Democrats should rally round ‘Green New Deal’ set of ideas (instead of a carbon tax)
Some of us environmental advocates have argued for 20 years or more that what the U.S. needs to address the climate crisis isn’t just the spread of solar panels and electric cars but a comprehensive “Green New Deal”—even when we haven’t always labeled it precisely that. More and more people are coming to the same conclusion.
Environmental justice must reside at the heart of that deal. Not just lip service or a few crumbs, but the genuine article. The deal must not be built on the backs of the poor but rather developed in a manner that will help them surmount their economic problems while improving the health and sustainability of the operating system that the powers-that-be have imposed on society, with the attached collateral damage.
This week, Eric Holthaus at the environmental website Grist reinforces the Green New Deal perspective in light of what happened in the midterm elections to state ballot issues designed to ameliorate the climate crisis and accelerate the transformation of the world’s energy system into one that doesn’t kill us and wreck our blue orb.
[…] Here’s what I think happens next in American climate action:
If that’s the scale of change that’s needed, then that has to be the vision. We just need the right visionaries.We need a comprehensive retooling of the American economy for the 21st century. A jobs guarantee, a goal of 100 percent carbon-free energy as soon as possible, a commitment to a society that respects our bedrock values of equality and justice. All those needs would exist even without our present climate challenge. Packaging them together under the urgency of climate change is something that will rally people, send the appropriate signals of the scale of the problem, and reward voters with a better society at the end of the day, rather than penalizing them for continuing to use old forms of energy.
Thankfully, a new generation of climate champions were elected last night. In the five toss-up House races where voters were most concerned about climate change, all went for the more pro-climate candidate. Some leaders in this new generation are bringing a courageous message on climate to which the Democratic party should listen. In her victory speech after becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York 14th District) provided an inspiring message: “We can do better and we can be better because a better world is possible.”
What does a better world look like for climate campaigners? It means not wasting any more time convincing officials who are clearly beholden to fossil fuel money to “believe” in climate change. It means returning to the reasons that climate change matters in the first place: At its core, climate change is an assault to the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that are at the core of what it means to be an American. […]
(Crossposted from DailyKos.)