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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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A Climate Survey! (Not mine…)

The previous post was really, really tough and really, really long. This one is much shorter and much easier!

Please share your views on climate change and reading blogs by filling out this survey. The data will be used for getting to know the readers of climate change blogs.

What’s in it for you?

  • You have a chance on winning a $20 gift card of Amazon;
  • You will get a sneak preview of the preliminary results;
  • You will contribute to research on climate change blogs.

Participation is anonymous, and your answers will be handled confidentially. The data is only used for research purposes.

Your input is highly valued! Please fill out the survey by following this link.

Rough Look at Overall Costs of the Green New Deal

Since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey introduced their resolution for a Green New Deal, a number of people and institutions have tried to put a price tag on it.

The prices they come up with seem to reflect their political orientation more than an objective evaluation of the costs, with conservatives who would naturally oppose the Green New Deal saying it would cost a lot, while progressive Democrats who favor some or all of the elements of a Green New Deal insisting it would not cost very much at all. Before we provide our own estimates, here are some of the costs put forward by others.

Let’s start at the high end. Mises Wire, named in honor of the Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises, says it would cost $93 trillion[1]—and they say that their estimate is conservative. The estimate relies on other work done by the American Action Forum (whose founder actually estimates a range from $52 trillion to $93 trillion[2]) and does not analyze the whole of the Green New Deal in great detail—from the article accompanying the estimate it would seem they threw up their hands in despair after arriving at such a high figure. They do note that some elements of the Green New Deal are redundant—for example, if the energy grid is powered by 100% renewable sources, why does the Green New Deal call for improving the energy efficiency of every building in America? That’s potentially helpful criticism. But in other places, they estimate a range of costs for elements of the Green New Deal and present the highest end of the range for each.

Defenders of the Green New Deal have been much fuzzier about costs, with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez merely remarking that it would probably cost at least $10 trillion[3], with other vague estimates from various sources at ‘around $2 trillion.’

Somewhere in between lies the real number—or numbers, as many elements must be estimated within a range.

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High Speed Rail and the Green New Deal

Governments that try and pick a winning technological solution don’t have a great track record. However, the Green New Deal as advertised calls for one. Why? Well, a number of studies suggest it can save energy–under the right circumstances.

Of course, the source of the electricity powering a high speed train counts. If a high speed train is ultimately getting its energy from a coal powered generating plant, it isn’t much help. And although natural gas would be better, it still emits a lot of CO2. But it would take a lot of wind and solar to push a train down the track. But let’s set that aside for a second.

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The Good Earth and The Green New Deal

One element of the Green New Deal reads, “Working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.”

We’ve only recently begun talking about it, but modern agriculture emits a lot of CO2. About 9% of US emissions stem from agriculture. About half of those emissions are from crop production, 40% from livestock (and are actually as much methane as CO2) and the remaining 10% is attributed to the business of farming–transportation, storage and the like.

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Successful Uses of a Carbon Tax and a Sovereign Wealth Fund

We’re back from a lovely vacation in France and are ready to resume our exploration of the Green New Deal from a practical point of view.

Those who have read earlier posts can be forgiven if they start shaking their heads at the amount of money each individual portion of the GND seems to cost. The Green New Deal will cost a lot of money, although much of it will be obvious investments with an expected and forecast-able return.

But housing half a million homeless and offering tax subsidies for solar panels and electric cars doesn’t come cheap. And that’s just two of the initiatives we’ve discussed.

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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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