The Green New Deal

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thc0655's picture
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The Green New Deal

Here at Peak Prosperity we talk about "solutions" and work-arounds regarding the Three E's problems and predicaments.  In fact, we can get impatient with people who don't have something positive to offer by way of solutions.  So, with that in mind, I have to give at least a little credit to whoever has taken a stab at a solution when they came up with the so-called "Green New Deal."  I give them credit for trying and putting their plan out there where it (and they) could be criticized.  But that's pretty much all I can say in the way of praise.

So much of the Green New Deal is built on socialist/communist political thinking that I am seriously frightened those parts at least might become policy.  So much of the plan is, from my perspective, totally unhinged from mathematical and logical thinking, not to mention facts on the ground.

Anyway, I was hoping the Green New Deal would just wither up and blow away, but it's looking like more and more people are taking it seriously.  Since the Green New Deal addresses the Three E's I suppose we should have a forum to discuss it.  Here we go.

Here's a link to the actual document being circulated by its proponents:

Here's today's latest zerohedge piece savaging parts of the Green New Deal:

Having been mocked by her own leadership (and much of social media) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) - the little socialist that could - faces the final condemnation tonight as The Wall Street Journal surveyed the Bronx Congresswoman's "Green New Deal" resolution... and was left in hysterics, with Kimberley Strassel tweeting:

"By the end of the Green New Deal resolution (and accompanying fact sheet) I was laughing so hard I nearly cried. If a bunch of GOPers plotted to forge a fake Democratic bill showing how bonkers the party is, they could not have done a better job. It is beautiful. "

Leaving the outspoken reporter with only one conclusion:

The Republican Party has a secret weapon for 2020. It’s especially effective because it’s stealthy: The Democrats seem oblivious to its power. And the GOP needn’t lift a finger for it to work.

All Republicans have to do is sit back and watch 29-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez . . . exist."

Here's AOC acknowledging that achieving the Green New Deal will absolutely require a "massive government intervention" into private life and businesses.

Here are some of the key debatable goals of the Green New Deal:

This morning, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released an overview of her “Green New Deal” which threatens "a massive transformation of our society."

Below are the details of the proposal.

Rebuild every single building in the U.S.

“Upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency.”

Will end all traditional forms of energy in the next ten years.

The Green New Deal is “a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War 2 to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

Plans to ban nuclear energy within 10 years if possible.

“It’s unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years, but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible.”

Build trains across oceans and end all air travel!

“Build out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary”.

Don’t invest in new technology of Carbon Capture and Storage, just plant trees instead!

“We believe the right way to capture carbon is to plant trees and restore our natural ecosystems. CCUS technology to date has not proven effective.”

Mandates all new jobs be unionized.

“Ensure that all GND jobs are union jobs that pay prevailing wages and hire local.”

May include a carbon tax.

“We’re not ruling a carbon tax out, but a carbon tax would be a tiny part of a Green New Deal.”

May include cap and trade.

“…Cap and trade may be a tiny part of the larger Green New Deal plan.”

How much will it cost?

No estimate of the total cost of implementing the Green New deal is offered by Ocasio-Cortez.

However, as Ocasio-Cortez admits, “even if every billionaire and company came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient.”

She does provide one estimate that the cost to “repair and upgrade infrastructure U.S. infrastructure” alone will cost “$4.6 trillion at minimum.”

How will it be paid for? Don’t worry about that.

Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t provide any insight into how the trillions of dollars in spending will be paid for other than claiming, “The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit”.

Bus as Ocasio-Cortez says, “the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity”.

And it seems the Green New Deal promises economic security, free health care, and other benefits for not only those UNABLE to work, but even to those UNWILLING to work.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a self-described Democratic Socialist, introduced the Green New Deal on Thursday. It outlines a plan to abandon the economic system that has dominated American society since its inception, fundamentally changing the patterns of industry output, employment, consumption, and the relation of government to the market.

One of its most radical proposals is issued almost in passing: a guarantee of “Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”


The U.S. has long had programs, private and public, to assist those unable to work. But it has never embraced the idea that the role of the government included guaranteeing economic security for those who are unwilling to work.

In fact, traditional American liberalism regarded full employment as its goal because of the importance of work to society and the individual.

Senator Eugene McCarthy wrote in his 1964 book A Liberal Answer to the Conservative Challenge:


The full consideration of unemployment must take into account the nature of work and its meaning to the human being. Neither unrelieved leisure activities nor idleness is the road to happiness. Man by nature needs more than satisfaction of his capacity to consume. He needs also to produce, to construct, to add some degree of perfection to goods or to provide services to other men.

This is not the Job Guarantee popularized by the recently trendy Modern Monetary theory crowd as a solution to mass unemployment. Neither is it the sort of Income Guarantee advocated by Silicon Valley executives who envision a future economy with very low employment but abundant consumption of technology products funded through government handouts, which critics have described as “serfdom without the work.”

This is far more radical. It a guarantee that the government will provide economic security to those who are unwilling to work. Presumably, this includes not just income but also healthcare, childcare, higher education, housing, transportation, and retirement benefits.

The economic effects are easily apparent. Workforce participation would fall as payments for not working would bid workers away from private and public sector jobs. Productivity would decline and economic growth slow. Many Americans, particularly younger Americans, would become dependent on the government for income and would not develop skills needed in the workforce.

Prominent Modern Monetary Theory economist Bill Mitchell, one of the most thoughtful advocates of a job guarantee,  has written that income-without-work guarantees “signify a further withdrawal by the State from its responsibility to manage economic affairs and care for its citizens. Young people must be encouraged to develop skills and engage in paid work, rather than be the passive recipients of social security benefit.”

Even Karl Marx thought the economic system should require each of the comrades to supply labor “according to his ability” rather than according to his willingness to work.  

Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal envisions a society in which anyone can choose to go without paid employment while still having income to consume the food and products of working citizens.

We might as well get to know this proposal as we're going to being hearing it discussed in Congress, the media, our neighborhoods and water coolers at work.

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Too Much Too Late?

Those who don't "believe" in rapid climate change can have their big laugh, especially so called Liberal Democratic but the truth will be experienced by us all, in this life-time, and it will test our "faith". At least there's some semblance of flailing from AOC.

Lets have some fun and imagine a solution that allows for individual freedom and capitalism, LOL!

Did you catch Bernie's responce? he took a swig from a plastic water bottle in the middle. N'uff said.

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I may not

Agree with everything in her plan, but I’m stupid happy that this kind of stuff is finally being talked about. I’m tired of “business as usual” talk in DC, the media, and friends and family.


At least she’s getting people talking about the 3Es. Beats anything the mainstream right OR left have been doing!

