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Fri Dec 6, 2019, 02:44 AM

Green New Deal: The Urgent Realism of Radical Change

In just a few centuries, the human footprint on the Earth has devastated other species of plant and animal life, and is on the verge of making the planet uninhabitable for people. The cumulative interaction of assaults on several natural systems has already brought about consequences far more dire than the most pessimistic scenarios of just a decade ago. These include ice caps shrinking, oceans rising,

melting permafrost releasing more CO2 and methane, heat producing still more heat, and climate extremes creating ever more devastating storms and fires. Despite the Paris commitments, greenhouse gas emissions keep increasing rather than diminishing. Unless a drastic reversal happens, we will soon pass the point of no return. Pessimists believe we are already there. Even if we succeed, daily life will have to be very different, though in many respects it can be better.

In order to avert even worse catastrophes, a number of improbable events will have to break just right. The United States, where Donald Trump revels in removing restraints on carbon production, will need to elect a radically progressive president and a working majority in Congress. That alone will take a miracle of popular organizing, leadership, and common purpose. The president and Congress will then need to undertake the largest economic mobilization of national resources since Franklin Roosevelt’s administration.

A number of people and groups have used the metaphor of a Green New Deal to describe the scale of the needed effort and the large-scale national (now global) solidarity that the New Deal evokes. Our purpose in this special issue of The American Prospect is not to add one more volume to the existing libraries of manifestos and reports, but to demonstrate that an initiative on the scale required is not only urgent but practical. That has to mean practical as policy, as technology, and above all as politics. As we demonstrate in this special report, the needed technologies and strategies exist. The challenge is rallying a national commitment to pursue them. Leadership has to begin in the U.S., because we are both the worst climate offender as well as the one nation capable of spearheading a global reversal.

Read more: https://prospect.org/greennewdeal/the-urgent-realism-of-radical-change/
(American Prospect)

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