U.S. Senate rejects Green New Deal, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is ‘encouraged’

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/5113318/
WATCH: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‘encouraged’ despite Senate rejecting ‘Green New Deal’

U.S. Representative Alexandria OcasioCortez said on Friday she was “very encouraged” by the Senate vote this week on the “Green New Deal,” the sweeping climate policy resolution she introduced last month, even though the Senate defeated it.

The non-binding resolution, which proposes to eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within a decade, lost 57-0 in the Senate, with 43 Democrats voting “present.”

“You had the Republicans voting ‘no’ and you had virtually the entire Democratic caucus voting ‘present,’ even those in tough states,” OcasioCortez said on Friday. “That is an extraordinary amount of unity within the Senate to actually vote in that cohesive of a bloc, so I’m very encouraged.”

OcasioCortez shrugged off Republicans’ insults on Friday at a town hall hosted by MSNBC in her district in The Bronx.

“I didn’t expect them to make total fools of themselves,” she said of her critics. MORE

 

Yes, We Need a Green New Deal. Just Not the One Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Offering.

There is a better way to reduce harmful emissions.


High carbon emissions produced by facilities like the Cheswick coal-fired power plant in Springdale, Penn., could be taxed. Credit: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Yes, of course, we need a Green New Deal to address the world’s most urgent crisis, global warming.

Just, please, not the one that a flotilla of liberal politicians, including seven of the top Democratic presidential hopefuls currently in the Senate, are signingup for in droves, like children following the pied piper in the old legend.

Our modern-day pied piper, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is trying to lure us into a set of policies that might help save the planet but at the cost of severely damaging the global economy.

…Fortunately, there is a better way to address the climate problem at far lower cost to the economy: a tax on greenhouse gas emissions. That can be imposed in any number of ways. The 18.4 cent federal gasoline tax, for example, hasn’t been increased since 1993 even as most other developed countries impose far higher levies.

A particularly thoughtful proposal has come from the Climate Leadership Council, a bipartisan organization that counts more than 3,300 economists among its signatories. Elegant in its simplicity, the key provision would be the imposition of an escalating tax on carbon. At an initial rate of $43 per ton, the levy would be roughly equivalent to 38.2 cents per gallon of gasoline. MORE

 

Global Climate Strike: Students around the world protest climate inaction

Here’s why these young climate activists are striking

An activist sits during a youth climate rally on the west front of the US Capitol on March 15, 2019 in Washington, DC.
An activist sits during a youth climate rally on the west front of the US Capitol on March 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Young climate activists are hoping to spark a widespread dialogue about climate change, following in the footsteps of their peers in Parkland, Florida, who led a national conversation about gun control after a mass shooting at their school.

And they’re concerned about the inaction on this front.

World leaders only have 11 more years to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, according to a 2018 report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

If human-generated greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the planet will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as soon as 2030. That threshold is critical.

Global warming at that temperature would put the planet at a greater risk of events like extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people, according to the IPCC report.

What they want: The common demand among students, although they vary country-to-country, is for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s what that agenda includes for kids in the US, according to the Youth Climate Strike website:

  • a national embrace of the Green New Deal
  • an end to fossil fuel infrastructure projects
  • a national emergency declaration on climate change
  • mandatory education on climate change and its effects from K-8
  • a clean water supply
  • preservation of public lands and wildlife
  • all government decisions to be tied to scientific research

INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE HAS BEEN WARNING US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE FOR CENTURIES

Nishnaabeg scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson explains why “green growth” isn’t enough to save the planet.

Bees pollinate pollinating honeybees
(Photo: Ron Whitaker/Unsplash)

“Indigenous peoples have witnessed continual ecosystem and species collapse since the early days of colonial occupation,” says Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, an activist/scholar from the Nishnaabeg nation and author most recently of the book As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance. “We should be thinking of climate change as part of a much longer series of ecological catastrophes caused by colonialism and accumulation-based society.”

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. (Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson)

The mass death of insects is an observable and measurable disrespect for the diversity of life on Earth, to which we can and should compare other patterns of human practice.