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green new deal

If we replaced the words "climate change" with "peak oil", how would we feel about the less-socialistic parts of the plan, its expense, and urgency?

Chris - and the Hirsch report - both talk about a crash program to replace oil use in society.  Pretending its about climate change to get everyone on board, well, I'd say that's just genius.  "Save the planet" is so much nicer than "we're RUNNING OUT OF OIL YOU IDIOTS."  The one (save the planet) is about a competition to act virtuous, while the alternative (oil is vanishing!) virtually demands that everyone immediately run out and seize as much oil for themselves as possible.

If you were in charge of the place, which narrative would you put forth?  And fund?  And if the positive narrative happened to have elements of truth to it, so much the better.

As for socialism in general, I believe it is increasing in appeal because capitalism itself has disappeared, and all we have left is fake-capitalism which has centralized profits and utterly seized control over government.  And so more and more people have lost agency, and they know things are unfair at some level, and socialism promises redress of this unfairness through force.  Same deal with communism.  If capitalism works, nobody gives two shits about communism.  Its only when things get overwhelmingly corrupt and unfair that communism has a door to enter.

"Medicare for all" is only interesting because sickcare costs 20% of GDP, and it is bankrupting people right and left.  When the corruption becomes too great, people demand a revolution in one form or another.

Socialism (and these ridiculous "citizen income" programs) is also all about addressing the deep-seated unfairness that is built into the structure of today's society.  People have been reduced to being cogs in someone else's profit machine, and this is their way of fighting back against this.

One simple example of the government helping to centralize profits: impose a regulation making street vendors illegal.  At a stroke you deprive millions of people agency and profits, while creating a whole new group of people willing to be low-wage workers in your profit machine, at the same time removing competition for the profit-centralizing chain stores.

Winners and losers, and as always, the little guy isn't the winner, with the government acting as the strong right arm.

That's how a country full of millions of small business owners becomes a country willing to look at socialism as an answer.  It isn't an answer, of course, but I totally understand the motivation, and the attraction.

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Richard Heinberg

I too am ecstatic that there is a large, ambitious, provocative proposal coming from within the political system that starts to acknowledge the problems of climate change and inequality with appropriate levels of alarm.

I also have no confidence that what is proposed by AOC will work.  As usual, I find Richard Heinberg's writings on the topic almost spot-on.  He covers almost all the pertinent issues here:

If I have to fault Heinberg, its that I think he's a little too lenient on MMT.  Even if MMT was viable, I have to ask myself whether all that unlimited cash would really go into addressing energy descent, climate change, inequality, etc - more likely would beneficiaries would be the military industrial complex, police state, fracking, plutocrats etc etc.



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Describing regulatory capture to the ethics committee

I most definitely do not feel that anything good will come from a Republican vs Democrat (or pro-Trump anti-Trump) discussion.

But, I really admire this young woman and the role playing explanation she gave the congressional ethics committee on the process of regulatory capture and the way that Big Money can control society to the detriment of the common people.  Very well done.

I will add one more example of regulatory capture:  The CDC Vaccine Committee.

Vaccine expert scientists sit on the CDC vaccine committee that vote on which vaccinations will be recommended for children.  This committee is The Standard Setter for this topic.  Yet these same experts are simultaneously employed by vaccine manufacturers and in many cases are the very individuals that lead the development and testing of these vaccines. 

A revolving door between the CDC and vaccine manufacturers exists.

There is abundant room for, and evidence of, conflict of interest.

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conflict of interests and intolerance for dissenting views

I actually know a Ph.D. immunologist who was on the Department of Healths National Vaccine Advisory Committee Vaccine Safety Writing Group back in the early 2000s. She also had a nonvoting seat on the CDC panel that actually made the vaccine choices. If I remember correctly, she was the only immunologist on that CDC panel. She described it as mostly vaccine industry professionals and a few MDs. She was politely asked to step down from the nonvoting seat because she, and i think one other MD, were voicing concerns about introducing so many vaccines in the first year of life and how that might adversely tweak immune response and tolerance. She left in disgust and is now involved in Parkinsons research. She said there was no room for anyone who raised legitimate, credible concerns for health and safety.

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Excessive truth has been re-concealed. Carry on.

A quick look behind the curtain of the GND, has been abruptly covered over. For the good of the children, of course.

"economic security" even for those unwilling to work has been removed from the GND language, but not before many saw it.

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Stupid happy sounds about right

thc0655's picture
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The nightmare fairyland of the Green New Dealers

...It is not really surprising that those who have most enthusiastically signed on to the Green New Deal are those in the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, and especially those who are the self-declared democratic socialists among them. Only a socialist can still believe that government planning can solve all the problems of the world, that merely commanding resources and directing people can take care of humanity’s economic and social shortcomings, and all within a decade of setting the plan in motion. 

Read through House Resolution 109, and not once do you find any reference to limits, scarcity, trade-offs, costs, or consumer choice and private-enterprise decision-making. Like a throwback to the Stalinist five-year plans of the 1930s, great transformations will be conjured up: new infrastructures in the form of roads, transportation, buildings, energy, and production will be redesigned and introduced in every corner of society with merely the will and command to free the world of fossil fuels and their effects. To be fair, they have shown greater modesty than the Stalinist enthusiasts of that earlier time; the Green New Dealers have given themselves a decade to perform these miracles, rather than work within the frame of a Soviet-style five-year plan. 

They admit at several points that there may be the constraints of what science and technology will allow to be physically achieved; but they also propose the necessary government funding for research and development so that even nature should not serve as an inescapable obstacle to Utopia. The government experts will surely know which technologies deserve support to meet the targets and goals laid out in the economy-wide encompassing green central plan. 

Nor should there be any concern about the money for all this, because that is what taxing the rich and government borrowing are for; and last but certainly not least, the money to pay for it can always be created since that is what central banks are for. The latter especially may have to be used since America is also to guide and subsidize similar green plans in the other parts of the world. Who said American progressives and democratic socialists don’t believe in making America great again? What could be greater than Americans paying for all that may be needed to save the entire planet? If that does not make you proud to be an American, what does?

Listen to their responses to those who challenge their green plan. Again, like the immature child, they pout and stamp their feet that the only problem is that the rich don’t want to pay up what they owe society. Or the racists and sexists want to maintain the existing social order of things so they can have the power to oppress the victims of their exploitive profit seeking. If not for the enemies of the good, all would be possible without limit or natural constraint.

Is it really necessary nearly 100 years after the publication of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises’ famous essay “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” (1920) to point out that it is not enough to know in technological terms what you would like to do or achieve? It is fundamentally essential in a world of inescapable scarcity of the means to attain our various desired ends to know in value terms what are the competing and most highly valued uses for which the limited factors of production might be applied.

