Opinion | The Green New Deal Is What Realistic Environmental Policy Looks Like – By Jedediah Britton-Purdy – The New York Times

By Jedediah Britton-Purdy
Mr. Britton-Purdy is the author, most recently, of “After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene.”

Feb. 14, 2019

Image
Supporters of a Green New Deal gathered late last year in Washington.CreditCreditJim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency, via Shutterstock

“Everyone is lining up to endorse the Green New Deal — or to mock it. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have all endorsed the resolution sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

Conservative critics predictably call it “a shocking document” and “a call for enviro-socialism in America,” but liberal condescension has cut deeper. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, essentially dismissed it as branding, saying, “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?” Others have criticized it for leaving out any mention of a carbon tax, a cornerstone of mainstream climate-policy proposals, while embracing a left-populist agenda that includes universal health care, stronger labor rights and a jobs guarantee.

What do these goals have to do with stabilizing atmospheric carbon levels before climate change makes large parts of the world uninhabitable? What has taken liberal critics aback is that the Green New Deal strays so far from the traditional environmental emphasis on controlling pollution, which the carbon tax aims to do, and tries to solve the problems of economic inequality, poverty and even corporate concentration (there’s an antimonopoly clause).

But this everything-and-the-carbon-sink strategy is actually a feature of the approach, not a bug, and not only for reasons of ideological branding. In the 21st century, environmental policy is economic policy. Keeping the two separate isn’t a feat of intellectual discipline. It’s an anachronism.

Our carbon emissions are not mainly about the price of gasoline or electricity. They’re about infrastructure. For every human being, there are over 1,000 tons of built environment: roads, office buildings, power plants, cars and trains and long-haul trucks. It is a technological exoskeleton for the species. Everything most of us do, we do through it: calling our parents, getting to work, moving for a job, taking the family on vacation, finding food for the evening or staying warm in a polar vortex. Just being human in this artificial world implies a definite carbon footprint — and for that matter, a trail of footprints in water use, soil compaction, habitat degradation and pesticide use. You cannot change the climate impact of Americans without changing the built American landscape.”

Opinion | How the Left Embraced Elitism – By David Brooks – The New York Times

David Lindsay.

My friend Don Cardwell wrote to me, ” I marvel at (David Brooks) intellectual origami, and unfettered legerdemain. He SOUNDS so reasonable, so calm. I went to the kitchen window and basked in the morning sun, after days of rain. I think Brooks would shutter the blinds good and hard and run screaming to the basement to escape the light.”

So I found this piece and read it, and liked it. It was the comments section, one of the best set of top comments I’ve ever seen in the NYT comments, that helped me see Don was right, this is one of the worst columns Brooks has ever writen.

I wrote to Don: “At first quick read, I thought you were off your rocker. But I read deeply into the comments, and kept agreeing with all the criticisms of the column. By the end, I felt you were spot on, though I feel bad for David Brooks. He doesn’t have any urgency about climate change, which is odd. I’m afraid he doesn’t get it, or he thinks the threats that the scientists lie awake worrying about, are just abstractions. He does, accurately point out, that conservatives want a monumental carbon tax, so that Big Government can use it as a pointer, and all the States and Corporations can pull in the same direction. Mr. Brooks does not appear to realize that if we don’t jump on this wild horse, in 10 to 12 years it might be too late.”

 

Image
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey introducing the Green New Deal on Thursday.CreditCreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

 

“Over the past generation, global capitalism has produced the greatest reduction in human poverty in history. Over the past 10 years, American capitalism has produced 20 million new jobs. The productive dynamism of capitalism is truly a wonder to behold.

But economic growth alone is not enough. Growth alone does not translate into economic security for the middle class and the less skilled. Growth alone does nothing to reverse the social decay afflicting communities across America.

This reality is transforming the political debate — and shifting everything leftward. Among conservatives there are now a bevy of thinkers who are trying to find ways to use government to reduce inequality, promote work and restore community.

For example, in the lead essay of the conservative journal National Affairs, Abby M. McCloskey notes that the family you are born into and the neighborhood you live in have a much stronger influence on your socioeconomic outcome than any other factors. Her essay is an outstanding compendium of proposals designed to strengthen family and neighborhood.

Pell grants could be used to pay for vocational and apprenticeship training and not just for college. The federal government could support a voluntary national service program by paying people, once in their lifetime, to work for a year at a local nonprofit. The tax code could be tweaked so that people with no income tax liability could receive a cash credit for making charitable donations.

