The Green No Deal

As a party who understands the importance of reducing carbon emissions to limit the extent of climate change, I was interested in the Green New Deal when it was announced. I wanted to know what it actually did, so I read it. Very few people have drawn the same conclusions identifying the GND as a list of goals without substance or potential. A dim population continues to consume countless stories concerning the GND. Pundits, journalists, and other public figures continue to endorse or imply what it will accomplish both good and bad. Based on what the text actual states, there shouldn’t be any conversation concerning what a list of goals will accomplish because there is no plan or idea for achieving those goals.

The first 4 pages describe the human component of climate change and the implications of not reducing emissions to maintain a temperature increase below 2 degrees above the preindustrial average. The preamble highlights issue of wealth inequality, gender discrimination, and systemic racism as well as climate change.

The 5th through the 14th page is a list of goals and undefined strategy for accomplishing those goals. No one has seemed to notice this. There are reasons why this fact goes unidentified, but first allow me to qualify the assertion.

The goal identification page begins by stating it is the duty of the federal government to create a GND. If you claim it is incumbent on the federal government to create a GND, you should follow that assertion by demonstrating how the constitution requires the federal government to create a GND, in that you have a legally binding order to create a GND. The key word of the GND is “create”, because the resolution itself acknowledges that there is no GND.

It begins:
“it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal—
(A) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;
(B) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;
(C) to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;
(D) to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—
(i) clean air and water;
(ii) climate and community resiliency;
(iii) healthy food;
(iv) access to nature; and
(v) a sustainable environment;”

No where in the text is there a plan to accomplish any of this. There are goals associated with other goals, but again no plan on how to achieve these goals. For example:

“(E) By upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;”

How are you going to upgrade these buildings to achieve maximum efficiency? What technology, at what cost, is going to save how much, have what impact, and how will it be implemented? Will the owner be incentivized to make the upgrades? Will the government mandate the owners make the upgrades through regulation? Will the government pay for the upgrades outright? Is it an efficient use of public funds in an effort to reduce emissions or is there other areas where the money could be spent better to achieve the intended purpose? Where does it rank in priority to other spending to reduce emissions and transition to renewable energy?

Another example which relates to “Building resiliency against climate related disasters…”
(B) repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including—
(i) by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible;
(ii) by guaranteeing universal access to clean water;
(iii) by reducing the risks posed by climate impacts; and
(iv) by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change;

It is essentially a repeat of the previous example of upgrading infrastructure to achieve efficiency, but for the purpose of building resiliency against climate related disasters. What infrastructure requires repair? What upgrades will build that resiliency? Where? At what cost? Through what strategy of implementation? You have goals the resolution states will be accomplished “by” achieving other goals, and there isn’t a single sentence of substance in the 14 page document.

“By eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible.” What is the limit of technological feasibility? What technology is going to be implemented? At what cost? Will reduce emissions by how much? And under what strategy for implementation in consideration of the market economy and the private property rights of owners of existing infrastructure?

“By guaranteeing universal access to clean water;”. This item suggests Ocasio-Cortez is not familiar with the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, that protects the quality of all water designated or potentially designated for drinking use. We already have a legislative guarantee of universal access to clean water.

“By reducing the risk posed by climate impacts”. If your neighbor told you he was going to build resiliency against climate related disasters by reducing the risk posed by climate impacts you would have no idea what he was going to do. Yet when this vague language is assembled in a congressional resolution written by a popular spokesperson, the entire country is for or against something that is much closer to nothing, than it is to something.

“By ensuring any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change”. How would this item be implemented? I’m not a proponent of such a measure which will become evident in considering it, but addressing climate change means reducing emissions or increasing preparedness for problems associated with climate change. If prepared and passed as law, this would prevent Congress from considering infrastructure that may be necessary, popular, and serving a popular interest that doesn’t address climate change because it isn’t geared towards reducing emissions or enhancing resistance to climate change impacts.

