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What Is The Green New Deal?

Wikipedia is not perfect. But it is very good. It has a nice page on the Green New Deal (GND) here.

“The Green New Deal (GND) is a proposed stimulus program that aims to address climate change and economic inequality The name refers to the New Deal, a set of social and economic reforms and public works projects undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The Green New Deal combines Roosevelt’s economic approach with modern ideas such as renewable energy and resource efficiency.”

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The Green New Deal And A Universal Basic Income

The average rent for a one bedroom apartment is $1,405 a month, or $16,860 a year. Twenty percent (20%) of Americans declared income of less than that last year. America does some of the things needed to compensate for that–food stamps, HUD allowances, etc.–but few would argue we are doing enough.

The nature of work is set to change fairly dramatically over the next few decades, with AI, robotics and other forms of automation quite likely to take on the jobs that people are doing now. And although the care and feeding of these new systems will create new jobs, in all likelihood there will be a permanent net loss of positions, especially for lower income workers.

One of the primary premises of The Green New Deal is “Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”

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The GND and Solar From The Rest Of Us

We talked earlier about the potential of solar–with 70 million single family homes in this country, that’s a lot of roof space. Of course, there are a lot of homes in regions that are not best fits for solar, but the idea of 70 million rooftops is enough to spark our interest.

Remember that our interest is sparked by potential ways of reducing emissions without much in the way of government investment. This is based on the idea that the current administration is not committed to a Green New Deal, and it’s not guaranteed that the next one will be either.

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The Green New Deal and 100% clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources. Gulp. Phase 1–2021-2030

We have written posts that were shorter than the title of this one. Sorry.

We talked about America’s energy consumption in this earlier post. The U.S. currently consumes about 100 quadrillion British Thermal Units a year. This is not expected to change much over the next few decades. Which is easy for calculations, being one hundred. Of that 100 ‘quads,’ at the moment about 11% is renewable (but this includes hydro-electric power) and a further 9% is nuclear. The rest of our fuel portfolio consists of oil (37% of the total), natural gas (29%) and coal (14%).

It’s a lot of energy–about 15% of all the world’s energy consumption happens here.

Of our current renewable energy, a quarter of it is provided by hydroelectric facilities (25%), 21% by wind, 6% by solar and a whopping 45% by the various types of biomass–waste, biofuels and burning wood.

It’s a tall order–hence the use of the word ‘gulp’ in the title of this post.

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Residential Solar Power And The Green New Deal

20% of all US energy consumption happens at home. While we will need laws and politics (and lots of both) to deal with the other 80%, we as individual can make a real difference. And really, nobody is going to take care of that 20% for us. If it’s going to get done, we’re going to have to do it.

The idyllic solution of course would be solar panels on every roof with a tracking mount to follow the sun, feeding not only the immediate electricity needs of the house below it, but charging the standalone battery that will be used to recharge the electric car when it gets home. And there are a lot of homes that could do this. But not enough, sadly.

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The Green New Deal And Education

The Green New Deal proposes “Providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States.”

At present there are about 5,300 universities and colleges in the U.S. In addition, there are about 1,132 community colleges and 8,063 trade or vocational schools. There are a bit more than 28,348,600 people aged 19-25 in the United States.

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Access to Nature and the Green New Deal

There are 59 national parks in the U.S. and 8,565 state parks and a lot of local and city parks. The map looks full:

So at first glance, you might wonder why access to nature is part of the Green New Deal. And once again, the answer is equal parts poverty and inequality.

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The Green New Deal: Healthy and Affordable Food

Availability of good food is a problem for the poor in America. It is not a problem for middle class and richer Americans. However Americans of all incomes frequently make poor choices about food.

The Green New Deal proposes to make healthy and affordable food available to all Americans. There are a number of established programs to draw from, ranging from proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps get food to poor people, to templates for local planning departments trying to fight food insecurity and hunger.

People have been talking about getting more nutritious food into inner city grocery stores for a generation, though, without much in the way of results. As poverty is just as real and just as pervasive in rural counties, a different approach is warranted.

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