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John Oliver’s piece, in addition to the other two opinion pieces, all lead back to the three I’s we have discussed this semester. Each piece touched upon the “controversies” surrounding the Green New Deal. Evidently, influential news anchors and specific policy makers are stuck in their own ideologies. They believe climate change is not all that problematic and think that some—if not all—changes are unnecessary. John Oliver’s rhetoric stresses how absurd it is for these people to be making these assumptions. The ending of the piece—or Billy Nye’s somewhat explicit demonstration of what will happen if no changes are made—might be exaggerated, but I think points to a very key idea: people need to “wake up” and take the science to heart.

Something in the Federalist piece that I found to be absurd was the comment that the Green New Deal would present “unfathomable societal costs.” My question to that is, what about the costs to society if no change is made? Is the author even aware of those? The proposals in the Green New Deal ensure that its goal to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions would be “a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.” Not to mention, it would bring millions of new jobs. The actions proposed by the Green New Deal are not all that extreme. In fact, they’re justified in comparison to the costs to society if no change is made.


The Green New Deal is clearly very positive, progressive, and important. I think John Oliver discussion of it was very accessible and his humor and satire were perfect for driving certain points home. One point that John touched on that is very important was that the discussions around the Green New Deal are so far from its actual purpose and goals. The fact that right-leaning media outlets have actually tried to turn discussion of the Green New Deal into a discussion about cows farting and airplane travel is down right evil. Yes these are legitimate sources of greenhouse emissions. But these talking points are being used maliciously in order to delegitimize proponents of the deal. The Green New Deal is a bill that sets aggressive targets that, if reached, would absolutely improve and slow climate change. The Green New Deal is also too often written off because "it's not realistic". But that is completely not true. What people who call it unrealistic actually mean is that they don't think its considered important enough to justify changing how everything is done. We have the technology to harness renewable energy and put use it, so we obviously COULD be 100% renewable in the United States. It would obviously cost a lot of time and labor, and in turn money. But saying we are not capable of it is ignorant.

I thought the Stanford article raised a lot of good points on the problems with the Green New Deal. It's important to point out that these are not problems with the bill itself, but more problems that are there because of the country's current political and social climate. I thought and interesting point made was that coupling climate change and poverty in the GND actually hurt its chances. As we've discussed in our class, the GND is right to couple these things because poor ares have to deal with the negative externalities at a disproportionate rate. But its honestly sad that as a 21 year old I have to read an article from Stanford that says coupling climate change and poverty hurt the bills chances because social change is such a polarizing topic. I really hope there aren't actually people out there who think "I want cleaner energy as less emissions but not if it means social change!" I'm sure there are though....

Max Gebauer

It's clear from the debate on the Green New Deal and other climate-related policy that one of the key points of contention is whether a policy based response to climate change should attempt to address social justice problems such as wealth inequality, marginalization of indigenous groups, and access to health care as well. Some, on both sides of the debate, argue that if we were to pursue climate legislation, we should separate the two for pragmatic considerations (combining both might guarantee that all of it fails), a view that "separate" issues should be handled separately, and perhaps the most persuasive, the argument that the timeframe of climate change necessities such immediate, effective action with massive cuts in this very decade to GHG emissions that trying to deal with the multitude of social justice problems at the same time will delay the time frame of the response which will yield exponentially higher costs due to specific nature of the problem. Although this last one is strong, and might even have at its core a serious tension between the two goals, I argue there is some degree of inseparability between the two and that effective response to climate change by definition will bring about better outcomes for people at the heart of these social justice considerations. I think this point is important as it allows one to craft and represent a climate change related piece of policy without adding unpopular sections directly targeting poverty that make passage of the overall legislation nigh on impossible. Improving air quality will disporportionately help marginalized groups, likewise, the readings from Monday show how a facially neutral policy can help the least-advantaged groups at a higher degree. How a piece of policy is presented to the world is incredibly important, a poor choice of words or too much rhetoric concerning a controversial point could be a political death sentence for a bill. Ignorance and Ideology are particularly strong here, and one must be careful in navigating this area as something as innocuous as a joke about farting cows can become fodder for commentators that parody the very bill and exploit this wording to undermine popular support for said bill. If anything, using somewhat politically neutral language (regarding social justice problems) to communicate a policy that actually works at those very problems might be a pragmatic solution to achieve both goals while still navigating the three Is.

Didi Pace

Just like Adam Smith’s invisible hand or Coase’s social cost arguments, AOC’s words are similarly distorted. Readers franticly label AOC as the nut-job who is trying to take away our hamburgers. People cling to these extreme examples derived from twisting the Green New Deal, and disregard the true meanings and implications of the policy.