How will the Green New Dealers know whether they have invested too much in a high-speed railway line in Nebraska compared to one in Idaho? Or how will they know whether either one has been worth it at that time and in those places compared to solar panel constructions in North Dakota or wind turbines in Mississippi? How will they know whether a government housing project in Boston has really been affordable in comparison to a new “free” medical clinic in Tucson, Arizona? How will they know any of this in relation to a vast and complex variety of consumer items that citizens all around the country would have been willing to buy, if their incomes had not been taxed and there had been a competitive free market in the production and sale of finished consumption goods? 

The answer is, there will be no real and meaningful answer. Without a private competitive market for the factors of production (land, labor, capital) in which private enterprisers offer factors prices based on their alternative entrepreneurial judgments about the types and quantities of consumer goods that market demanders might be willing to buy in the future at particular anticipated prices, there is no way to know whether the means at society’s disposal (that means all of us as individual buyers and sellers) have been cost-efficiently used to attain as many of the alternative and competing ends we would like to see possibly achieved. (See my article “Why Socialism Is Impossible.”)...

With the implementation of the Green New Dealers’ dreamland, America will begin the transition from a system of price-guided production serving and satisfying market-based consumer demand to what Ludwig von Mises called the “planned chaos” of waste-creating surpluses of unneeded and wrongly made goods along with life-frustrating shortages of desired and essential consumer items and producer commodities.

No longer singularly directed by competitive prices, the forms and types of production will increasingly be determined by the political dictates of the coalition of “inclusive” groups participating in the democratic decision-making of remaking America into the green world of the future. But precisely because of the direct and indirect supply-chain interdependencies of sectors of the economy in a social system of division of labor, resulting imbalances and distortions in one sector will have inescapable spillover effects on many other sectors.

A component part needed for one production process is lagging in availability because of manufacturing delays in the factory supplying that part because its energy supplies are dependent upon faulty solar panels caused by inferior inputs allocated to its manufacture under the green plan.

In another part of the country, highways are crisscrossed with newly installed electric-car powering stations, which are underutilized or not used at all because far fewer electric-powered automobiles have been produced than the planners had planned. Or the traffic flows in that area of the country have turned out to be far less than the green planners had projected because of other mismatches between central plan and local realities.

The types of competitive, market-based flexibilities in resource allocations and production adjustments that are constantly adapting the supplies to the demands in the face of unexpected and changing circumstances in a system of private, free enterprise under the incentives of profit and loss are all lacking under the green plan.

Prices and wages cannot adapt to the changing circumstances because various politically connected stakeholders in these imbalanced corners of the economy insist on preserving their socially just standards and locations of living while numerous historically “victimized” groups insist that any change that does occur must protect or improve upon their existing material or social status in society; to not listen to these groups would imply continuing residues of racism, sexism, and social injustice. And there are, of course, the diehard Green New Deal ideologues who insist that personal sacrifices must be happily made because there is no going back to “capitalism.” It’s either the green plan or an end to the planet.

With each passing day, every passing month and year, the dislocations in the economy grow with accompanying acrimonious accusations, buck-passing rationalizations and excuses, and grandiose political justifications for the increasing shortages, decreasing qualities, and lagging achievements in all the green plan had promised.

There are outspoken complaints by more and more people; here and there groups of consumers and workers and disappointed members of old or new victimized groups publicly demonstrate with anger and insistence that something better be done. They are met with the green planners promising plan corrections and social improvements, along with accusations about shadowy and dangerous enemies of the beautiful green world being built...


kelvinator's picture
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I Think We All Agree - the Future Will Require Radical Changes

Those changes are most likely to be imposed by reality and for the most part, not be 'happy' ones.  But as Chris has written often, we still theoretically have the ability and resources to change to make the world a much better, more sustainable place for most - it's just not looking that likely we will do that.

I support what they're calling the "Green New Deal" because to me, it represents the first political acknowledgement at a national level of the scale of the crisis and need to mobilize radically, while what it will evolve into actually is not fully defined.  I know it's not defined because I'm in on some of the strategy calls that have related to building it out as a action platform.  You could be, too, if you were interested. It's going to have to be flexible and evolve if it is to accomplish anything, but at least it has started.  I have only minor interest in comments which criticize the GND without making that criticism constructive - ie, putting out an alternative that they feel addresses their concerns and either modifies and improves what the GND should become, or rejects it to suggest another very different, positive course of action on a similar very large scale. 

If someone says there's nothing to be done aside from hunker down and prep for your family and community, that's an understandable and valid view as far as I'm concerned - after all, succeeding at anything with large groups of people and keeping it from going corrupt or othewise failing is tough.  ;-)  I'm doing my own family and community prep work myself - my wife and I are excited at possibly joining a co-housing group at the moment and sharing large garden areas powered by a self-sufficient electrical system, etc.  It's a lot more potentially fun that trying to do it all on our own!

It's just that I'm not particularly interested in only a family and community approach that rejects the larger change that will be required to stop fossil fuel use and climate change before it goes critical, even though I think the odds of succeeding without major climate and social disruption aren't that great.  Getting the values right, maintaining people's freedom, etc. cleaning out corporate/gov't corruption and keeping it from becoming anti-democratic seem a hugely difficult task - but for me, it's more fun to try, and can provide a rationale for a radical corruption housecleaning.  As in the original New Deal, whatever eventually becomes reality would take large scale mobilization and constructive involvement and would end up becoming a collection of things probably be very different than many current ideas about GND that exist today.  The original New Deal was, actually, a series of programs thrown against the wall to see what sticks, because they had to try something in the global depression.  Some stuck, like social security and laws to counter securities fraud (for awhile), and some didn't.  We have to try something now, too, as far as I'm concerned, and see what sticks.

It's worth noting that, per Paul Jam's comment on Richard Heinberg of Post Carbon Institute, Heinberg's criticism of the current GND is that it doesn't go far enough.  From the linked article:

"So, in sum, a Green New Deal that would fully address the climate/energy crisis would have to be far broader in scope than what is currently being proposed [by AOC]. Ultimately, we will need to mobilize society as a whole with a World War II-level of effort. Again, what’s required is not simply to provide jobs to the un- or underemployed while building large numbers of wind turbines and solar panels; we will all need to live very differently and make some sacrifices. Given the already dangerously high and increasing level of economic inequality in the country, it would make sense to ensure that sacrifices fall mostly on those who are currently well-off, while the benefits of job creation are targeted toward those who are already feeling the pinch.

