Green Capitalism Aglow
There seem to have been quite a number of past iterations of Ocasio-Cortez & Co.’s #GreenNewDeal, as she now indicates, and offers her ‘Submitted’ One (text version is here). This is Senator Markey’s Resolution (pdf) with ten cosponsors.
But here’s the main thing: the GND doesn’t confront the fossil fuel industry, but enables it instead.
Ecosocialists first came on my radar while covering the Rio 2012 sustainability conference. Indigenous groups from Mexico, Central and South America had caravanned to the global elite conference, but weren’t allowed inside, so they held their own remarkable side conferences. The Bolivian 2010 Peoples Agreement of Cochabamba was presented (as well as other heady Indigenous documents); it was the day I’d first understood the true evils of capitalism. From their metaphorical second cousins the Indigenous Environmental Network:
“The primary goal of the AOC-Markey Green New Deal (GND) Resolution is to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions”. We reject net-zero emissions language (as well as carbon neutral and zero-carbon) because it implies the use of carbon accounting that includes various types of carbon pricing systems, offsets and/or Payments for Ecological Services (PES). The use of this language opens up space and opportunity for fossil fuel industries to continue the business-as-usual practices of extraction, transport and combustion. In addition, the industry’s most responsible for climate change – fossil fuel industries – obtain more profits through the use of market mechanisms built into carbon pricing systems that include offsets and PES. This language is the opposite of what we have been demanding. It appears that the policy-makers who use this language are failing to listen to us. First and foremost, if we are to stop climate change, we must create a plan to keep fossil fuels in the ground that includes cutting off subsidies and tax breaks.
Further, net zero emissions and carbon neutrality inherently imply that the reduction of carbon and other greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions can be met through carbon market systems and other techno-fixes. In addition, the language in the AOC-Markley resolution includes financing for green infrastructure which is undefined in the document. Geoengineering technologies such as Carbon Capture Sequestration (CCS), Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) are examples of techno-fixes that can be claimed as producing net zero emissions as well as building green infrastructure. However, these techno-fixes are expensive, unproven, unjust and do not address the root causes of climate change nor support environmental justice. BECCS opens the door for biomass energy, afforestation and more forest offset systems such as REDD+. Carbon trading allows polluters to buy and sell permits to pollute instead of cutting air pollution at source. Carbon trading privatizes the air that we breathe. It turns the atmosphere into the private property of polluters.”
And of course biofuels are ‘renewable’, but horrid false promises in any event. Read why at biofuelwatch.org.uk
Also see: ‘Geoengineering and Environmental Capitalism; Extractive Industries in the Era of Climate Change’, Linda Schneider, scienceforthepeople.org
Also ‘The Green New Deal Must Take on the Fossil Fuel Industry; Greenpeace’s Janet Redman says the Green New Deal proposal from Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey is a step towards unprecedented climate action, but that it must mandate a phase-out of oil, gas, and coal’, February 7, 2019 TRNN
It’s not clear how much of a step toward climate action is, yes, even most dissenters indicate they’re grateful for the conversation. To me, the climate emergency was at least a decade ago, but now that the world’s oceans are heating up more and more with catastrophic results, both polar icecaps are melting, and the Thwaites glacier is full of holes from the warm ocean, the carbon PPM and global mean temps may not be the most severe danger to the biosphere as ocean levels rise. Myself, I’d rather boatloads of dollars would go to Climate Change Deep Adaptation. Also, while the GND is US-centric, climate chaos is a global issue, even while Amerika is responsible for 20% of the earth’s high carbon footprint.
From the text of her GND, this wtf?:
“Whereas, climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States—
(1) by impacting the economic, environmental, and social stability of countries and communities around the world; and
(2) by acting as a threat multiplier”
What in the world can you be imagining?
You’ll likely remember the joyous accolades that Ocasio-Cortez had received from progressives for having a peace plan. Under: A Peace Economy? That can’t have been all there as, can it? But she did vote for The Nato Support Act, (and Nato’s sister-in-chief Afrisom) as did Ro Khanna, whose issues under his FP and Nat Sec tab sure as shit prove that hypocritical as all giddy-up. ‘Diplomacy First’ and ‘Only Congress can declare war’. But there’s a reason that within her Proposal to Make a Plan in 2020 so that it can be a major campaign theme for Democrats, and while the Proposal acknowledges that Amerika was responsible for ‘20% of global greenhouse gas emissions’ through 2014, exactly like Bill McKibben (and his funders) and Naomi Klein, never addressed the fact that ‘U.S. Military Is World’s Biggest Polluter’, Whitney Webb, mintpress news via ecowatch.