“Indigenous knowledge systems are rigorous, they pursue excellence, they are critical and comprehensive,” Simpson says. “The global roots of the climatic crisis and the exploitation of natural resources are issues indigenous peoples have been speaking out against for hundreds of years.” The proof is in the pudding: Colonists were warned by word and weapon  that a system of individual land ownership would lead to ecological apocalypse, and here we are. What more could you ask from a system of truth and analysis than to alert you to a phenomenon like climate change before it occurs, with enough time to prevent it? That is significantly more than colonial science has offered.

The devaluation of indigenous political thought has nothing to do with its predictive ability. The ruling class produced by accumulation society simply will not put its own system up for debate. Thus the climate change policies we discuss—even and perhaps in particular the Green New Deal—take for granted not just the persistence of commodity accumulation, but its continued growth. MORE

RELATED:

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?

 

Teen Climate Activist to Sen. Dianne Feinstein: We Need the Green New Deal to Prevent the Apocalypse

https://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2019/3/1/teen_climate_activist_to_sen_dianne

“We’re the ones affected.” Those are the words of youth climate activists who confronted California Senator Dianne Feinstein last week in San Francisco, demanding she sign on to the Green New Deal.

Image result for Isha ClarkeIn a video of the interaction that has since been seen across the country, Feinstein dismissed the children—some as young as 7 years old—asking her to take bold action on climate change.

We [Democracy Now!] speak with the youth climate activists who confronted the senator: 16-year-old Isha Clarke, 12-year-old Rio and his 10-year-old sister Magdalena. MORE

RELATED:

THE VIRAL CONFRONTATION WITH DIANNE FEINSTEIN HAD A POLITICAL IMPACT MOST PUNDITS MISSED

DEMOCRATS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE GETTING HOUNDED BY VOTERS FOR SHYING AWAY FROM THE GREEN NEW DEAL

Democrat Antonio Delgado speaks to supporters at a democratic watch party in Kingston, N.Y., after defeating incumbent Republican John Faso Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Democrat Rep. Antonio Delgado speaks to supporters at a watch party in Kingston, N.Y., after defeating incumbent Republican John Faso on Nov. 6, 2018. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP

CALIFORNIA SEN. Dianne Feinstein may feel like she was treated unfairly by young activists who have hammered her for not backing the Green New Deal resolution, but she has plenty of company. In upstate New York, Utah, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, voters who feel a much greater sense of urgency than their elected officials have been reacting furiously to politicians who say that the attempt to turn the fossil fuel-based economy around in the next 12 years simply isn’t realistic.

Rep. Antonio Delgado, the freshman from New York’s 19th District, was pressed repeatedly by constituents over his half-hearted support for the effort. He doesn’t support the Green New Deal, he told constituents at a town hall on February 16, though he noted that he backed certain aspects of the bill. Delgado said that he’s more interested in solutions that address the issues around climate change that can be solved now and that the bill as written does not sufficiently lay out a path for that kind of approach to the inevitability of climate crisis.

Democrats, especially freshmen in the House, are having to face voters in their districts who find the lack of action on climate change to be a major issue for the new representatives. And those complaints aren’t coming from blue districts — as with Delgado, freshmen Democrats from purple districts are facing resistance from constituents over their hesitancy to endorse progressive programs. Republicans aren’t immune either. On Monday morning, roughly 250 young activists from the Sunrise Movement occupied the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with 35 getting arrested. MORE

Get to know the New Green Deal by the numbers

Image result for national observer: get to know the new green deal by the numbers
Then-candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a community event on May 28, 2018. Photo by Corey Torpie, via handout.

Not long after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was elected last November, she began gathering support for a “Green New Deal,” mobilizing young climate activists and pushing Democratic leaders to pursue the concept. The idea, which was first floated by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in 2007, is modeled on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s sweeping Depression-era New Deal and proposes tackling climate change as a massive job creator to boost the American economy. In its current form, it also marries climate action with a host of other progressive aims. On Feb. 7, Ocasio-Cortez introduced a nonbinding resolution articulating what a Green New Deal might include, from eliminating fossil fuels entirely to establishing universal health care and ensuring stronger rights for Indigenous people and nations. Here’s the proposal — and some context — by the numbers:

Number of co-sponsors of the nonbinding resolution as of Feb. 15: 68.

Number of Republicans who have signed on: Zero.

Percentage of co-sponsors who come from Western states, including California, Washington, Colorado and Arizona: 35.

Average hourly wage for a U.S. worker in January 1973: $4.03.