A Green New Deal is needed. It’s an idea that deserves support from politicians and advocacy organizations. That said, it will be a difficult policy to negotiate in detail and much tougher to pass into law. But, in such a volatile political landscape, almost anything is possible—even a practical version of a Green New Deal that addresses our shared crises with the most equitable rules and institutions we can muster."

davefairtex's picture
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saving the planet

Again, the socialistic aspects of the GND are only interesting because crony capitalism has utterly failed the new up-and-coming generation.  Boomers assets were blown up in value by the mortgage frauds in 2000-2008, and then by money printing in 2009-2015, leaving the younger generations unable to buy houses or create families.

At the same time, sickcare costs have risen to 20% of GDP, illegal immigration has hammered wages at the lower end, and inflation in education has saddled them with ridiculous amounts of debt.

Unable to buy homes, create families, with lower wages and obscenely expensive sickcare and education...given all that, socialism is actually a rational response to the situation.

I mean, socialism ultimately doesn't work, we all know that, but for this group, neither does crony capitalism, and socialism at least promises them some crumbs while crony capitalism is just unending slavery with really no hope for a decent life.

And socialism does appear to work for a time, before capital has a chance to flee.

The problem with the GND, at least as proposed, is that it is proposing both guns and butter.  Radically remake the US energy scene, transforming our energy production into something which provides less net energy than what we have now, and at the same time, institute a bunch of new social programs.

Instead of noticing that society is run on net energy, GND planners assumes society runs on money.  That's an easy mistake to make.  And of course given that assumption, the fix is easy too: just print the money, and problem is solved - as long as you create valuable new things for society with the printed money, you won't get inflation.  Theoretically anyway.  "We won't know what to do with all the prosperity."  It hangs together if you don't understand (or look at) EROEI.

Of course in a declining net energy situation, what will really happen is just confiscation of stored value from savers, using it to fund this enterprise.  And savers will react accordingly, in anticipation of the confiscation yet-to-come.

However, as savers flee, the GND planners will see this as rebellion - treason - betrayal of their moral crusade.  They are saving the planet, after all, and they will see the actions of these rebellious, treasonous savers as a threat to ruin everything.

That means "windfall taxes" (and/or "wealth taxes") on any vehicles that might act to shelter savings, such as gold, silver, "legacy" energy assets, property, and so on.  As savers try to flee from the confiscation, GND planners will make all those approaches either illegal, or it will tax them heavily.

Good news for them: once in control of government, they have the necessary surveillance technology to root out all the traitors.  The NSA has recorded all communications since 2000.  Just use the right keywords, search those email chains, and you produce a list of traitors who are hiding savings from the moral crusade.  We know from the FISA court judge that, under Obama, the FBI was guilty of handing over unmonitored and unsupervised access to raw NSA intel feeds to contractors, and that abuses on NSA intel feed searches were widespread and egregious.

And of course there's their friends at Google, Facebook, and Twitter, who will volunteer to monitor compliance, root out the traitors, and silence dissent.  After all, we're saving the planet.  All right-thinking people are on board.

It could happen.  Go far enough left, you get Stalin.  Get "moral" enough (either left, or right) and civil liberties mean nothing.

After all, we're saving the planet.  You gotta do what you gotta do for the duration of the emergency.  Which of course will last for the rest of our natural lives.  Convenient it gives the GND planners power, too.  A lot of people will be willing to go along, either because they've been screwed by our crony capitalist system, or because they are true believers in saving the planet.  Or perhaps both.

What Mueller did to Trump's associates, in the quest to root out "Russian Collusion" (we're "saving the country!"), is a model for what might happen (we're saving the planet!) when the GND planners find obstacles to executing their moral crusade, using the Federal Government as the blunt instrument.  They will not blame their MMT theories, nor will they want to look at EROEI - they will blame the savers (and the anti-vaxxers, the conspiracy theorists, the racists, and the xenophobes) rather than admit they might have been wrong.

The takeaway: "moral crusades" make me nervous, because by definition anyone who opposes them is acting immorally, and thus isn't deserving of due process, property rights, etc.

Is this the place where I should put in a joke?  :)

kelvinator's picture
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Unremittingly Negative Assumptions Likely Get Negative Outcomes

I agree with some of your criticism of GND, Dave, in particular the need to focus on EROEI rather than figuring that money-printing somehow provides an eternal resource.  As far as I'm concerned, that would be an crucial constructive criticism to add to the conversation when considering what might be done, as Heinberg does, rather than as a reason for not trying to take action at all at a larger social level, which, is what it seems you're arguing for (?).

Unless I misunderstand you, you pretty much believe that any effort to 'save the planet' at a larger social level is bound to result in horrible oppression by gov't, so it should be avoided.  You offer no other large scale social approach, so I assume you don't believe there is one.  It's exactly the kind of I argument I'd expect from many on this website, which I've come to expect less from in terms of any type of positive larger social approach beyond hunkering down individually or in a very small community.  There's a reasonable rationale for focusing on that 'prepare for impact' view - that we'll devolve to local or regional economies, etc., and there's real value in that perspective as represented here, but seeing that as inevitable with no hope for larger social organization and collaboration with some trust and good faith is one reason I've spent much less time on this site in recent months.  It's an okay view, but it's a known, limited approach based on a cynical view of what societies are capable of, and as I said above, therefore less interesting for me.  

Your statement "socialism ultimately doesn't work, we all know that' isn't true.  We all don't all know that, because the terms and dichotomy of socialism and capitalism only have a limited value any more, as far as I'm concerned.  For sure, pure socialism or communism doesn't work, IMO, just as pure capitalism doesn't work.  And mixes of crony socialism and crony capitalism have only worked to a degree, for awhile, in Europe and the US when we had an energy resource rich world.   Now, we've got a world where pure forms of either one pretty clearly still won't work, but elements of both, plus other ways of integrating local economies with larger economies might be able to work with experimentation.  Evolution is still possible.  Come on, Dave - a little positivity, a little collaboration.  You can do it!  ;-)

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my Green New Deal


I enjoyed your response.  :)

Its not that I think it is possible - or impossible - to save the planet.  My problem is with the mentality of current group of people proposing the solution, the size of the task they are assigning themselves, and the resources available to accomplish the task.

Attempting to execute the Hirsch Report Transition at the same time giving everyone Medicare for All, a UBI, free education, and - I forget what else - seems way out of line with what our declining net energy society can actually provide.  Right, and allowing essentially unlimited immigration too.  Presumably the illegals would also get these benefits too, because they are all "human rights".

You want to hear my plan?  My Green New Deal?

* a gasoline/coal/natural gas tax - for cars, trains, aircraft (both passenger and cargo), houses, generating plants, and especially private jets, every dollar of which would go for "green" infrastructure projects: light rail, rail electrification, high speed trains, etc.  This money could not be used for any other purpose.  Contract work paid for by this program would be listed on a public website.  Whistleblowers for WF&A would receive 20% of any recovery.