One of the perceived weaknesses of the Green New Deal is its lack of any concrete means or established plan in which to achieve its goals. However, Cortez was probably purposefully vague. While a single streamline solution to climate change would obviously be ideal, no such thing exists. Achieving the goals outlined in the Green New Deal will require a holistic and multifaceted approach (and some of the technologies involved in this approach may not have even been developed yet!)

Margot McConnell

In the John Oliver video, I thought the most salient point was that when the Green New Deal was implemented, you can see how many different things the media can make out of something without having read the 14 page document. The thing that is so dangerous about media sources sharing facts that are so out of left field is that people actually believe every single word that people are saying on these news stations. Therefore, all the dedicated viewers of Fox News are reading that the Green New Deal means no airplanes and no hamburgers, and they are then taking that information and telling their friends and family. It almost feels like rumors or gossip in a way.
The thing that I continue to find so frustrating about climate change and things like the Green New Deal is that people who are so against reducing carbon and other greenhouse gases clearly do not understand the public health crisis that so many people face from pollution alone. If anything, you can argue that the Green New Deal is trying to improve the public health. Period. I don’t think anyone would argue with trying to improve the health and wellbeing on people in the United States. The issue is that instead the Green New Deal is framed dramatically in a way in which the government is taking away everything from people just to reduce pollution and then further to make people pay more money in taxes to the government.
After Bernie dropped out of the race the other day, I saw a clip from Fox News that was discussing if Biden had a chance against Trump. Trump runs his campaign for re-election by blasting the Green New Deal. When they were describing Biden and what he supports, they immediately discussed the Green New Deal and how Biden was going to lose supporters because of it. I honestly found it funny that they even made that comment. They were framing the Green New Deal as the worst thing that could happen for this country (probably worse than COVID-19 honestly).
This article I found in the Rolling Stone does a great job of showing how there are big initial costs to decarbonizing and switching to more sustainable energy, but the pay offs in the long run are going to be so beneficial for the economy and the environment. It also does a good job of showing how any of the arguments made against the Green New Deal really are just excuses. Additionally, this article discusses a lot of Jacobson’s work at Stanford, which was a big focus of mine in my sustainable development presentation on investing in renewable energy sources. Also, I found an article earlier this semester discussing some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Green New Deal according to energy experts at Stanford including Jacobson. It is definitely interesting and easier to get on board when you hear a scientist at Stanford discussing why the GND can work and is reasonable.

KT Hensler

I thought the Stanford assessment of the Green New Deal was very helpful in understanding the steps to follow a plan so extreme. I found it most interesting to look at the research compilation that Mark Jacobson had provided.
This article particularly stood out to me as it had specifics regarding cities in the United States. Jacobson estimated a Business-as-Usual (BAU) for 53 towns and cities, before the whole sector would be electrified. Then, by using an example set of clean, renewable technology he applies them to the demand for energy… I’m slightly rusty on the understanding of how he did this, but the results are awesome. Wind, water, and solar (WWS) have been shown to keep the demand for energy 100% stable or extremely close. Ultimately, Jacobson estimates resulting energy costs, air pollution costs, climate, and job creation/loss for the WWS versus BAU systems. I picked out Philadelphia, DC, and New York City to see how their end-use load decreased.
Phil: -51.8%
DC: -67.0%
NYC: -47.2%
Two cities in Louisiana (New Orleans and Abita Springs) had a percentage decrease of over 70%.
Jacobson really covered just about everything any one person debating against climate policy and its feasibility needs to know. He even calculated the amount of available roof space for solar panels in each of the 53 cities (NYC has about 115 square km of rooftop suitable for PV panels). All of the hate articles and journalists that are anti-GND are simply stubborn and do not want to believe what the science is telling them. I highly recommend they give any of Mark Jacobson’s research articles a look. (Jacobson et al. 2018)

Natalie Burden

It was crazy to read through the Green New Deal and see how vague it was––intentionally––in describing the problems that needed fixing, and following that reading with the Federalist article. The Federalist article and a number of news sources like those shown in the John Oliver show made such extreme exaggerations of what the Green New Deal was targeting. By twisting the words of the Green New Deal, these sources made the goals sound completely unrealistic and ridiculous and severely belittled the GDN.
It’s so frustrating to see how political polarization has made parties so quick to belittle and destroy the goals of the other party without considering the problems that are being addressed.
I found an article from the Pew Research Center that summarizes succinctly how Democrats and Republicans view climate change. Charts 3, 4, and 5 show how divided the parties are on the topic of climate change. Chart 5 suggests that a person’s political party has more impact than their level of understanding about science on their climate change views:

It’s bad enough that the issue of climate change has become so contested by politics despite a pretty universal agreement within the scientific community. It really doesn’t help to have right-leaning news sources twisting the message of the GDN and other climate initiatives so blatantly and using scare tactics like those in the Federalist article such as government agents coming to take out your water heater. This increases and prolongs the polarization through generations. Although members of the same generations might have more similar opinions on issues such as climate change (see Chart 4), polarization through the media will make it harder for Republicans and Democrats to agree on national and global issues, and will therefore make it more difficult to put initiatives into action on either side.