These proposals are activist but humble. It’s not the federal government centrally deciding how to remake your community. It’s giving communities and people the resources to take responsibility and assume power for themselves.

As many conservatives have shifted leftward, so have progressives. From Bill Clinton through Barack Obama, Democrats respected market forces but tried to use tax credits and regulations to steer them in more humane ways. Obamacare was an effort to expand and reform private health insurance markets.

That Democratic Party is ending. Today, Democrats are much more likely to want government to take direct control. This is the true importance of the Green New Deal, which is becoming the litmus test of progressive seriousness. I don’t know if it is socialism or not socialism — that’s a semantic game — but it would definitely represent the greatest centralization of power in the hands of the Washington elite in our history.”

David Lindsay:

Here is a sample of the great comments at the NYT:

Down62
Iowa City, Iowa

Sometimes David tries too hard to sound like an intellectual. Like here: “The great paradox of progressive populism is that it leads to elitism in its purist form.” Huh? The real deal here is to find a dialectical balance between extreme market capitalism and extreme federal centralization. For now, I for one, am grateful that ‘the next generation’ of whom Mr. Brooks writes, are trying to correct 40 years of excessive, deregulated corporate capitalism.

rv commented February 11

rv
riverhead

Mr. Brooks would have a lot more credibility if he decried with equal passion the greatest concentration of wealth in the hands of the 0.1% – and the continuing transfer of wealth to them via the tax code. Phrases like “Washington elite” are used as cudgels by the Mr. Brooks and his friends to hammer modest proposals to redress the rampant and growing inequality in this country

Alan J. Shaw commented February 12

Alan J. Shaw
Bayside, New York
Times Pick

Brooks is playing with words. The “elite ” to which the right wing refers is a negative stereotype of college graduates supposedly residing mainly on the east and west coasts and who are therefore out of touch with the populace as a whole. The New Deal marshaled the resources of the federal government during the FDR administration to benefit the middle class and the disadvantaged. Philosophically and in action, it was completely opposed to the corrosive and corrupting concentration of wealth and power that characterizes the so-called “populist” Trump administration.

Michael commented February 11

Michael
Evanston, IL

It’s not the Democrats who are authors of “fantasy”; it’s David Brooks. Only one word can describe today’s column: irresponsible. Once again, Brooks is channeling his conservative patron saint Edmund Burke – but there’s just one problem: we don’t live in the 19th century England Burke was writing about. Climate change is breathing down our necks – estimated to have dire consequences within 20 years or less. Inequality is pulling the country apart. Yet, Brooks pines for “humble” solutions that will strengthen families and neighborhoods. Yessiree bob! Let’s set up a lemonade stand! The Green New Deal is a nonbinding resolution to fight inequity and tackle climate change. It’s a bold response to acute and threatening problems that require immediate attention – not tomorrow, not next year. Climate change will melt Burke’s “prudence” and Brooks localism. Yet, Brooks wants to turn something like climate change over to “communities and people” and let them “take responsibility and assume power for themselves.” I wish them luck when the ocean is up to their roof line, or it’s so hot and dry that forest fires burn year round coast to coast. “I don’t know if it is socialism or not socialism.” Here’s what it is – it’s democracy. It’s people recognizing that serious, potentially calamitous challenges require equally serious responses, and then working toward real solutions. What it is NOT is cautious 19th century paradigms for urgent and complex 21st century predicaments.

Sherry commented February 12

Sherry
Washington
Times Pick

Thankfully David Brooks acknowledges that global warming is a problem; most Republicans don’t. And because most Republicans don’t they are doubling down on killing regulations, and subsidizing pollution from coal mines and power plants and natural gas well, and calling pipelines “utilities” so that they can take private land to build pipeline projects even though all the profits from those pipelines will go to private companies. Even more, Republicans insist on subsidize tarsands processing plants on the Gulf Coast so that industrialists like David and Charles Koch can mine tarsands in Alberta and profit even more off of exporting oil and polluting the air. Decades of time and billions of dollars have been wasted deferring to Republican reckless and irresponsible free market free-for all. Their “freedom” means to socialize the costs and privatize the gains from fossil fuel industry and to hemorrhage our tax on disaster relief from hurricanes and fires burning out of control, while every summer hotter than the last. Harnessing America’s energy and talent to drive clean energy revolution through a Green New Deal is about a thousand times more prudent and responsible than any Republican idea has ever been.