* Require net metering for all solar installations from power companies nationwide.   Increase tax benefits for solar panel installation.  Provide low-cost loans (same rates as US treasury bonds) for installing residential solar systems, and solar heating systems.  Provide that for rentals too.  Treasury issues bills, hands money over to pay for the installations, collects payments from homeowners.

* Construct a basic, rationed, national healthcare system available to all US citizens, available for a small copay - say $20.  All Federal workers including Congress would use this system (i.e. that becomes their healthcare benefit).  This system replaces medicare.  The competition from a real low-cost healthcare alternative would end up saving 10% of GDP that is now lining the pockets of the sickcare cartel.  Offer to pay for medical school for any graduate (nurse, or doctor) in exchange for 10 years of service in the national healthcare system.

* Remove money from politics.  Limit campaigns to 12 weeks.  Public funding of elections.  Make it a felony (10 years in the big house) for any elected official or former military officer to work in any private sector job after their public service that relates to their public sector work for 10 years after they leave public service.

That's my green new deal.  It would pay for itself.  I'm not going to claim that we wouldn't know what to do with all the prosperity, but this one would work.  And we might even be better off, individually, afterwards. 

And our money wouldn't turn to confetti.  I wouldn't need to steal from the savers to make this happen.

(I'd end up stealing from the sickcare cartel - and from fossil fuel users)


Doug's picture
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Dave, OMG

I agree with every one of your proposals, but I should point out they are verging very closely to er socialism.  Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

kelvinator's picture
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Great Ideas, Dave!

You have blown my mind.  And I know, as I'm sure you do, that actually getting those things to happen in practical terms is difficult, and seems improbable politically, at least in the near future, just as organizing any larger, successful social response in a timely way would be.  It would probably bring forward from the future the initial very economically depressing effects of shifting away from fossil fuels via the tax before a more sustainable energy supply and low energy consumption infrastructure and culture can develop,  but that's likely to happen and make any attempt at a fairly rapid transition away from fossil fuels politically difficult, including the GND - though a GND print money approach might be able to 'paper over' the transition for a little while, as the central banks are doing now.   

People with lots of money would claim that the gasoline/coal/nat gas tax is stealing a big chunk of their rentier income, killing the economy, and stealing their savings via a plunging stock and bond market since the money printing that is keeping asset prices levitated would also be ending in what you propose.  As I said, I'm also not at all a fan of any notion (Paul Krugman economics) that a GND could be paid for by on-going money printing and/or debt expansion, but any economic and social transition might need to be phased in to avoid a systemic shock and economic chaos until people, markets and enterprises can understand and have time to orient to the very different new program.

And so, all the obstacles are why we prepare ourselves at a family and local community level to be resilient to major 'larger civilization' disruption.  Exactly how things will play out is unknowable, aside from the notion most of us here share that the future is likely to be really difficult based on what humans are doing now and seem likely to do.  Having some positive templates like the one you outlined, and holding some hope for eventual collaboration in the larger world is valuable, at least to me, especially as times get tougher and more divisive, even if the likelihood of success of world-changing proposals doesn't seem high at this moment in time.  Maybe, after we (and business as usual) continue to get more intensively beaten up by reality, those improbable ideas like yours will start to seem more appealing and doable.

thc0655's picture
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Humility, honesty and tough decisions

Any plan that proposes to "save the planet," as does the GND, will be extremely complex and fraught with a multitude of problems that need to be solved and predicaments that have to be coped with.  The GND is the barest of outlines of such "save the planet" plans and is therefore subject to ridicule and legitimate criticism. I agree that we need a plan if we even hope to nudge our trajectory in a positive direction, much less "save the planet."  

I'm certain the first quality we need is humility.  We need to be humble about our ability to even fully comprehend what's going on, and then we need a metric ton of humility as we contemplate what we should do and how effective we hope our actions will be. That's my first problem with the GND: it's arrogant.  I don't see the humility toward the problem nor humility toward those who are not on board with the GND because they have legitimate concerns.  The people pushing the GND aren't going about it collaboratively, they intend to crush and push aside all who dissent.  On top of arrogance, I see amongst the GND's advocates some immaturity and a very weak grasp of the math, physics, history and politics of what they're suggesting.  In this clip George Carlin is more harsh than I would be addressing the same issues, but I'm with him on the issues of arrogance and humility:

Furthermore, just because people believe we need to "save the planet" does NOT mean that its the GND or nothing.  That's a false choice.  I disregard every voice that says or implies that it's the GND or the planet is going to die.

Next, I want to remove everything from the "save the planet" GND that is not directly related to "saving the planet."  You know, all the socialist B.S. and social justice warrior mishmash. If "saving the planet" requires Medicare for all, economic security for those unwilling to work, a $15/hour minimum wage, the near elimination of beef from our diets, and open borders for the US, then it has to be clearly demonstrated and argued why the planet can't be saved without those policies.  This was my first and strongest negative reaction against the GND: it has a lot of political baggage built into the resolution that is not necessary for "saving the planet."  That's dishonest.  Either jettison the unnecessary stuff or demonstrate why it is necessary.  If saving the planet REQUIRES that we become a more socialist country than we already are (i.e. giving government even more control over every day life and economics), or if we have to become communist or a monarchy or a "benevolent" dictatorship, then that should be stated honestly and argued why it MUST be this way to succeed. Anything that will effectively alter our trajectory toward environmental disaster is going to be extremely difficult to get political agreement on and afford economically without handicapping it with more stuff that is politically divisive and essentially not necessary for the mission to succeed.

Instead of an arrogant, power-mad plan to "save the planet" in ten years, I would argue for a more politically possible change to incentives built into daily life that would over 50-100 years bend our trajectory in a much more positive direction.  The GND is, in my estimation, plainly impossible to implement without a dictatorship that suppresses with lethal violence all who resist.  You know, like Stalin's Russia or Mao's China.  And if we all agreed that we either have a violent dictator who kills 30 million Americans to "save the planet" or we have an environmental disaster, I'll take my chances with the environmental disaster.  However, changing incentives to act more responsibly in the environmental sphere could be accomplished and has been accomplished already in many ways, and we agreed to those changes and no one had to be killed to implement them.

No matter how pessimistic I am (and I'm sure we're doomed to crash and burn in some fashion at some undetermined time), I still think we should try to alter our course and take whatever incremental improvements we can achieve. I'm not for giving up globally, nationally, or locally.  My main reason for wanting to try and not give up, is because I believe I will be held accountable in eternity for my words and deeds. I can't excuse my inaction because my actions were essentially doomed to failure.  Humanity is not "sustainable" by design.  Life is a test of our character, and there will be a Final Exam.