Sydney Goldstein

What I found most interesting was reading all the articles/watching the John Oliver video all together. Many people act as if the GND is a big scary document that mandates what we do, and controls our lives to an absurd extent. The last article, “The 10 Most Insane Requirements Of The Green New Deal,” ascertains that the GND will ban “affordable” energy such as coal. This is not entirely true, as the document itself cites that there will be an effort to transition off of them ASAP, but there is no mention of an outright ban. Furthermore, coal is only considered affordable because it is so heavily subsidized by the government, if clean energy was subsidized at the rate coal it would be considered affordable as well. Furthermore, in considering cost, the author of this article is only making a case for direct monetary cost rather than including the cost of negative externalities such as environmental damages and public health. If these factors are taken into account clean energy is much more desirable. This author then dives into assertions that are even more ludacris such as eliminating air travel and 99% of cars. Once again, the document makes no mention of a direct ban and says it will, “[overhaul] 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—zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; clean, affordable, and accessible public transit; and high-speed rail…”. This means there will still be cars and airplanes, they will just be greener models--my question to the author of this article is why is he/she so concerning about keeping a carbon emitting car, the purpose of transportation is to get you from one place to another, and if it does that, then it’s serving its purpose. In fact, the document is quite reasonable in acknowledging that these green changes will be made to the point where it is technologically feasible, therefore, making sure transportation will continue to exist and serve its function. It is quite amazing how much the points in the GND have been distorted to the point where it’s absurd. The document is not long or difficult to read, as John Oliver pointed out, it’s 14 pages. Thus, I don’t understand why more people don’t just read it themselves, rather than listen to extremely distorted versions of it. As the Stanford article pointed out, one of the biggest problems that the GND faces is political and social aversion. Jacobson wrote, “The fossil fuel industry has a lot at stake, and they sow doubt and oppose all legislation that will phase them out”. If I had to bet where most of the distortion of the ideas proposed in the GND are coming from is likely leaders in the fossil fuel industry who have everything to lose, so they make AOC and the GND look absurd.

I attempted to do some research on the total monetary cost of the life cycle of coal for reference, but was having trouble finding something completely comprehensive. I did find this website that has a pretty detailed outbreak of cost per short ton as well as transportation costs--which are surprisingly high. It also discusses the price of coal by region and discusses other factors such as how coking coal makes it more expensive.

Nikki Doherty

The Green New Deal certainly has stigma around it; the contention that surrounds the deal seems more talked about than the details of the GND itself! As Oliver’s segment suggests, we must stop promoting “stereotypes” surrounding the GND and start having more intellectual (economic and scientific) conversations about it and about climate change. Oliver suggests that we are killing bills based on stereotypes and stigmas rather than what is contained in the bill. We make surface-level opinions without digging through the bill or the science. The goal is net-zero emissions. It is not stringent requirements that will “gut” America. When reading it, I was surprised that the GND is as non-binding as it is… especially, because media and daily conversations suggest it to be extremely limiting (i.e. Not the hamburgers!). I do see how this lack of detail might be criticized, however, I think that it should be viewed as flexibility which seems necessary given current contention.

I think that Benson is absolutely correct when suggesting that we should reach out to other countries to share and gain knowledge about best practices (Stanford piece). Best practices to me, includes decarbonisation strategies like he suggests, but also collaboration in research as this is a global crisis. How can we get to net-zero emissions? Most importantly, it includes cultural practices to garner public buy-in. How can we get the public to demand net-zero emissions? How do we get people to change their lifestyles?

Also in the Stanford piece, Jackson’s point begets an interesting question—are we setting expectations and pressures too high for the Green New Deal to change our current nation’s poverty (Stanford)? Although I can imagine push back from including this, I do believe we have a duty to prioritize poorer people since they bear the largest burden of climate change. If this policy is aimed at minimizing the consequences of climate change, we cannot turn on backs on the people it hurts most. We can change the rhetoric to be more “bipartisan” by promoting the jobs and disposable income the GND can and will create.