Diana commented February 12

Diana
Centennial
Times Pick

In Nordic countries socialism and capitalism peacefully co-exist and all citizens benefit by being socially secure. There are those who are wealthy, but they pay their fair share of taxes. The wealthy in this country do not. They have a thirst for wealth that cannot be quenched no matter the tax loopholes nor the tax cuts, more is always demanded. What the left wants is social fairness. We do not have that now. You object to big government programs. I can think of two large government administered programs that work very well in this country: Social Security and Medicare. Ask some of Trump’s base how they feel about these leftist, socialistic programs. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was opposed by conservatives, just as the Green New Deal is being opposed by conservatives for the same reasons now as then. How many people in this country were lifted out of poverty because of the New Deal? We need idealistic young people in this country to dream big and offer fresh ideas to be considered and debated without dismissing their ideas out of hand. Universal health care is absolutely doable. Climate change is real, and needs to be addressed. I would welcome a shift toward the Nordic Model. Conservatives are frightened that is where we are headed. The wealthy should be the ones who have to work in voluntary community programs for tax credits. Some might have even have their consciousness raised.

David Lindsay:  There are at least two more great comments that point out that it is the externalities of our economy that cause all the pollution and harm, and the capitalisst market does not take care of externalities. It is up to government to take care of them.

The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to Rewrite American Car Emissions Rules – By Hiroko Tabuchi – The New York Times

By Hiroko Tabuchi
Dec. 13, 2018, 181

“When the Trump administration laid out a plan this year that would eventually allow cars to emit more pollution, automakers, the obvious winners from the proposal, balked. The changes, they said, went too far even for them.

But it turns out that there was a hidden beneficiary of the plan that was pushing for the changes all along: the nation’s oil industry.

In Congress, on Facebook and in statehouses nationwide, Marathon Petroleum, the country’s largest refiner, worked with powerful oil-industry groups and a conservative policy network financed by the billionaire industrialist Charles G. Koch to run a stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards, a New York Times investigation has found.

The campaign’s main argument for significantly easing fuel efficiency standards — that the United States is so awash in oil it no longer needs to worry about energy conservation — clashed with decades of federal energy and environmental policy.”

Scientific Consensus | Facts – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet – climate.nasa.gov

“Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree*: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.

AMERICAN SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES
Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations
“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.”” (2009)2

Source: Scientific Consensus | Facts – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Opinion | Climate Denial Was the Crucible for Trumpism – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Many observers seem baffled by Republican fealty to Donald Trump — the party’s willingness to back him on all fronts, even after severe defeats in the midterm elections. What kind of party would show such support for a leader who is not only evidently corrupt and seemingly in the pocket of foreign dictators, but also routinely denies facts and tries to criminalize anyone who points them out?

The answer is, the kind of the party that, long before Trump came on the scene, committed itself to denying the facts on climate change and criminalizing the scientists reporting those facts.

The G.O.P. wasn’t always an anti-environment, anti-science party. George H.W. Bush introduced the cap-and-trade program that largely controlled the problem of acid rain. As late as 2008, John McCain called for a similar program to limit emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

But McCain’s party was already well along in the process of becoming what it is today — a party that is not only completely dominated by climate deniers, but is hostile to science in general, that demonizes and tries to destroy scientists who challenge its dogma.”

Is Exxon Conning Its Investors?  The New York Times Editorial

By The Editorial Board

Nov. 25, 2018, 195
Credit
Antonio Sortino
Image
CreditCreditAntonio Sortino

“In August, a lawyer for Exxon Mobil told a state court in Manhattan that New York’s attorney general should either sue the company for misleading investors about the impact of climate change on its finances or drop the case. “They should put up or shut up,” the lawyer, Theodore Wells Jr., said of a tangled case that had dragged on for more than two years. The weary judge, Barry Ostrager, agreed. “This cannot go on interminably,” he said.

Put-up time has arrived. Late last month, Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a fraud lawsuit against the company. Exxon responded with a 38-page brief basically denying everything. And Judge Ostrager has set a trial date for October of next year.

Much can happen between now and then. But the judge’s decision to allow the case to proceed could provide a rare teaching moment that allows the public to see a powerful company grappling with the kinds of choices that all legacy fossil fuel companies will surely face in a carbon-constrained world.

