Climate change affects everyone, but it does not affect everyone the same way. It hammers a capitalist world rampant with inequality and exploitation. This is the case because capitalism neither exploits nor develops evenly. Some nation-states are centers for accumulating wealth and development. Some nation-states are peripheries, and are underdeveloped. Development and underdevelopment are two sides of the same process: accumulation on a world scale. Climate change, in turn, is a human-made process, a product and accelerator of uneven accumulation. Because it is human-made, some states (as well as some within those states) are more responsible than others. And the very poorest simply bear no culpability at all.
Green New Deal
The Green New Deal proposal is one of the only effective, broadly recognized pathways to tackle the climate crisis and address its social and economic consequences. It is technologically possible and economically sustainable. Yet although the Green New Deal project is already under way in some shape or form in various states, it has yet to be scaled up to the national level. In fact, climate policy as a whole has been stalled in Congress, and the Biden administration has so far engaged more in symbolic gestures than in living policy processes. With time quickly running out to prevent a greenhouse apocalypse, activists need to reorganize and unite efforts to build massive public support and political will for climate action.
Dover, DE - A coalition of progressives and environmental groups are challenging lawmakers to sign on to a set of green New Year’s resolutions to kick off the 2022 session. Says participant Phillip Bannowsky, “this is a way to separate the committed from the compromised.” The activists claim in their text that confronting the climate crisis “has been impeded by the short-sighted interests of powerful economic players.” Specifically, they call for a Green Amendment to the Delaware Constitution and support current legislation in the pipeline, including HB 259, requiring an emergency alert system to inform citizens when disasters like Croda’s November 25, 2018, toxic leak erupted, which injured workers at their Atlas Point plant as well as neighbors and motorists on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
The Green New Deal is a visionary program to protect the earth’s climate while creating good jobs, reducing injustice, and eliminating poverty. Its core principle is to use the necessity for climate protection as a basis for realizing full employment and social justice. The Green New Deal first emerged as a proposal for national legislation, and the struggle to embody it in national legislation is ongoing. But there has also emerged a little-noticed wave of initiatives from community groups, unions, city and state governments, tribes, and other non-federal institutions designed to contribute to the climate protection and social justice goals of the Green New Deal. We will call these the Green New Deal from Below (GNDfB).
With U.N. climate conference (COP26) set for next month in Glasgow, the estimated 70,000 or more people who took part in the march offered a dramatic show of force for the nation's climate movement. Zanna Vanrenterghem of Greenpeace Belgium told The Brussels Times on Sunday that her government's climate pledges so far "are not ambitious enough," but that words are no longer enough. "It is one thing to talk about climate," she said, "and another to take concrete action.” Ahead of the march, Vanrenterghem said the message from the Klimaatcoalitie (Climate Coalition), which she co-chairs and that organized the march, was a simple one: "We demand ambitious, solidarity-based and coherent measures. We need a Belgian Green New Deal and we propose more than 100 concrete solutions to make it happen.”
The median person in the US consumes 44 million calories per day. The human body requires intake of 2 thousand calories per day. Exo-somatic consumption of energy – for non-metabolic purposes, such as transport or appliances – of the average citizen of the North is several hundred times larger than that of a poor citizen of the South. But even endosomatic consumption of energy – bodily calorie intake – is substantially less in the South. Hunger and undernourishment are still a reality for one-seventh of the planet’s human population. But working households in the North are not to blame for these differences; bio-ignorant capitalism is to blame. And these households are suffering its effects, too.
As the impacts of climate change and Covid-19 compound, politicians from around the world on Monday July 19th launched the new Global Alliance for a Green New Deal (GGND). Founded by Rep. Ilhan Omar of the United States, Dep. Joenia Wapichana of Brazil, and Manon Aubry of France among others, the Alliance aims to advance global momentum for collaborative and transformational social, economic and environmental policy.
The Green New Deal has become a popular slogan among progressive Democrats in recent years. But we need to be wary of the capitalist class co-opting the energy around climate change to maintain the imperialist global order they benefit from. To discuss this and more, Rania Khalek is joined by Max Ajl, a post doc at Wageningen University and a researcher with the Tunisian Observatory for Food Sovereignty and, relevant to this discussion, he is the author of the new book “A People’s Green New Deal” published by Pluto Press.
The southeastern United States sees more billion-dollar disasters than any other region in the country. The region also sees more different kinds of natural disasters than other parts of the country. In 2020, six billion-dollar hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast, tornado events caused 76 fatalities and torrential rainfall, up 30% since the 1950s, caused severe flooding. And climate change is making everything worse by turning up the dial of intensity on the region’s existing environmental and social vulnerabilities. If, for example, flooding was a problem historically, climate change will make it endemic. If environmental racism already puts stress on people of color, climate change will make the burden even heavier. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Science, some U.S. counties could lose as much as 20% of their annual GDP as a result of damage from unmitigated climate change.
In his new book, A People’s Green New Deal, Max Ajl presents a sweeping, often damning, appraisal of the Global North’s limited attempts to mitigate and adapt to global heating. Eco-nationalism, eco-modernism, green social democracy and democratic socialist iterations of the Green New Deal all come under scrutiny and all are found wanting. Each in their own way, Max argues, are too attached to what Ulrich Brand and Markus Wissen call “the imperial mode of living.” A way of life predicated on the subordination of the Global South to the needs, wants and desires of the Global North. And each, in their own way, denies the sheer scale of the social and economic crisis that confronts us. In response, Max turns to the struggles of the Global South.
With its contracts expiring in 2022, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers is stepping up the fight for its own vision of the post office of the future. It’s a model for exactly the kind of Green New Deal campaign that U.S. unions should be launching now for a post-Covid economic recovery. For several years, CUPW and its allies have proposed a visionary plan called Delivering Community Power. It advances a big but simple idea: take Canada Post, an institution that’s already publicly owned and embedded in communities, and reinvent it to drive a just transition into a post-carbon economy. The post office would help to jump-start green vehicle production and infrastructure; it would provide free Internet access for all; it would create a nationwide system of public banking.
And today we are going to talk about Chile’s elections. This May there were municipal elections and constituent elections, to write a new constitution, because today Chile still has a Pinochet-era constitution, which was written in the time of the military dictatorship, of Augusto Pinochet.
Today, as President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill is debated in Congress, it’s worth recalling that this isn’t the first time the US has faced an infrastructure deficit. “By the 1930s nearly 90 percent of US urban dwellers had electricity, but 90 percent of rural homes were without power. Investor-owned utilities often denied service to rural areas, citing high development costs and low profit margins,” recalls one account. The policy response: rural electric cooperatives (RECs). In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 7037, establishing the Rural Electrification Administration—today’s Rural Utility Service (RUS)—which provided low-cost loans to co-ops to wire rural America; by 1953, 90 percent of rural Americans had power.
The Green New Deal has attracted perhaps the greatest attention of any proposal for decades. It would guarantee Medicare-for-All, Housing-for-All, student loan forgiveness and propose the largest economic growth in human history to address unemployment and climate change. But the last of these hits a stumbling block. Creation of all forms of energy contributes to the destruction of nature and human life. It is possible to increase the global quality of life at the same time as we reduce the use of fossil fuels and other sources of energy. Therefore, a “deep” GND would focus on energy reduction, otherwise known as energy conservation. Decreasing total energy use is a prerequisite for securing human existence.