May I offer that Seargant Dow Jones will love this Deal? Both McKibben and Klein are quite bullish on it. Not one word on wars and the military save for financial costs, and ‘repairing America’s image around the world’. Good luck with that.
A few excerpts from Kenn Orphan’s ‘Greenwashing the Climate Catastrophe’, Feb. 8, 2019, counterpunch.org
“With this in mind political solutions, like the Green New Deal, are being trotted out by democratic socialist and neoliberal politicians that merely cloak the problem, never identifying the root of it all: Capitalism. In fact, many of these policies are weak on protecting nature and are simply designed to keep capitalism afloat. At its core this is a system that is incapable of even beginning to address climate change or biospheric degeneration. Its principles are based upon the exploitation of the environment for the material gain of the ruling class, kept alive through institutions of repression and corporate state violence. Under this rubric environmental causes may be soothed for some; but the poor and working class are continually battered and raped by industry and the corrupt governments that house and protect them. Indigenous peoples, who face the worst exploitation, continually see their lands desecrated and denuded by state policing factions at the behest of powerful corporations. And militarism, which is of course wedded to capitalism, ensures that all of this exploitation can continue and expand virtually unopposed by bourgeois society.”
Orphan offers several quotes including these:
“One might think that if someone were conscious enough to recognise that global ecology was compromised and that pollutants were destroying fresh water, and the land, and that global warming was quite possibly going to make huge swatches of land non arable — you might think that person would look for solutions in a political frame. After all it was global capital that had brought mankind to this historic precipice. But instead, many if not nearly all the people I speak with, frame things in terms of personal responsibility. Stop driving big diesel SUVs, stop flying to Cabo for vacation, stop eating meat, etc-. But these same people tend to not criticize capitalism. Or, rather, they ask for a small non crony green capitalism. I guess this would mean green exploitation and green wars? For war is the engine of global capitalism today. Cutting across this are the various threads of the overpopulation theme. A convenient ideological adjustment that shifts blame to the poorest inhabitants of the planet.”
– John Steppling, Trust Nothing, 2019
From the text of the GND proposal’s plan:
[(N) promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding, and services, with the aim of making the United States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal]
“Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion.”
― Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda, 1928
‘Corporations See a Different Kind of “Green” in Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal”; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” initiative was unveiled on Thursday and quickly became the target of disingenuous ridicule from both sides of the aisle. But as Whitney Webb highlights in this Dec 18, 2018 piece, there are very serious reasons to be concerned’, Whitney Webb, mintpressnews, Feb. 8, 2018
“For instance, Ocasio-Cortez’s version states that her plan will be funded:
…in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit, and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.”
In other words, Ocasio-Cortez suggests funding the plan with credit from the private bank – and Wall Street controlled – Federal Reserve Bank, taxpayer funds, and the aforementioned cap-and-trade scheme that would enrich the country’s ruling class even more.
In contrast, the Green New Deal of the Green Party proposes funding its plan to take the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 by cutting U.S. military spending in half and closing all foreign U.S. military bases, which would free up at least $500 billion a year and still leave the U.S. with a defense budget three times larger than the next largest defense spender, China.”
‘Sorry Democrats, the Green Party Came Up With the Green New Deal! by Andrew Stewart, November 29, 2018, counterpunch.org, but back to W. Webb:
“The emphasis on including experts and insiders from “business” and “industry” appears several times in the plan, such as in the following excerpts:
The select committee shall have the authority to investigate, study, make findings, convene experts and leaders from industry, academia, local communities, labor, finance, technology and any other industry or group that the select committee deems to be a relevant resource.” [emphasis added]
“The plan shall […] be driven by the federal government, in collaboration, co-creation and partnership with business, labor, state and local governments, tribal nations, research institutions [corporate-funded?] and civil society groups and communities.” [emphasis added]”
Webb had also reminded reader of ‘The political fraud of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal”, Will Morrow, 23 November 2018 wsws.org He takes an anti-capitalist look at it, although this section Webb had mentioned seems to have been removed from the final submission (likely too bold an affront to ‘guaranteed good, high paying jobs’)
“Several of her proposals are explicitly aimed at promoting the interests of different sections of capital, including the call to “promote opportunities” for “entrepreneurship,” and “promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism.”
“Labor market flexibility”—that is, the ability of corporations to fire and hire at will. Such is the character of Ocasio-Cortez’s great left-wing reform!”