Steven Black

Similar to several of the above posts, I think the most important takeaway from the Green New Deal is how some people can twist the public's perception of the legislation to result in ideas that are so far from the original point of the bill. Politicians and media personalities say outrageous claims such as "They're trying to steal your hamburgers" or associating the Green New Deal with Joseph Stalin to manipulate the masses into opposes a bill that would benefit them. I agree with Rebecca's point that this all leads back to the three I's that we have discussed throughout the semester. Sadly, special interest groups are preying on people's ignorance over the legislation in order to turn public opinion against it and stop any meaningful solutions to climate change from occurring.
I had not read much about the Green New Deal prior to this and was surprised to learn that not only was the bill quite short, but it also did not include any binding policies or regulations. While the bill did not pass through Congress, I believe that it was still a success. The purpose of the bill was to stimulate conversation about climate change and how to solve it, which has definitely been achieved without the bill passing. John Oliver made a good point about how often do we talk about a bill six weeks after it has been shot down in Congress (or even before). I think that this is proof that the bill has been successful in pushing the conversation forward, despite some people's best attempts to discredit it. The necessary next step is to turn the positive conversation into actual concrete actions that can be implemented to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The segment about Canadian's outrage with taxes reminded me about Americans' strong opposition to the estate tax (death tax). Even though the estate tax would inherently benefit 99% of Americans, most people have a strong opposition to someone being taxed twice on their earnings. Studies have shown that even after you explain to people that the estate tax applies to estates worth over $11M, the vast majority of Americans are still opposed to it. This just shows that Americans have strong negative reactions to new taxes (we even revolted over British taxes). For a carbon tax solution to be put in place, I believe we would have to take an approach similar to Canada and can it a "price on pollution" or use a cap and trade approach.

Walker Morris

John Oliver's very vague description of the United Kingdom's success with carbon pricing drew me to conduct further research on it's policy. Carbon emissions are an issue faced by every country across the world, and very few have found an effective solution to reduce their carbon emissions. Interestingly, policies towards carbon reduction in the UK are fairly conventional and have been applied in many other countries. What has made the UK so successful in reducing it's carbon footprint comes down to three factors: objectives, improvisation, and commitment.

First, the UK set a range of different goals regarding pollution, including becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. To ensure that the country reached these goals, they set periodic thresholds to reach before 2050. This approach ensures a gradual transition away from carbon without instantaneously destroying the industry or eliminating the goods that rely on carbon. Establishing a distinct goal, much like the Green New Deal resolutions from 2019 creates a discussion on finding solutions and gives society a clear objective to reach. Next, the UK has faced adversity in it's journey to carbon-neutrality, but it has often responded to this adversity with new policies. For example, during the Great Recession, the EU's cap and trade policy was essentially put on hold as the continent went into a financial crisis. To continue it's efforts against carbon pollution, the UK introduced a price floor on carbon to discourage it's consumption. While price-floors are generally viewed as being very economically inefficient, they actually proved to be fairly effective with a good like carbon. Considering the numerous negative externalities of carbon consumption, the UK decided that it must be reduced at all costs. As seen through the article in John Oliver's video, this has been a success as carbon levels reached their lowest levels since the 19th century. Rather than following the example of other countries and easing it's approach to reaching carbon neutrality, the UK doubled down on it's objectives and introduced new policies to ensure it reached it's energy goals. This reveals the UK's commitment to becoming greener. Rather than creating arbitrary goals that it never intended to reach, the UK created meaningful objectives and carefully implemented a road map to eventually reach these objectives. Thus far, it seems to be working as the country's carbon emissions continue to decrease year after year.

As we have seen throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the United States is not often at the forefront of compromise, something that will be inevitable in the fight against climate change. Furthermore, by withdrawing from agreements like the Paris Accords, and creating no meaningful alternative to the proposals of the Green New Deal, the US continues to avoid the inevitable climate policy decisions that will come over the decade or so. The United Kingdom, a close ally of the US with many cultural similarities has shown commitment to reaching it's climate objectives, the United States should follow it's example and generate a meaningful game plan moving forward. This does not necessarily mean implementing the policies of a "Green New Deal", but it certainly means creating something better than the status quo.