The case is not a rehash of the copiously documented charge that Exxon had for years subsidized climate change denialist groups even as its own scientists were acutely aware of the dangers of global warming. That charge is partly what inspired Ms. Underwood’s predecessor, Eric Schneiderman, to begin investigating the company in the first place. But Exxon has since agreed that climate change is a problem, supported the Paris agreement and invested in cleaner fuels. Nor does the suit hold the company responsible for climate change, unlike several cases against the fossil fuel industry brought by New York City and other localities seeking damages from the rise of sea levels and other consequences of a warming world. Most of these suits have been thrown out of court.”

Standing ‘Against White Supremacy-’ G.O.P. Campaign Chief Rebukes Steve King – By Catie Edmondson – NYT

David Lindsay:
I supported this young man JD Scholten, Steve King’s opponent in Iowa’s 4th Congressional race, with a whopping $25., way back in September when Elizabeth Warren emailed me personally and asked her friends to help out this young, super environmentalist and ex-minor league baseball player who played professionally in Canada and Iowa for the Sioux City Explorers, and for teams in Belgium, Germany and France. I figured out that the DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committeee, left JD Scholten off their list of candidates to support, since Steve King was too popular and ensconed, although a super Trumpist, climate change denying, and white supremacist. Don’t take my word, read the article below, which starts:

“WASHINGTON — As Pittsburgh began burying the victims of Saturday’s synagogue massacre, the head of the House Republican campaign arm all but jettisoned Representative Steve King of Iowa from the House Republican Conference, declaring, “We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms.” 


The impossible to win, written off race is now tied in the polls! I call upon all of my followers and friends, all five of you, to cough up $5 or $25 or $50 for young farmer J D Sholten, who wrote one of the best position pieces on Climate Change and how to use agrigulture as a carbon sink, that I have read on any Democratic candidates’ web site this election cycle, and I have studied a lot of them, because, if truth were told, I am normally reluctant to part with my money. This election is different.

SCHOLTEN4IOWA.COM
J.D. Scholten For Congress –

https://www.scholten4iowa.com/

Opinion | Of Time- Tides and Trump –  – The New York Times

“O.K., I know you’re obsessed about sex and the Supreme Court. But the hurricane flooding in North Carolina has been terrible. Let’s give it some serious thought right now.

Particularly when it comes to ways the government screwed up. First lesson is easy. Coastal flooding is getting way, way worse because of global warming. So obviously we’ve got to join other nations in combating this universally recognized threat.

Hahahahaha.

Yeah, yeah. President Trump does not believe in climate change. Who among us can forget the time he claimed the whole idea was a Chinese plot to ruin American manufacturing?

Maybe he’ll evolve. After all, Trump does occasionally show some concern for nature. When he visited North Carolina on Wednesday, he particularly inquired about the well-being of the state’s Lake Norman. (“I love that area — I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.”)”

DL: Keep reading, Trump has a golf course there.
We all need some light reading for a change.

Trump Administration Wants to Make It Easier to Release Methane Into Air – news by Coral Davenport – NYT

“WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, taking its third major step this year to roll back federal efforts to fight climate change, is preparing to make it significantly easier for energy companies to release methane into the atmosphere.

Methane, which is among the most powerful greenhouse gases, routinely leaks from oil and gas wells, and energy companies have long said that the rules requiring them to test for emissions were costly and burdensome.The Environmental Protection Agency, perhaps as soon as this week, plans to make public a proposal to weaken an Obama-era requirement that companies monitor and repair methane leaks, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. In a related move, the Interior Department is also expected in coming days to release its final version of a draft rule, proposed in February, that essentially repeals a restriction on the intentional venting and “flaring,” or burning, of methane from drilling operations.”

DL: This is very bad news. This excellent news piece has some horrified comments, which I often recommended, such as:

Socrates
Socrates
Downtown Verona. NJ

Greed Over Planet

If you can’t stand clean water, air and soil and a habitable planet, the Party of Death is for you.

If you can’t stand your children and grandchildren, vote Republican.

If you believe you have the right to abort the Earth’s delicate ecosystem and climate for personal greed and selfishness, then Gas Oil Pollution is the party for you.

If nationality assisted suicide has great appeal to you, then voting Republican is the right thing to do.

The Republican Party is trying to kill people and thousands of other species.

Eject them all from elected office on Nov 6 2018