The Green New Deal
What is the Green New Deal? What Can It Do? What are its Limitations? The Green New Deal (GND) is getting a lot of attention these days...and rightly so as the potential of the Green New Deal to address climate change and global warming is the single most important issue of today. And tomorrow.
Proponents of the GND are hopeful as it coincides with the scientific studies that show that we have 12 years left to turn our climate catastrophe around. Not 50 years, not 30 years, but 12 years. As a world leader, the USA bears great responsibility in leading the way in getting off fossil fuels and onto wind and solar energy. Just as the name "New Deal" summons the memory of FDR and his New Deal, it also raises the memory of how fast the USA ramped up the factories and work force that made the weapons and machinery necessary to go to war in Europe. It was an incredible feat. It can be done again. So what is involved in the Green New Deal? Currently the GND is in the form of a joint Congressional Resolution which lays out some principles but lacks the specificity or authority of laws. The bottom line is that it is technologically possible but politically very difficult. There is more to the GND in the social arenas as will be addressed in the panel. But addressing the potential of transformative change in the Green New Deal's target of net-zero greenhouse emissions is the #1 priority.
Although the GND has raised a lot of enthusiasm in some quarters, it also has its detractors and skeptics. The range from the powerful neoliberal conservatives in both political parties who champion business as usual to indigenous and environmental leaders who question the timing and scope of the GND resolution. For example, instead of advocating a fossil fuel free energy system the GND suggests net zero carbon emission which some fear leaves wide open the opportunity for carbon trading and carbon credits. In the latter cases coal, oil, and natural gas could be used indefinitely. Carbon sequestration and carbon trading are among many schemes that will eventually be supported by industry as simply part of the cost of doing business. Instead those who question the premises of the GND demand that fossil fuels specifically be left in the ground.
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