The glory of American style politics and the power of its global businesses and industries is unchallenged. They have yet to respond to the demand for a strong public investment in mitigating the risks associated with climate change.
Failure to act is not the question; thousands of ideas are flowing in the digital winds; hundreds of ideas are being demonstrated. The current stream of investment is significant but confusing, as if finding a technical “one-off” or a strategic “winner” may be at the heart of the problem. There is no magic bullet.
Without Salmon, the forest will not flourish.
Without the coalescence of tactics specific to every climate region of the earth, the failure will be confirmed by the earth, its rising seas, violent storms, floods, and fires. The choice to select a positive climate future has not been made. The choice offered is to wait and have it forced upon an unknown, potentially terrifying percentage of the population. Only one choice is rational and humane.
The Green New Deal (GND)
Only a political risk is implied by this unknown. Taking steps toward ideas like the Green New Deal is a risk because it may or may not prevent the displacement of the American worker by the technology needed for success. No action could be politically deadlier, but post mortem condition in Congress is not the problem. If political representatives are unwilling to bring America’s climate regions closer to a sustainable future, then the task is simple: to elect leaders who have courage.
This is no ordinary battle. Every representative in the House will be pushed or pulled in this direction through 2024. A rough first draft of the legislative role is a GoogleDoc (here). It outlines the creation of a select committee recently named Crisis Climate Committee.
The GND goal is to decarbonize the economy with Keynesian style short-term bursts of large scale public investments, coupled with federal employment guarantees. The GND will be implemented as an evidence-based, outcome-driven, and performance measurement process. The FDR Library well documents the New Deal’s development as an idea for its time. The depth of its creativity in the public interest was in response to a complex set of human needs, environmental challenges, and opportunities. The library created an Interactive Periodic Table of the New Deal for the study of its history. Readers are invited to bring reviews and comments to this site regarding its relevance.
The first step toward a GND as a public initiative requires a big preemptive warlike change in policy. That change is planned to occur for full implementation by 2020. Achieving the goals implied by the GND implementation will result in a national, energy-efficient carbon-reducing energy grid built on a massive expansion of renewable power sources with an evidence base built on the current use of and implementation of all known systems designed for the use of renewables. These sources will define a rate of x% percent per year to establish outcomes to predict when renewable sources serve 100% of the national power demand.
The performance measures of individual renewables will determine future combinations of private and public investments. Specific energy conservation steps will contribute to goal accomplishment implemented through an energy use inventory of all residential and industrial buildings. Steps to ready all buildings for state-of-the-art renewable energy systems will be the measure for reduction levels by climate sectors of the United States as follows:
- Climate Sector reports will establish baseline reductions in GHG emissions through manufacturing, agricultural, and other industries processes.
- Climate Sector reports will define, locate, and score specific infrastructure investments to repair and improve the nation’s transportation grid and related infrastructure that yield the highest reduction in GHG emissions.
- Climate Sector reports will examine the water. Too much or the lack of it is at the center of climate change impacts. High priority investments in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country will include infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water and protection from the damage it can cause.
The goal of decarbonizing the economy will include methods for a GHG drawdown process. Investments in known and proposed measures will define the potential for GHG mitigation. The evidence and performance measures for this determination are abundant.
If an ordinary, albeit intense blog such as the Urbanist (here) can demystify the process, a practical public process can be implemented.
Support for investments in green technology, through industrial, professional, and scientific expertise, and in the creation of products and services of a 100% renewable energy economy in the United States reimagines a new theory of “economic base” (Charles Tiebolt). It is worth trillions in global trade volume, if (and this is a big f’n “if,”) a viable and useful understanding of the growth of metropolitan governments occurs and develops in regions throughout the United States (read here from a half-century ago).
The media outlets Vox, The Atlantic, The Intercept, Axios, ProPublica covered the early efforts to create a GND. The field is wide, from its millennial “this changes everything” upstart sunrise movement organizers, to blue wave reps like AOC, and the support of the old, such as Al Gore. Ultimately, the GND is subject to the instincts of Nancy Pelosi where the idea for a GND fell into the lesser priority world of Congress like the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and one hot button later became the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis headed by Kathy Castor (FL 14th) an unchallenged seven-term representative from Tampa Bay.
Crisis (danger + opportunity)
I don’t know when the idea of global conquest seemed possible or even thought of as accomplished in history. I do know it as the conscious decision of many actors over four thousand years or so.
The distinct spheres of human decision-making occur through deep social and cultural connections built on a cognitive view of evidence widely shared but rarely proven. These views can be right or wrong but consistently perceived correctly by the party that holds the view. Think of that sphere as “Pinky.” In another sphere, which I would like you to think of as the “Brain,” are the decisions made in professional silos. As an example, economists will influence decision-making based on combinations of economic factors such as costs or benefits, profits, and losses measured by currency and a period.
Perhaps the most useful decision making sphere is the one that drives for a big transformation. The impetus is drawn from exposure to incorrect, “Pinky-like” beliefs established by the first sphere’s cultural recurrences. The stimulus for specific action draws from the second sphere’s failures, where “The Brain’s” leadership reveals how traditional practices’ collapse. Whether the market for these experiences is in currency, ideas, or both, the demand for something new and transformative takes hold. The geologist’s understanding of time and the anthropologist examination of humanity have suggested we name this transformation the Anthropocene.
“The era of geological time during which human activity is considered to be the dominant influence on the environment, climate, and ecology of the earth.” Oxford English Dictionary.
Andrew C. Revkin’s lifetime of reporting produced a perfectly tuned review of his global experience as the observer of the growing pains of humanity as follows:
Greta Thunberg’s argument “listen to the scientists” speaks to the quality of her education at her young age. It is not “which scientist” it is recognizing how the body of evidence is established. It takes time, criticism, and continuous improvements in their methods and conclusions that eventually become indisputable.
“After tens of thousands of years of scrabbling by, spreading around the planet, and developing tools of increasing sophistication, humans are in surge mode and have only just started to become aware that something profound is going on.Andrew C. Revkin — An Anthropocene Journey.
“It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.” “The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world.”
David Attenborough’s conclusion is clear in these two quotes. We now exercise power to “create a planet” and remain unknowingly dependent on those changes.