The Green New Deal is not dead, it's just adapting

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House Democrats have very aggressive climate proposals:

The 538-page report sets a range of targets including ensuring that every new car sold by 2035 emits no greenhouse gases, eliminating overall emissions from the power sector by 2040, and all but eliminating the country’s total emissions by 2050.

The package also approaches climate change as a matter of racial injustice. The report cites the police killing of George Floyd in its opening paragraph and goes on to argue that communities of color are also more at risk from the effects of climate change. The report says the government should prioritize minority communities for new spending on energy and infrastructure.

I have been somewhat skeptical of the GND since it was first introduced. Not because of the cost so much, but because of the scope and interlinked priorities. You try to do too many things at once, don't be surprised if none of those things happen. But if you're going to make investments in infrastructure that generate economic opportunities, you should place/target them where they're needed the most. And that is (without a doubt) in minority communities:

“We have to focus on environmental-justice communities,” said Representative Kathy Castor, Democrat of Florida and chairwoman of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which compiled the report. “There is an awakening across the country to systemic racism, and this is a report that at its center, at its core, focuses on those communities.”

Few of the proposals are likely to go anywhere this year because they would require support from the Republican-led Senate as well as President Trump, who has called climate change a hoax. But as a political statement the package is notable because it presents what Democrats call a comprehensive legislative agenda for climate change at a time when public support is on the rise.

Of course the biggest battles are going to be fossil fuel-related. To call that industry a monster is like calling a Bengal tiger a kitty cat. The fact they can spend billions on various elections is proof enough there is still way too much fossil fuel in our energy mix. And we need to be aware of snake oil cures that originate from that very industry:

A growing coalition of Republicans led by the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, have moved in recent months to embrace solutions to climate change. Those measures focus on developing technologies that can capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants or other industrial facilities and store them so they don’t enter the atmosphere, rather than limiting fossil fuels.

For all practical purposes, Carbon Capture is a unicorn. Where do you think most of our coal ash comes from? It comes from the scrubbers that were installed to keep air pollution down. If the technology is developed and improved to remove and safely sequester carbon emissions from power plants, that still wouldn't solve the fracking, pipelines, or mountaintop removal issues that burning fossil fuels creates.

We can expect more unicorns from the fossil fuel industry, and more Republicans to wave those unicorns around as a "compromise" to more radical steps that are desperately needed. But science dictates that we ignore those distractions and move forward with real change, as hard as it may be.

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Comments

I'm surprised so few people

have read this diary. I can't spend five minutes on Facebook or Twitter without seeing some harsh criticisms of elected Democrats because they're corporate sellouts (or whatever the new thing is), and nothing ever changes, blah blah blah.

Here's the whole 547 page report, when you've got the time.