London School of Economics article on British carbon policy:
Article cited in John Oliver's Video:

Noah Gallagher

It's been interesting to see the Green New Deal become solely a conversation about climate change - because there's certainly a lot more wrapped into the resolution. Broad social and labor goals are also in the resolution, yet have been completely forgotten in conversations about the deal. It's not a surprise to me that there was going to be opposition to it, particularly from the fossil fuel industry. This is also of a good example of how political systems can take bits of writing and speech out of context and to the extreme. The fact that Senator McConnell introduced the senate resolution is evidence that he was planning on killing it, quickly. It quickly gained bad press until it was too toxic for Democrats to discuss, despite it not saying what many people were told it did (no, there's not a cow and airplane ban written into it). Every Democrat voted "present", letting it die without a vote in its favor. However, it was never a binding bill, just a list of goals, so while the resolution may have failed, the ideas are still out there, and continue to be discussed. Ultimately, I'm convinced that the Republican party will admit that climate change is human caused and a real problem, but this may take a decade - a decade that we truly need to stem this crisis. Mitigation will be far easier than reversing damages done, and will also cost less in the long run.




Maisie Strawn

1) I really appreciated the Stanford article when Rob Jackson answered the question about the most important reason for the GND with, “Is saving the planet reason enough? I hope so. If not, how about the tens of thousands of Americans who die unnecessarily each year from coal-fired power plants and our vehicles, the two deadliest sources of air pollution in the country?” --- I think this gets to the point I was trying to make in a previous blog entry about how we have an obligation to produce energy and products in a way that doesn’t lead to the premature death of thousands each year.
2) I found the focus on worker’s rights and protections in the language of the GND to be particularly pertinent in light of the coronavirus. Across the political spectrum of my facebook feed I have seen a lot of people sharing articles and expressing concern about how “essential” workers are being treated. I’d like to hope that after this is under control there will be real bipartisan, grassroots energy to protect and empower the American worker.
3) One of the most salient points of the Stanford piece was the assertion that a GND would actually reduce costs substantially. As we have talked about all year, just because fossil fuels are low-priced does not mean they are low-cost: “U.S. consumers will pay only $1 trillion per year in energy costs with the GND, whereas under a fossil fuel system, they will pay $2 trillion per year in energy costs and $600 billion per year in air pollution health costs, and will incur $3.3 trillion per year in global climate costs due to U.S. emissions, for a total economic cost of $5.9 trillion per year”
4) It was really cool that they specifically mentioned support of sustainable, family farming and soil health in the GND. I think that the plight of the American farmer and the fragility and even inefficiency of our food distribution network is also something that the coronavirus situation has brought attention to. I hope that it continues to be focused on in the aftermath. One thing I have been disturbed by is the treatment of our farmworkers during all of this; Trump has suggested cutting the wages of farmworkers (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/492320-trump-admin-looks-to-cut-farmworker-pay-to-help-industry-during-pandemic), and many migrant farmworkers lack any protections of their wages or health https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/04/farmworkers-risk-coronavirus-infection-keep-us-fed/). If our farmworkers start getting sick it will have major consequences on the availability of fresh produce across the country.

Patrick Sullivan

The Green New Deal is obviously a highly contentious proposal as it rightfully should be. I can't imagine any situation in which such drastic changes to our normal human activity would not be met with strong pushback. To insinuate that those that are arguing against this proposal are unreasonable and idiotic is not what will push this over the edge. Wording, as John Oliver explained, is crucial. How you present an idea is critical to how it will be perceived and judged by public figures. Some ideas in the plan, I believe, are clearly more feasible than others and those should be pushed forward. Renewable energy, cleaner travel methods, and infrastructure improvements, these are the ideas that should be seriously pursued. As the proposal went on, it seemed to become less and less about environmental issues, and more about societal ideology that was open for criticism. Obviously the outcome of these ideas would be beneficial to society but I think that packaging by AOC was all wrong. While I highly question the true motivation of AOCs proposal, I think there is no doubt that she rushed this bill out and its lack of concrete ideas is worth being criticized. Just as we criticize the president for stating his ideas without any concrete plan in place sometimes, i think it is fair to put this "proposal" under the same microscope. I agree with a lot of what Noah said in his post as well. This bill was about a lot more than just climate change and was spun by both democrats and republicans to fit some narrative that they were purporting. Obviously there are some helpful ideas within the proposal but the execution of it was questionable to say the least.

Allie Case

I think the vagueness of the Green New Deal is actually beneficial, despite a general criticism being its lack of actual, structured plans. It reminded me a lot of the UN Sustainability Goals (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html). These 17 goals for 2030 are extremely lofty- for example Goal #2 is to end hunger and Goal #6 is for . Now, pessimistically after first reading this, I was critical of the UN's goals because of how unattainable most of them are in a short period of time. But much like the goals of the GND, the point is to start a conversation and put into action some kind of plan, not necessarily have everything laid out beforehand. As the Stanford experts point out, there really isn't time to do that. The vagueness of the GND also allows for flexibility and depth of what issues to tackle in order to limit carbon emissions. This should hopefully engage all of Congress to be interested in this bill- every one has to have some kind of special interest, and the multiple goals of the GND allow multiple options moving forward.