But if you’d read it when it was published, you may have chuckled over this section:
“The original “New Deal,” which included massive public works infrastructure projects, was introduced by Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s amid the Great Depression. Its purpose was to stave off a socialist revolution in America. It was a response to a militant upsurge of strikes and violent class battles, led by socialists who were inspired by the 1917 Russian Revolution that had occurred less than two decades before.
American capitalism could afford to make such concessions because of its economic dominance. The past forty years have been characterized by the continued decline of American capitalism on a world stage relative to its major rivals. The ruling class has responded to this crisis with a social counterrevolution to claw back all gains won by workers. This has been carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations and with the assistance of the trade unions.”
Co-sponsors of the House GND:
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez (for herself, Mr. Hastings, Ms. Tlaib, Mr. Serrano, Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Mr. Vargas, Mr. Espaillat, Mr. Lynch, Ms. Velázquez, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Brendan F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Castro of Texas, Ms. Clarke of New York, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Ms. Pressley, Mr. Welch, Mr. Engel, Mr. Neguse, Mr. Nadler, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Pocan, Mr. Takano, Ms. Norton, Mr. Raskin, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Lowenthal, Ms. Matsui, Mr. Thompson of California, Mr. Levin of California, Ms. Pingree, Mr. Quigley, Mr. Huffman, Mrs. Watson Coleman, Mr. García of Illinois, Mr. Higgins of New York, Ms. Haaland, Ms. Meng, Mr. Carbajal, Mr. Cicilline, Mr. Cohen, Ms. Clark of Massachusetts, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell, Mr. Moulton, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Meeks, Mr. Sablan, Ms. Lee of California, Ms. Bonamici, Mr. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Ms. Schakowsky, Ms. DeLauro, Mr. Levin of Michigan, Ms. McCollum, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mr. Courtney, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, Ms. Escobar, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Keating, Mr. DeFazio, Ms. Eshoo, Mrs. Trahan, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Kennedy, and Ms. Waters.
John Podesta and Van Jones have endorsed it, as well.
From marketwatch.com, Feb 8: As vague as it is, the Green New Deal could have a real impact on Corporate America. Here’s why, Nuclear power looked like a loser in the Democratic plan, but it may have gotten a reprieve
“If you start to see some more of these ground shifts in politics — veering toward renewables, veering toward addressing climate change — it’s definitely bullish for these renewable energy companies and power providers,” Price told MarketWatch.
“This isn’t a near-term catalyst for us by any means, but for some of those slow-money, long-time-horizon guys, the biofuels space and the renewables space are definitely interesting places to look,” he also said.
Nuclear power initially looked like a Green New Deal loser, as a fact sheet for the plan that was circulated by Ocasio-Cortez’s office reportedly called for transitioning away from such plants.”
Yes, one iteration of her proposal had called for ‘transitioning away from nuclear power by 2030 ‘if no other viable alternatives are available’.
And of course biofuels are ‘renewable’, but horrid false promises in any event. Read why at biofuelwatch.org.uk
An earlier iteration of her/their Proposal had called for ‘zero-emission cars’, i.e. electric cars, as with Bill McKibben in his crazy ‘let’s blame Trump for scrapping President Obama’s automobile mileage standards’ rant: ‘The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn’t care’, Bill McKibben, theguardian.com, Oct. 2018
“The Trump years are a fantasy land where we pretend we can go on living precisely as in the past, unwilling even to substitute electric SUVs for our gas guzzlers, and able to somehow insist that the rest of the world stay locked in place as well. It’s impractical, it’s unfair, and when it ends up with camps for kids in the desert it’s downright evil.”
Her final proposal uses this baffling, perhaps obfuscating language:
(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;
(ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transit; and
(iii) high-speed rail
Ah, here it is on Ocasio’s Issues page:
‘By encouraging the electrification of vehicles, sustainable home heating, distributed rooftop solar generation, and the conversion of the power grid to zero-emissions energy sources, Alexandria believes we can be 100% free of fossil fuels by 2035.’ Good luck with that.
In any event, the carbon footprint of electric cars depends on the source of the electricity generated: nuclear, coal, wind, solar, etc.
Now I’ve lost my links to various electrical power generation sources, and similarly, the environmental impact of batteries, which would likely hold true for solar energy as well, but believe it or not, the WEF has some of the dirty downsides of EV batteries.
And from wired.com: ‘Tesla’s Electric Cars Aren’t as Green as You Might Think’
In the end, I expect that the wag who’d noted that the GND is a mirror: something for everyone…depending on what they see in it. For me, most of the language is frothy but fuzzy, and the devil will be in the details of any legislation offered in a year or three.
(E) 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’
Small wonder Nanci Pelosi had called it a Green Dream and will choose the members of the Select Committee on Climate Change.
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)