The rebuttal would be this is my definition of what it means to address climate change and not necessarily the definition used to define the item in the creation of the GND. This of course speaks to my main point, that the GND is not a plan because there is no substance. Again, for the umpteen time, a list of goals that you claim will be accomplished by a list of goals is not a plan. In response to my definition of what addressing climate change means, it is impossible to define addressing climate change as anything other than the reduction of emissions, so despite the fact that the item is undefined by the author, the definition and result I am using is the only possible interpretation of the item.

The inability of people in this country to understand simple things compels me to provide additional examples to illustrate the main point: the GND is no a GND.

(G) working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including—
(i) by supporting family farming;
(ii) by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and
(iii) by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food;

The government is going to work with farmers and ranchers to remove green house gas emissions by supporting family farming. We have no definition of what family farming means. Presumably there are family farms engaged in farming practices that are not sustainable, that promote green house gas emissions and depreciate soil health. Support of family farms does not guarantee the accomplishment of the goals Cortez associates with support of family farming. More relevant criticism as is consistent with the GND, is there are no details of what support will consist of, how much, and for what?

“By investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health;”. There are no examples of sustainable farming included in the GND so we don’t know specifically what sustainable farming method she is referring to, which is relevant when we are considering feasibility of scale. How much are we going to invest? How will this money be applied? Are we going to subsidize sustainable practices, where a farmer who meets a certain criteria will receive an incentive for adopting such methods? Is the government going to create publically owned farms using sustainable methods? What about large scale farming of corn, subsidies for ethanol and the current mandates for ethanol production and use? How will investment in sustainable practices be integrated into the agricultural production and regulatory circumstances that exist?

“By building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food”. Do I need ask all the obvious questions to demonstrate that this item is devoid substance, or will a simple how suffice?

(H) overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in—
(i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;
“zero emissions vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing”. What is zero emissions vehicle infrastructure? High speed rail? If so it seems a little redundant to state it twice but it definitely wouldn’t be a deviation from the tendencies within the resolution. How will the government invest in zero-emission vehicle manufacturing? Will the government invest directly in the manufacture of zero emission vehicles and compete in the market? Will the government subsidize the manufacture of zero emissions vehicles to incentivize manufacture by increasing affordability? Will the government regulate emissions producing vehicles out of existence? If so, what about the millions of American’s who cannot afford an emissions free vehicle? This is the entire resolution, the identification of goals.

The defense would be that identifying the goals is the first step. The resolution identifies these goals, and tasks the federal government with creating a plan to achieve these goals. This is the purpose of stating “It is the duty of the federal government to create a Green New Deal”. This isn’t the perception of the public, despite the fact that Cortez admitted within days after the unveiling, “this is not a bill, this is not a plan, this is the scope of the plan”. Yet as the name Green New Deal and what has been attached to it grew in popularity, she has been less inclined to correct the misconception.

Among the population, activists who are a very poor barometer of understanding issues, are calling for the implementation of the GND as if all it requires is approval from the chambers of congress and the president, and we will begin a green transformation of the economy and exponential prosperity.

If AOC was half as concerned as she pretends to be, she wouldn’t have scribbled down a platform of goals and called it a resolution. She is a legislator correct? She would participate in her obligations and areas of interest in the house of representatives, and then she would enter a quiet space and begin drafting plans and legislation for each item she feigns such deep concern for. She would ask the questions I have asked in example, and then formulate multiple plans for each item. She would compare each plan she created to public opinion, partisan and industrial interest, ease of implementation, benefit towards the goal, and cost. She would order each possible plan in consideration of those factors and potentially others. In consideration of how legislation is passed where items of bills are rejected, she would have the less desirable plans ready to insert, knowing the contention from the rejected plan of the item.

Instead of engaging in the work she fakes so much passion for, she is enjoying her celebrity. She cares about climate change and social justice as much as it will float her political career and celebrity. Otherwise she’d be working. If she was working on actual GND legislation, any person who was interested in accomplishing the legislation would release the details of their work periodically to gain perspective from the feedback on what they have produced.