I thought the most interesting question asked in the Stanford article was what the most important/benefits of the GND were...whether intentional or not all three of their answers perfectly matched up with the three persuasive techniques of ethos, pathos, and logos: pointing out how many Americans die every year (pathos), the economic benefits (logos), and the need for more government research in such an urgent matter as climate change (ethos). As for The Federalist article, something like that would usually annoy me for how ridiculous it is. But honestly after reading the Conservative Case for Carbon Taxes earlier in the week, I was reminded that articles like The Federalist don't represent the majority of conservative views- more so it's just meant to spark a reaction.

Matt Condon

Much of the criticism of the Green New Deal that I have heard and read stems from the fact that the GND is very vague about how it intends to accomplish its goals. The bill itself does not prescribe much concrete policy, but rather it outlines targets that we should base our policy around in the near future. I think it’s odd that those who oppose the Green New Deal use the looseness of its language as a way to combat it and hyperbolize it, because if the GND ever gets passed, this same looseness of language could be a strength for Republicans. As of now, many are exaggerating the policy of the GND as we see in the Federalist blog post to incredible extremes that the actual bill does not remotely suggest, but they can do this because they choose to misinterpret the loose language in that way. However, if the Green New Deal does get passed, Republicans would be able to use this loose language to find some compromises in the ways that we go about achieving our climate goals. The language was left intentionally vague so that we may have flexibility in the future on how to achieve goals such as 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources that have no clear solution, and the opposition to the GND choose to use this as a way to misconstrue the goals outlined in the bill to those who haven’t read it instead of using vague language as a way to make compromising, bipartisan progress. At this point, policy to combat climate change is inevitable, and Republicans are using this as a way to just push it further down the road instead of prescribing policy that works for both sides of the aisle.


I think the green new deal, as the legislation is written in the house, is a great piece of legislation, albeit quite wishful and unpractical given our current political environment. I think the biggest issue with it is how extensively it vaults the government into the forefront of investment. Given the current state of the economy this could be viewed as a good thing, but the recovery trajectory will determine that. Personally, I think the government should implement market based policies in order to bring about the sort of rapid transition that is set about. Realistically, as much as we all want, GHG emissions aren’t going to disappear rapidly, but rather in a compounding way. For development economics I wrote my final paper on a carbon tax proposal with a dividend distribution system. I think using market based reforms will provide a fast, efficient, and cost beneficial path to substantially reduce carbon emissions moving forward. Should the government be able to enact legislation like a carbon tax which can somewhat accurately price carbon according to it’s true social cost then the transition to non-carbon based fuels will accelerate accordingly. My proposed carbon tax would distribute the proceeds from the carbon tax back to households on a means tested basis. What’s interesting is that over 2/3 of households would receive a net benefit from this dividend, meaning their incomes are higher despite higher fuel and other costs due to the carbon tax. Revenue from the tax could be used in conjunction with subsidies to renewable energy development and installation, which themselves can be funded from current money allotted to fossil fuel subsidies, to again compound use of renewable energy. The tax would incentivize private industry to innovate within renewable tech as to decrease the MAC and become more efficient and cost effective given the new tax. In turn new jobs related to the renewable sector would be created replacing and then outpacing jobs and job growth in the fossil fuel industry. The biggest thing with the green new deal with regards to climate policy is to get prices right for fossil fuels and renewables. As we have talked extensively in our class government certainly has a large role to play here.


Policy implementation tends to vary greatly from the legislation passed by Congress. The Green New Deal has made ambitious plans; from the time it was created, it set goals and targets which seemed to cover all sections of society and industry. I don't think this vague, ambitious plan differs greatly from much other legislation. It is common for laws to create end goals but provide minimal instruction on how to get there.
The fact that the GND covered a large amount of topics was not necessarily a downfall. The only problem seemed to be that, because the GND had many objectives, critics were able to point out many things that they disagreed with.
One of the most interesting approaches I noticed was how the language of the GND tied natural causes to negative, societal effects. To put a dollar value on the damage or losses definitely grabs the attention of most readers. If this level of waste was being caused by anything other than the climate, it would be addressed immediately. It also seems that the things that are 'bad' in our society are only made worse because of climate change and pollution; this is a very optimistic but broad claim.


