threaded into inter-state competition, so that states want to foster rapid capitalist growth in their territories in order to outcompete the rest. Yet, these states are really the only powers capable of mobilising the resources and manpower necessary for mobilising a Green New Deal!

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