"This is not my real life.  This life is a test.  If this were my real life I would've been given better instructions."  wink

ckessel's picture
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Great points for discussion

As difficult (or perhaps impossible) as it may seem for government reforms, I agree with Kelvinator that it deserves an effort. The focus IMHO should be in amending our Constitution along the lines that Charles H. Smith outlined in his 10 point strategy on his blog today. Adding  policy changes as you have outlined in your comment Dave would also be a vital step in reforming our system.

Governance without integrity is a catastrophy IMHO and it is playing out in real time. Instead of a 'green' new deal we need a Governmental New Deal where we can incorporate checks and balances to reflect the challenges of our day. I think amending our Constitution would be vital. I am far from convinced it can occur. I can't go on so I will!

Lastly, we cannot afford to put all of our eggs into the basket of waiting for top down change. We must also implement on a local level within our small communities. The successful actions when they occur and as we discover them can hopefully be replicated and demonstrated as activities worth doing to create a more sustainable future. There are a lot of these and PP is a very important platform for dissemination of these ideas and actions.

I am sorry to  be missing this years summit in Sebastopold to carry on with the lively discussions and share time with like minded folks. My wife and I are busy handling some Health Capital issues which involves some orthoscopic surgery for removal of a spinal cyst ( not anything life threatening ) so expect to see us next year.

Hopefully by then I will be able to share some experiences on our efforts here in the Sierra foothills of California to improve sustainability and build community.


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The problem is...
kelvinator wrote:

Maybe, after we (and business as usual) continue to get more intensively beaten up by reality, those improbable ideas like yours will start to seem more appealing and doable.

The problem is that after we've squandered too much time and too many resources the ability to implement improbable ideas shrinks.  Go far enough and all that's left is basic survival.  No fancy new all-electric infrastructures, just trying to eek by as the unforeseen mold and wild climate swings devastate crops.

Part of my current problem in trying to envision a humane, organized, collective response lies in the complete abdication of every side, hallway and corner of the US political system to the military-industrial complex.  Watching so-called progressives rally around keeping troops in Syria and thrusting ourselves into Venezuela has made tis mark on my thinking.

Somehow I find it hard to imagine people rallying around a better and improved sick-care system when, for instance, the entire apparatus of US interests is happily agitating for a violent overthrow in Venezuela.

Motto:  "Trust us, this time it will work out well for the common folk."

Only it never does.  It only ever works out for corporate and MIC interests while providing exciting resume-building experiences for three letter agency employees.

That this has been true throughout all of recent history is of no matter or concern to the current cheerleaders for this latest action.

So my problem is in somehow believing that the very same people who can wholeheartedly support violence and destruction in pursuit of narrow corporate and political interests can then be rallied for more noble causes at home. 

How would that work, exactly?  Are we not relying on some form of temporal [sic] insanity?  They're sane here but nutty over there?  Rational on appointing scarce resources but also unable to recall the outcomes of the last 10 regime change efforts?  

But, change is going to come one way or another, and it will come the same way it always does; from the outside in.  I applaud the Green Meme folks who still believe in the power of government to solve things, really I do, I'm just not among them.

I'm in the camp that believes that the change has to come from the people and that's why this website is dedicated to nudging individuals towards making individual actions.  I've spent far too much time in corporations and other large assemblages of powerful people to hold out any hope in collective wisdom suddenly breaking out.  Institutional and cultural inertia are powerful forces.  

Individuals can turn on a dime, but groups cannot.

But since the request is for a plan that everyone can follow, here's mine:

There, I think that safely bridges the gap between the collective and the individual.  :)

thatchmo's picture
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I'm liking Dave's New Deal. 

I'm liking Dave's New Deal.  Simple, possibly do-able.   I might add term limits for all politicians- two terms and you're out, go get a real job.  Could it be possible to end the Fed?  This is a great discussion, thanks all for contributing.  Aloha,Steve

p.s.- Dave, please avoid the weight room....  ;^)

kelvinator's picture
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Excellent Clear Statement, thc0655

It lays out exactly where you're coming from.  I agree with many things you say - in particular, the need to be humble in our certainty about our understanding of what's going on and what to do, the need to be open to various possible approaches, the need to take action, even though the likelihood of success seems small, your belief that life is a test of our character.  

Somehow, you've also found the one George Carlin clip (who I think is one of the all time greats) that I ever recall seeing where he makes a point I don't agree with: namely, where he makes fun of people who feel we need to worry about the air, the water and the soil.   Particularly since we're humble and not arrogant, we actually still have to take some care of the planet like we'd care for any home or property we live in, right? IMO, that's not a controversial idea, but often, you'd think it is in the US for some reason.  But anyway, as you say, his joking is a bit harsher than how you might put it, and I agree with his and your basic point that humans could do with much more humility in understanding their relationship to nature.

That also gets to another part of what you say that I disagree with, but which I think you state well regarding your dislike of 'socialistic' aspects of GND and your belief that that 'political baggage' should be jettisoned unless it can be proven that it's essential to 'saving the planet'.  I'm not going to try to prove it's essential at the moment - and I'm not sure what parts of the GND social programs I think can or should be done, but it's likely I believe that more social support (and likely more environmental regulation) are needed to build a viable, sustainable society than you do. 

That comes partly because of what I've seen living for periods of time or visiting more 'socialistic' countries like Germany and Sweden and talking a lot to people there, seeing the environment, & how they live, what a huge destresser it is to have health care coverage as part of their basic social structure (I have a dear friend in Munich just successfully treated for cancer without personal financial worry, at least).  Seeing that they have political campaigns that aren't drowning in money.  Seeing rivers in middle of huge cities like Munich and Stockholm that are crystal clear, fishable and drinkable because the people, the society, actually control their world instead of the wealthy corporate types who are fine explaining why they need to dump their trash into everyone's life if anyone wants to still have a job while they escape to their beaches, yachts, ski chalets or conferences in Davos.  

Also, the GND 10-12 year time frame has to do with the recent IPCC climate change predictions about time remaining before climate/social disruption cycle starts to spiral out of control, which I would guess that you don't take as being likely accurate scientific predictions while I do, since you're suggesting a 50-100 year solution time frame.   All these differences are reasons why neither you nor I are particularly optimistic about evolving to a happy resolution the way things look right now.  Hey, that's another area of agreement!  ;-)

davefairtex's picture
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sickcare & socialism

Doug - I know you think that my actual healthcare plan is socialism.  It really isn't.

I just do the math.  If our society spends 20% of GDP, and doesn't cover everyone, and a national healthcare system in a first world country covers everyone, and they spend 10% - well, our society could convert to a government healthcare system and save money while doing it.  Now that's socialism I can get behind.  All we really need to do is cut & paste what they do, and we're good.