Also this is a great viewpoint from what is likely the consensus (even if many are scared to admit it) belief of most conservatives and republicans. https://www.clcouncil.org/media/2017/03/The-Conservative-Case-for-Carbon-Dividends.pdf

Christopher Watt

oops… forgot to do a blog post. Considering the proposals of the Green New Deal in improving the environmental and social wellbeing of US Citizens, as well as providing positive externalities around the world, an important consideration would be the displacement of jobs from individuals in the coal and fossil fuel industry. These individuals are easy to vilify for perpetuating issues related to carbon emissions, and indeed, their interests are largely responsible for the continued subsidization and political will toward the industry which perpetuates major damages to the environment and wellbeing of individuals. But, just like with any policy proposal that could majorly shift industry and take away jobs causes major concern and uncertainty for those groups, causing resistance to change. The Green New Deal’s proposals are vital and needed for the improvement of our planets health in both the short and long term, and protect our economy, human health, and social wellbeing; however it is necessary to consider particularly the needs of those who are so against it, because laying out how those groups will benefit (its obvious, yes, but change is scary for people) through industry shifts from, for example, coal to renewables, may be needed to garner greater political will for a Green New Deal. Whether this comes in the form of a federal job guarantee, training programs to re-skill workers in other energy industries, or another like program, this will shift harms and social burdens onto these individuals, and this needs to be addressed.

Bridget Bartley

While I enjoyed the John Oliver video immensely and actually learned a lot from it, I find it frustrating that comedians are among the only ones taking a true stand defending proposals such as the Green New Deal. I think back to when Taylor Swift told people to go out and register to vote and within hours, let it be causation or correlation, there was a large spike in voter registration numbers. Celebrities all too often refuse to take apolitical stand out of fear of losing fans. It seems as though even politicians themselves haven't done a sufficient job at explaining the TRUTH behind the Green New Deal, and that leads me to wonder, why? Why is it that a comedy show-host is explaining and disputing these things better than anyone else?

Valerie Marshall

Even though the Green New Deal has no specifics on what it will require, opponents are already touting that it is unrealistic and would completely ruin the economy and American way of life. After reading these pieces and our discussion in class, I wanted to further explore what other countries are doing to combat climate change and how their efforts compare to what is being proposed in the Green New Deal. This article from National Geographic had some great global comparisons for the Green New Deal that helped to put criticisms of the deal in perspective https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/02/green-new-deal-learn-international-experience/ . The first main argument against the Green New Deal (and most other plans for switching from fossil fuel to renewable energy) is that it would be too expensive. America has the greatest economy in the world, so if going carbon neutral by 2050 is too expensive and infeasible for us, no other country should be able to achieve this, right? I was surprised to learn that 54 countries so far have committed to net zero emissions (the main goal of the Green New Deal) by 2050. You could write these goals off as unrealistic pipe dreams, but 6 countries have already gotten close to or all the way to 100% renewable electricity, meaning they are well on their way to reaching their 2050 emissions goals. These countries were Albania, Costa Rica, Iceland, Norway, Paraguay, and Tajikistan. Similarly, Morocco and The Gambia have been lauded for their emissions reductions plans as being enough to keep warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Finding this list of countries, only two of which are Western European countries that have wealth anywhere close to the levels of the US, made me wonder how countries with such lower per capita GDPs could achieve such an expensive task of switching to renewable electricity when doing so for the US is constantly labeled as too expensive. I recognize these countries have certain geographical features that may make it easier for them to complete the switch to renewable energy, for example Norway and Costa Rica relied heavily on hydropower, which is estimated to only be able to cover about 4% of the United States’ energy needs. However, they also have far inferior economic resources to the U.S., so while the shift may be more difficult for us, we also have greater resources to achieve this shift. Germany, a country more comparable to the U.S. in its economy and reliance on coal power, has pledged to end coal use by 2038. While this goal does not seem ambitious enough to me for such a strong economy like Germany, it is more ambitious than any of the United States’ plans, and means at the bare minimum we could match Germany in this promise.

Another argument against the Green New Deal is that it is impractical because it suggests shifting to renewable energy in the span of only 10 years. While this is a short period of time, France was able to shift from 10 percent low carbon energy to 65 percent low carbon energy between 1975 and 1985. France was able to do this mostly because they relied on nuclear energy, which the Green New Deal would not allow. This may mean that if the Green New Deal wants to achieve its goals in 10 years it might have to sacrifice its position on nuclear energy. On the other hand, France made this transition in the 70s, and wind and solar energy has greatly improved and become more affordable since then, so a transition to other types of renewable energy may be more feasible now than it was when France made the transition.