A group called The New Consensus, anonymously funded, has taken on the responsibility of creating the details of the GND through the resolution’s framework. They held a meeting to begin the process, the details of which sounded like an activist meeting with speakers on a range of related topics that reportedly offered nothing in terms of direction for implementation. In case anyone is in doubt of their incompetence, they made it evident by asking the question “what questions should we be asking”? As someone who has created multiple turn key outlines, some detailed down to the number of sheets of paper required for a six month program, you recognize the ineptitude of such a group in that kind of statement.

The group is likely involved in climate change promotion for similar reasons as Cortez, it provides the group with a platform to fundraise and maintain an income to perform work they are neither qualified to perform, or actually believe will amount to anything. They haven’t released a single detail regarding projects or implementation for even a single item in the GND. Anyone with a firm understanding of the problems, the goals, and the political and economic reality with which they are operating, already knows the questions. You don’t hold a meeting, which turns out to be more of a social gathering for people with concerns without actual ideas, than it is an exercise in producing directing material. You take an item. Read academic papers related to the subject, read industry reports related to the subject, consider how what you want to accomplish in an item can be achieved, and you go through the process from funding to creation in a real world context. The New Consensus like Cortez and countless other groups are capitalizing on the exploitation of the issue which will determine the fate of the human species.

Most republicans would rather pretend the GND is something rather than nothing. Mainly because it is more effective to interpret the vague language to fit a socialist narrative to mobilize voters against the fear of socialism, than it is to dismiss it for the list of goals lacking any substance that it is. Real think tanks can take an item and choose an avenue of interpretation. For example, I asked he following in regard to the item : “By upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;” How are you going to upgrade these buildings to achieve maximum efficiency? What technology, at what cost, is going to save how much, have what impact, and how will it be implemented? Will the owner be incentivized to make the upgrades? Will the government mandate the owners make the upgrades through regulation? Will the government pay for the upgrades outright?

Instead of asking the questions a republican think tank answers them. To achieve maximum building efficiency requires using X technology. It costs X, and the government is going to pay the full cost, which will be X. Or technology X to achieve maximum building efficiency costs X, and the government will mandate that owners upgrade their buildings which will cost Americans X. You can approach each item to reflect maximum cost, which is why a 93 trillion dollar price assertion is valid, because the resolution doesn’t even suggest a strategy for implementation. You can also approach each item to reflect maximum job loss, maximum detriment to the economy, maximum government intervention in the market, and any maximum you prefer to support an advantageous narrative in respect to polls. The GND says whatever you want it say which benefits Cortez’s political career as well as the republican party.

Noam Chomsky, the famed old man on the mountain for the mindless radical left, was featured on Democracy Now recently and provided his thoughts on the GND. Saying “it’s the right idea”, “it can be done”, and then referencing anonymous economists who say it would be a good thing. Chomsky’s comment on economists brings us back to the previous paragraph. How can any economist project what a plan that isn’t a plan will accomplish? You can interpret the GND to produce maximum jobs, maximum growth, maximum emissions reductions, because it is completely open to interpretation, both in respect to implementation as well as outcomes. Presumably, an economist would measure the anticipated amount of investment, costs of production, including labor, and project how many new jobs would be created to build and maintain X infrastructure and incorporate other variables to determine economic impact. But again. You have no strategy for implementation.

On Chomsky’s comment it can be done what is he referring to? I’ve seen academic papers where the qualification of doing it, is taking energy demand and estimating in consideration of area, how renewable sources could be used to generate that demand, including transmission, storage, and integration into the existing grid. These are factors considered in a vacuum devoid of a strategy of implementation that acknowledges the United States has a market based economy, and energy production has private owners.

Chomsky said “it’s the right idea”. Sure, some of the goals are the right idea, but there is no idea to achieve the goals. Of course Chomsky concluded the talk by stating a sit in strike is one step away from people getting rid of management and running the factories themselves, and then you have a real revolution. Which speaks to his understanding of feasibility and the realities in this country. For one, a sit in strike isn’t possible because the striking workers will be removed by police. Second, if we entertain the idea of a sit in strike, while workers are running their company, producing some thing and shipping it to some purchaser, how would these workers access the bank accounts associated with these transactions to pay themselves and cover daily costs? Perhaps a needless point, but this entire article wouldn’t have been written if the general population understood simple things.

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