And we cover everyone!  Socialists are happy, and the cheapskate/optimizers like me are happy too.  Win-win.  (well, all except for the sickcare harvesting machine, which is organizing my light plane accident even as we speak)

I've actually seen this in operation.  It really does work.  You can get stuff done for free at the government hospital, if you don't mind waiting, or you can pay for it yourself at the private hospital - at a reasonable cost.  Having "free" as an alternative totally focuses the private hospitals on providing great service at a reasonable price.  And man, the service really is good.  As a walk-in, I got to see a doctor within 15 minutes, got my X-ray in another 10, got back to the doc and did the consult, and walked out in under an hour.  That's because they have to compete with "free", so they really do make things work well.

As for what Chris says - sure, I don't have any sense that the current regime will implement this.  But I still prefer to have a vision for where I want to go, and what I'd like to see.  Sometimes I drop into negativity (as Kelvinator pointed out) but just remind me like he did and I can come out of it.  And supposedly, whatever you put your energy on, that's what you end up creating.  So if I put my energy on what I want, rather than what I don't want, its just better energetic strategy.

And for all you climate people out there - I hate to say it, but my GND is all about dealing with finite supply of fossil fuels much more than saving the planet from climate change.  Plus it also helps address pollution, which is something I particularly dislike.  But if I frame it as a climate change thing, we won't have to get into a debate about whether or not we're really running out, etc.  And I have half the population already bought in.  So...climate change it is.  (but under the covers, for me, it is really peak oil.)

I also agree with Tom, the10-year thing seems silly.  Just put the incentives in place and let the market respond.  Providing low-cost-money is a great way to use debt to make some really sound long-term capital investments.  Solar pays for itself in 7-10 years, but few people are in a place to borrow the money to do it.  Treasury can help here.

My mom owned a duplex which she rented out.  We should think of a way to incent Mom to put panels on those rentals and have it be nearly-free for her to do so.  I puzzled over how to make that happen, but nothing came to mind, and so her renters paid full freight for electricity, and that roof went un-solared, and it all seemed like a wasted opportunity.  With a huge chunk of the country renting, this is a total missed opportunity.  There's a pony in there somewhere.

Things are more likely to happen if we have a clear vision of where we want to go.  If all you have in your head is what you don't want, it doesn't lead anywhere.  And energetically, it guarantees that you'll get a whole lot more of ... what you don't want.  Supposedly anyway.

The gas tax can be increased at a fixed, well-known rate over time.  If everyone knows that the gas tax will rise 10 cents every year, they might make different long term decisions about what cars they might want to buy, as well as where they might want to live.  "In 10 years, gas is gonna be $1 more, guaranteed.  You sure you want to buy that F-150?"  Its more psychological than fiscal, but I suspect it will have an effect.  And the money can only be used to build out and support public transit, so people won't feel like they are being harvested.

Last point.  All these ideas can be done regionally.  They don't have to be national programs, but of course it works better if they are

thc0655's picture
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Government regulations designed to save energy...

...may not always accomplish what they were intended to accomplish in terms of saving energy.  This is something we have to know about and overcome if we're going to achieve what the GND aims to achieve by government action. It's not enough to simply demand more government regulations.

The size of the economy-wide rebound effect is crucial for estimating the contribution that energy efficiency improvements can make to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. We provide the first empirical general equilibrium estimate of the economy-wide rebound effect. We use a structural vector autoregressive (SVAR) model that is estimated using search methods developed in machine learning. We apply the SVAR to U.S. monthly and quarterly data, finding that after four years rebound is around 100%. This implies that policies to encourage cost-reducing energy efficiency innovation are not likely to significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Obama administration’s stimulus program spent more than twice as much money paying for energy efficiency audits for homeowners than the audits generated in savings, according to new research.

Researchers found the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program paid experts to audit homes to find ways to make them more efficient, but the program almost never achieved the energy savings government planners projected.

The program, created as part of the 2009 stimulus bill, did not generate the expected savings or significantly reduce energy use. The measures were projected to save 2.5 times more financial value than they actually did.

“This study confirms past studies finding that the costs of some residential energy efficiency programs exceed their benefits,” Dr. Michael Greenstone, director of energy at the University of Chicago who co-authored the research, said in a research summary.

The subsidies paid a consultant to conduct “energy audits” where an inspector told homeowners how to decrease energy usage to bring down their bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Very few homeowners actually took the audit’s recommendation, even when government programs directly paid them to be audited and subsidized the costs of improvements.

The program also did not have the anticipated positive environmental impacts, generating only $0.20 in environmental benefits per subsidy dollar spent. The study concluded that when all benefits had been calculated, the auditing program had a negative rate of return of roughly 4 percent.

““[T]he Environmental Protection Agency gets about half of its future carbon reductions from things like energy efficiency and reductions in consumer energy consumption,” Levinson told the Freakonomics blog. “But it’s silent about how we would go about measuring those savings. And the savings are really hard, really difficult to measure.”

“We can’t take the engineers’ estimates as gospel because there’s mounting evidence that engineering forecasts of how much will be saved as a consequence of energy-efficiency mandates are way overstated,” he added.

Most of the discussion around U.S. environmental policy has revolved around issues like power plant emissions and oil drilling, but the federal government has put out lots of rules aimed at making appliances and buildings more energy efficient.

The Energy Department recently tightened energy standards for commercial ice machines and gas-fired hearths — aka fake fireplaces — to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and tackle global warming. In 2014 alone the DOE issued 10 energy efficiency rules for equipment, appliances and buildings.

“As part of President Obama’s climate action plan, the Energy Department set an ambitious goal of finalizing 10 energy efficiency standards this year, and with the new efficiency standards for general service fluorescent lamps and automatic commercial ice makers, we have reached that goal,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

DOE says that tightened standards for ice makers will save Americans $600 million in the next 30 years and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4 million metric tons. Add in tightened fluorescent lamp standards,and energy efficiency rules are projected to save Americans $78 billion through 2080 and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 435 million metric tons.

“The Energy Department is committed to building on this progress, and will continue to develop standards that move the U.S. closer to a low-carbon future,” Moniz said.

Levinson said he supports energy efficiency laws and building codes, but questions the savings they will actually generate. He says that taxing the source of the pollution is a much more effective method of reducing it.

“The problem with energy efficiency for cars or for homes or for air conditioners is that energy efficiency makes doing the activities that cause the problems in the first place cheaper,” he told Freakonomics. “So if we put a tax on gasoline, or a tax on electricity that made emitting carbon more costly, people might respond in a couple of ways. They might drive less, they might invest in more energy-efficient vehicles, engineers might innovate to develop more energy-efficient technologies.”