The last aspect of the Green New Deal I want to discuss is the transition away from gasoline cars, which many see as more difficult to achieve than renewable electricity. Public transportation is less feasible as a solution in America than other parts of the world because we have less densely populated cities. This means in addition to improved urban planning, the only way America can move away from gasoline cars is with the help of electric cars. This switch however would require electric cars to become affordable to most Americans, which they are currently not, and improved infrastructure to accommodate electric cars. There is hope however for achieving this goal by looking at Norway, where over 50 percent of their cars being sold are plug-in hybrids or 100% electric. How Norway achieved this was through a combination of tax breaks and offering free parking for electric vehicles and placing large taxes on gas and diesel powered cars. These strategies could certainly be applied in America, and personally, being from the DC area, I find offering free parking a very attractive incentive.

While there would certainly be challenges with implementing the Green New Deal, looking around the world shows us that it is not as unreasonable as many critics make it out to be. Considering that America currently has the greatest economy in the world, it seems like now is a better time than ever to make the transitions to renewable energy, and also have the cleanest powered economy in the world.

Adam Harter

What I like about the Green New deal is that it gets me excited to see what clean energy infrastructure the United States will build. When infrastructure is talked about now, it’s about how it is declining all over the nation. The roads, bridges, highways, etc. no longer are a point of pride like they used to be. And when change is attempted, large-scale public projects tend to be “overbudget” and “beyond schedule.” People are getting frustrated with the highway that’s been adding a third lane for five years. Or an example this article gives is a subway station that started renovation and the 70s and did not finish until 2007. And these inefficiencies have real economic effects as the government spends more money than necessary, and the workforce who would use the bridge is not able to get to work as fast. The leading cause of these costs and delays is the inconsistent funding from the government. This lack of funding leads to projects to stopping and starting, and general confusion on what truly needs to be done. In the article, it says the Green New Deal solves this problem with consistent, predictable funding. And this is what gets me excited. Because with consistent funding that is spent in the right places, the U.S. could transform itself in just a few years while providing jobs along the way.


Lauren Paolano

In this NBC article, Democrats protest McConnell’s ‘sham vote’ to pass the Green New Deal Plan. The climate proposal failed to be advanced by senate because “some republicans, including President Trump believe the plan is a winning issue for the GOP going into the election cycle.”

The Green New Deal is an emergency for students and the youth. Politicians started to become aware of this attention it has brought to the young vote. The possibilities of American ingenuity that will come with the Green New Deal is exciting and promising for our future. The Green New Deal is a framework and has the opportunity to allow more discussions involving both political parties to hopefully come to an agreement in the near future.

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated, “It could be a part o a larger solution, but no one has actually had scoped out what the larger solution would entail. And so that’s really what we’re trying to accomplish with the Green New Deal.”

With multiple climate issues going on in the world around us, it has been difficult to bring these extreme issues to the forefront of people’s minds. By setting up this broad proposal that could solve many climate issues and prevent future global warming impacts, made people start talking about the issues more and even was brought to the youth. Thousands of students missed school to protest for the Green New Deal, showing how involved and worried they are about the future of the world if we don’t start making some crucial changes to our consuming behavior.

Here’s the NBC link:

An interesting video: blob:https://www.nbcnews.com/a02f7363-758c-4311-a609-6568049e5125


AOC shocked the political sphere with her proposal of the Green New Deal. “Disrupting the Dirty Economy: A Progressive Case for a Carbon Dividend” by Mark Paul and Anders Fremstad described the legislation in question as follows, “If we are to truly take scientists seriously and tackle global warming, a comprehensive suite of legislation, such as a Green New Deal is in order. “ The Green New Deal is seemingly all encompassing addressing multiple equity issues at once, yet some groups feel that this deters the work from a clear main goal. With recent conversations we have had in our ‘class’ discussions the solution to sustainable growth includes addressing issues not only in energy production but also in equitable consumption. The GND prioritizes job security and economic prosperity within all America with a transition to renewables, in addition to providing equal opportunity to “frontline and vulnerable communities.”
The most moving statistic in the Stanford opinion piece highlighted the immediate public benefit such a transition would invoke, “ Such a transition will eliminate 62,000 air pollution deaths per year in the U.S, saving taxpayers $600 billion a year. That being said, “providing all people of the United States with high-quality health care” as the GND suggests would be easier if we were not actively and increasingly polluting our air ways and suspending legislation that assists in regulation enforcement.

The Federalist piece seems to be the media John Oliver mocks in his presentation. Polarizing a green future is counterintuitive. The only stable direction to take is to either a)make sustainability a bipartisan issue or b) present the facts to appeal to either side's priorities (the latter being a more labor-intensive process) we will not achieve the level of action we need. The entire point of environmentalism is to convince everyone involved that we all must take measures toward a common good.

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