I got a kick out of Walt Giacomini’s cud-vs-fart “My Word” piece (“Fans of the Green New Deal failing to ask the right questions,” Times-Standard, March 20, Page A4), imagining it as a “Saturday Night Live” monologue ridiculing the fabricated idea that ecological policy proposals were going to eliminate all cattle, cars, cooking, and comfort. However, I was left unsure whether Walt was being serious.
Since satire is so often misunderstood, I realized an explanation of the current Green New Deal is needed. Turning first to an easily comprehensible source, Wikipedia, I read that the proposal currently before Congress is a 14-page work-in-progress. It would support beginning a 10-year program of urgently needed projects and modifications of industrial and transportation practices to bring us farther along toward goals of full(er) employment with quality, sustainable jobs; clean and renewable power; and continuing improvement in building, manufacturing, and transportation efficiency.
These trends are already progressing. Our homes are better insulated, and appliances, from furnaces to refrigerators, are more efficient. Our conservation efforts have resulted in excess generating capacity and cancellation of planned power plants. Shutting down unneeded but still operating coal and natural gas production will improve both our air quality and our bottom line. Some states and cities in the U.S., as well as countries such as Norway, China, India, France, Britain, and others, have already set requirements for transition to all-electric vehicles before mid-century. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other scientists say we have only 12 years or less to effect real changes.
Progress we have already witnessed gives us hope that we can slow, if not halt or reverse, the thawing of the poles and the rising of the sea. It’s obvious that major, heroic efforts are now required. Hence the allusion to the New Deal.
The New Deal of 1933-36 created useful work that resulted in lasting creations and revitalization of the U.S. economy and spirit. One doesn’t have to drive far to see, and benefit from, a bridge, or a retaining wall, or a mural from the New Deal.
Similar to the New Deal, the Green New Deal states broad aims with room to innovate and experiment, trying and refining programs that work well and replacing those that don’t.
Example: Years ago carbon trading was implemented to curb greenhouse gasses. It has failed, but we now understand the need for substantial fees to transfer payments from polluting corporations to citizens to offset their costs during this transition to sustainable energy. We must remain flexible and aware of consequences while enacting measures to protect our world.
Another similarity between FDR’s New Deal and the Green New Deal may turn out to be a split in the Republican Party between those who recognized the value and necessity of action and those dead-set against any collective or government projects.
As for cows farting or re-chewing their cud, here’s the section of House Resolution 109/Senate Resolution 59 that relates to ranching and farming:
“(G) working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including—
“(i) by supporting family farming;
“(ii) by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and
“(iii) by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food;”
Let’s do it.
Chip Sharpe resides in Bayside.