Equivalent hourly wage in today’s dollars, in terms of purchasing power: $23.68.

Average hourly wage of a U.S. worker as of July 2018: $22.65.

Estimated number of jobs in the wind and solar energy industries as of 2017: 457,169.

Estimated percentage of the energy Americans used in 2017 that came from wind, solar, hydropower and biomass: 11.3.

Estimated percentage of the energy Americans used in 2017 that came from fossil fuels: 80.

Percentage of the energy mix in the Green New Deal resolution that would come from fossil fuels: Zero.

Number of years the resolution proposes for achieving that goal: 10.

Number of centuries fossil fuels have dominated U.S. energy consumption: Just over one.

Percent by which natural gas production is expected to rise in 2019, projected to be the highest year on record: 8.

Projected annual cost of climate change to the U.S. economy by 2100, if temperatures increase by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more: $500 billion.

Projected cost of climate change-related infrastructure and coastal real estate damage in the U.S., if temperatures increase by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more: $1 trillion.

SOURCE

Bill McKibben: Climate Change Is Scary—Not the Green New Deal

It’s very clear that conservatives have one plan for dealing with the popularity of the Green New Deal: scaring the hell out of people.

AOC.jpg

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey announce Green New Deal legislation in Washington on February 7, 2019. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Myron Ebell of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, the man who led the drive to pull America out of the Paris climate accords, said the other day that the Green New Deal was a “back-to-the-dark-ages manifesto.” That’s language worth thinking about, coming from perhaps the Right’s most influential spokesman on climate change.

Ebell’s complaint (and that of the rest of the Right) is that the set of proposals to address climate change and economic inequality put forth last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey would do too much, and cost too much. Indeed, he describes the Green New Deal this way: “It calls for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, ‘upgrading all existing buildings’, and replacing our vehicle fleet with electric cars and more mass transit. And turning our energy economy upside down must be accomplished while ending historic income inequities and oppression of disadvantaged groups.” All of which sounds good not just to me, but to most people: Polling for the Green New Deal is through the roof, especially among young people so ably organized by the Sunrise Movement.

But even if ending historic oppression doesn’t catch your fancy, it’s not a return to the Dark Ages. A return to the Dark Ages is what happened in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit: Survivors dying in the convention center of a modern American city, locals organizing a makeshift “navy” to try to pluck people from rooftops after levees collapsed. MORE

Nature’s Rights Put to Vote in City ‘Fed Up’ With Poisoned Water

Algal Blooms Continue to Threaten Lake Erie Ecosystem

In two weeks the citizens of Toledo, Ohio, will go to the polls and decide whether to pass a legally dubious “Lake Erie Bill of Rights” to give residents the ability to sue farmers on behalf of algal-bloom-threatened Lake Erie.

Environmentalists say the novel city charter amendment will give citizens the power to do what Ohio politicians are afraid to do: take polluters to court and fight back against algal blooms that poisoned Toledo drinking water in 2013 and 2014.

The Feb. 26 vote from America’s industrial center, which largely went for President Donald Trump (R) in 2016, comes at a time when Democrat coalitions are coalescing around a Green New Deal in Congress.

But the move to endow natural resources with special “community rights” to sue has sunk everywhere else such laws were passed in the United States, and the activists behind Toledo’s move know they have precarious legal footing. MORE

THE BATTLE LINES HAVE BEEN DRAWN ON THE GREEN NEW DEAL

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks alongside Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) at a news conference about the Green New Deal, in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. The measure, drafted by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey, calls for a sweeping environmental and economic mobilization that would make the United States carbon neutral by 2030. (Pete Marovich/The New York Times)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks alongside Sen. Ed Markey at a news conference about the Green New Deal, in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. Photo: Pete Marovich/Redux

“I REALLY DON’T like their policies of taking away your car, taking away your airplane flights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ or ‘you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!’”

So bellowed President Donald Trump in El Paso, Texas, his first campaign-style salvo against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey’s Green New Deal resolution. There will surely be many more.

It’s worth marking the moment. Because those could be the famous last words of a one-term president, having wildly underestimated the public appetite for transformative action on the triple crises of our time: imminent ecological unraveling, gaping economic inequality (including the racial and gender wealth divide), and surging white supremacy. MORE