“And that would be energy efficiency responding to the- what is the true price of driving and what is the true price of using air conditioning,” he said. “But if you try to short-circuit that mechanism, and mandate the energy efficiency directly, without the rise in price, then all you’ve done is make it less expensive for people to drive and make it less expensive for people to use their air conditioners and it makes sense that people do more of both.”


Michael_Rudmin's picture
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i remember as a kid,

we had a station wagon. But when they passed emissions and mpg laws for cars, such that cars were not practical to build anymore, families had to upshift to trucks built for human transport: the SUV.

So we made carbon consumption and pollution INCREASE, with laws designed to decrease pollution and gasoline consumption.

They didn't stop to think what the problems were that people who used station wagons were solving.

davefairtex's picture
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Posts: 5929
government regulations


I agree, regulations probably aren't the way to go.

I think raising taxes on FF products in a scheduled sort of way allows companies and people to plan for a certain future of "more expensive FFs".  Given that future, its up to them to decide to either continue using them, or look for alternatives.  And the taxes won't be onerous to start, so both people and companies have some time to plan their transition.

I also think this aligns pretty closely with reality too.  FFs WILL become more expensive, as they become less abundant, and this is just a way of communicating it to industry and the public without having to have the "peak fuels" debate.  The slowly rising taxes both discourages long-term investment in capital products that use FFs, and it also funds deployment of Hirsch-report-style mitigation efforts ahead of the actual peak situation.

Right now everyone is going along with BAU mentality.  We have a glut of oil from shale, etc.  A graduated schedule of taxes puts them on notice that BAU is going to get increasingly more expensive, regardless of what shale does.

And it garners political support from the climate change people.  Two birds, one stone.

I mean, I really don't see a downside.

newsbuoy's picture
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Posts: 381
And, The Beat Goes On...

Commies under every bed!

Save your women!

davefairtex's picture
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Posts: 5929
the beat

Commies under every bed!

Save your women!


Whew.  Talking points overload.

DennisC's picture
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Posts: 375
Do It for the Children

Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) suggested on Sunday night that people should consider not having children due to climate change because there is a "scientific consensus" that life will be hard for kids.

"Our planet is going to hit disaster if we don't turn this ship around and so it's basically like, there's a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult," Ocasio-Cortez said while chopping up food in her kitchen during an Instagram live video. "And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question, you know, 'Is it okay to still have children?'"


Snydeman's picture
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Turning the ship...

Turning the ship around after it has already struck the iceberg seems like a moot point at best. 


Still, I'm happy to hear alternate voices in the discussions going on in my country, whether it be from the likes of Trump or AOC. The center is giving way, which I'd be sad about if it hadn't been the "center" screwing us all over for the last three or four decades.


/dons his yellow vest

thc0655's picture
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California is our "greenest" state

So, how are we going to avoid their "mistakes?"  Well, maybe they aren't mistakes, just features of the kinds of things the rest of the country can expect when we all go green (GND).  You don't necessarily have to agree with what this guy has to say about Venice, CA and CA in general, but you at least have to have a response to them.  If the GND is going to have the kinds of results observed in Venice and elsewhere, I think everybody needs to know that up front.  It doesn't look like the "utopia" we've been promised.  And I don't see how CA's results could be proudly trumpeted as the way to defeat "climate change."  Parts of its biggest, richest cities are cesspools.

kelvinator's picture
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California's Great - But Has Stupidity & Corruption Like Most

I think you're much more on the right track, thc0655, when you ask "How are we going to avoid their mistakes?" than when you assume, like the video, that poor handling of homeless situations are likely to be a feature of a 'Green New Deal" program just because California is 'green'.   California is a monster state, the largest at 40 million – a third larger in population than runner-up Texas, twice as many people as Florida or New York.  It’s the 5th largest economy on the planet behind the US, China, Japan and Germany.  Like all of those hyperactive & intensely populated places, it has big problems as well as successes, and needs to always be open to ways to improve what it’s doing, to eliminate waste and inefficiency along with corruption both within public programs and due to private influence on public policy.

IMO, there’s clearly some truth to the video’s criticism regarding the poor handling of the homeless in California at a state and local level – difficulty intelligently and effectively using public funds to help deal with the problem, expediting housing/ infrastructure, etc., and likely truth that some difficulty is created by some aspects of housing policies.   I think the narrative, though, that all these problems are caused by some of California’s ‘green’ or immigration policies and the implication that, therefore, you can’t have successful environmental or non-draconian immigration policies without in-your-face degradation due to homelessness just isn’t accurate.   (BTW, like 3/4 of Americans & the vast majority of Californians, I'm not in favor of an 'open borders' policy.)  Also, unlike the video, I haven't heard of any city - progressive or conservative - in the country that thinks the solution is to set up 'tent cities' - forerunners to slums.   

California, like everywhere, has some corruption in Sacramento and local gov’ts, and increasing wealth inequality.  I blame crony capitalism (along with ‘crony socialism’), political pandering and the Fed for ramping wealth inequality more than the story the video tells.    Regarding immigration, the percentage of latino homeless in Los Angeles is well under the 48%  latino population in Los Angeles, so belies the notion that illegal Mexicans and Central Americans are streaming to South California to live on the street, though I’m sure a few end up there.

‘Red state’ big city Houston apparently had a significant homeless problem, and the ways they dealt with it sound really good to me.  As far as I’m aware, what they did had nothing to do with adding or subtracting ‘green’ policies or changing immigration policies.  As you might imagine, as related by the Houston mayor below that implemented them, they were all about finding what works well and doing more of it, and giving a lot less public money to ‘favored’ public or non-profit programs that had become popular or had friends in public office, but were just much less efficient and effective in helping the specific types of people who ended up homeless on their streets.

“While I was mayor, Houston led the nation in reducing homelessness between 2011 and 2015, the direct result of adopting a comprehensive regional plan that embraced best practices, while requiring an unprecedented level of collaboration between stakeholders…

“There isn’t a major city in American that doesn’t struggle with homelessness. The solution to homelessness is not, fundamentally, a resource issue; we spend billions nationwide to address the symptoms and results of homelessness. Nor is the solution undoing the safety net — shelters and specialized housing and advocacy organizations — already in place for the homeless. It’s also not new “civility ordinances” or get-tough policing policies.

Any solution is context specific, requires good data and focuses on housing first — the right kind of housing, with intensive wraparound case management. It also requires the will to push businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to meet the need as it exists, not stay in their comfort zone, and reprioritize money that is already being spent. Finally, it requires the creation of a dynamic system that can grow into the future, because homelessness is not preventable, though it is manageable.”

Related: Housing, leaders key to Utah success in reducing homelessness


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