Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can
Sunrise Movement, the youth organization that has staged many events to promote the Green New Deal (GND), commissioned a book on GND. Edited by two Sunrise leaders, Varshini Prakash and Guido Girgenti, the book is a collection of essays by activists and academics. Activists such as Prakash recount some significant events, such as the sit-in at the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Congress. Others have chapters that sound like the speeches they gave at rallies and that makes the book a good source on the history of the movement.
Some chapters are authored by well-known commentators such as David Wallace-Wells, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and Joseph Stiglitz. They provide more analysis of the Green New Deal and its place in the pantheon of climate actions in which they themselves have participated. These chapters form the crux of the book as a general reader on climate activism.
All in all, Winning the Green New Deal is a must read for those who would understand the GND itself and the context in which it was formed and promoted.
A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal
by Kate Aronoff (Author), Alyssa Battistoni (Author), Daniel Aldana Cohen (Author), Thea Riofrancos (Author), Naomi Klein (Foreword). Jacobin Paperback. 2019.
This green new deal version is written explicitly as a Democratic Socialist analysis. As such, it recommends overturning capitalism and relying on socialist policies to decarbonize the economy and provide guaranteed jobs, housing and health care for all. The critique of the capitalist economy is severe, extending even to abolition of private vehicles – even if they are electric (sorry, Tesla). The section on housing is particularly vivid, with utopian portraits of community housing surrounding green spaces with community recreation and cultural opportunities. There is an extensive critique of the economics of batteries, focusing on the life cycle of lithium as one of the key elements in the technology of the future.
The Green New Deal: Why the Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028, and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life on Earth. 2020. by Jeremy Rifkin. St. Martin’s Press
Rifkin, a writer for the New York Times and economic advisor to the European Union and China, has used economic and financial analysis tools to dissect fossil fuel civilization. He makes a fascinating case for the collapse of what he calls the fossil fuel bubble, the current economy, by 2028. He develops the concept of “stranded assets,” the oil reserves and infrastructure that will have to be abandoned when the bubble bursts. He then switches to outlining a new economy based on renewable energies financed by pension funds. He claims that many funds are already transitioning away from fossil fuel companies and into renewables. The irony is that, while some conservatives decry the large expenditures needed to fund the Green New Deal, the pension funds can fund GND independent of the government. U.S. pension funds, for example, amount to $25 trillion. He turns the old Marxist slogan, “workers of the world unite,” on its head and says they have already begun to own the means of green production through pension funds. The key is organizing workers to pressure fund managers toward a GND. This is the “economic plan to save life on earth.”
The Green New Deal and Climate Change: What You Need to Know. Balzer, Lynne. 2021. Faraday Science Institute. Kindle Edition.
Balzer trots out some tired old climate denial bromides: world average temperatures have not risen since 1998, extreme weather is no more frequent or intense than in the past, and more carbon dioxide may be good for the globe (all untrue). She then uses the “wealth redistribution” argument to criticize both the IPCC and the Green New Deal: “…the fulfillment of the IPCC goals by means of the Green New Deal or a similar plan would actually have the opposite effect. The IPCC’s stated aim is to redistribute wealth from the rich developed nations to the poor third-world nations.” (IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Several other critiques of the Green New Deal are scattered throughout the book: The Green New Deal is a “nonsolution to a nonproblem,” i.e. promoting unreliable renewable energies when other energies (e.g., nuclear, hydro, oil and coal) are available. “Because the Green New Deal fails to address strategies, trade-offs or costs involved in implementing it, it is completely impractical.” The Green New Deal will not be accepted by the American people because it means giving up freedom. All of these criticisms make assumptions about the Green New Deal are based on a misunderstanding of its policies.
Green New Deal Proposal, Resolutions
Policy Report by Data for Progress: https://www.dataforprogress.org/green-new-deal/
Sierra Club Review of the Green New Deal: https://www.sierraclub.org/trade/what-green-new-deal
Unitarian-Universalist Association Resolution on Green New Deal: https://www.uua.org/action/statements/build-movement-green-new-deal
UCC (Congregationalists) resolution on the Green New Deal:
A resolution endorsing the Green New Deal, entitled “Let Justice Roll Down — Declaring Support for the Green New Deal and Affirming the Intersectionality of Climate Justice with all Justice Issues”
Seattle’s Green New Deal Resolution
House Select Committee Report on Climate: https://climatecrisis.house.gov/sites/climatecrisis.house.gov/files/Climate%20Crisis%20Action%20Plan.pdf
Science journalists’ critique: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/30062020/house-democrats-climate-plan-green-new-deal-not-ban-fracking
House Climate Bills
“Fracking Ban Act” HR 5857 – Representative Ocasio Cortez. Phases out fracking by 2025 and prevents federal agencies from issuing fracking permits.
“Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act of 2019.” H.R. 2096/S. 1142, Representative Doyle and Senator Heinrich. Extends to batteries and electricity storage systems the same Investment Tax Credit (ITC) currently offered to Photovoltaic (PV) solar.
“Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act;” H.R. 4887/S. 1988, (Representative Pascrell and Senator Carper) and “The Offshore WIND Incentives for New Development Act.” H.R. 3473/S. 1957 (Representative Langevin and Senator Markey). These bills extend the 30 percent investment tax credit for offshore wind facilities.
“Renewable Energy Extension Act.” H.R. 3961/S. 2289, (Representative Thompson and Senator Cortez Masto). Extends the investment tax credit for solar and other clean energy technologies, such as fuel cells, small wind, and geothermal heat pumps, that are set to phase out.
“Driving America Forward Act.” H.R. 2256/S. 1094, (Representative Kildee and Senator Stabenow). Increases the number of electric vehicles that are eligible for the existing tax credit, thereby substantially increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road.
“Home Energy Savings Act” H.R. 4506/S. 2588, (Representative Gomez and Senator Hassan) Promoters say this bill will save residential consumers and businesses money, reduce harmful air pollution, and is the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Promoters also say that the 25C incentive for homeowner efficiency improvements, the Section 45L incentive for energy efficient new homes, and the Section 179D deduction for energy efficient commercial and multifamily buildings are outdated and should be modified to reflect new technologies and market conditions.
Climate Stewardship Act (Farm Conservation, Wetlands Restoration, Reforestation) — Senator Corey Booker
Clean Future Act — Deep decarbonization strategies for each sector of the US economy.
Clean Cars legislation — Senator Chuck Schumer.
Buy Clean Transparency Act – Senator Amy Klobuchar — incentivizing green manufacturing processes.
Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act – HR 5845 Representative Lowenthal. This bill sets forth requirements related to waste and recycling collection systems for a variety of products and materials, including plastics.