Fri – 1/11: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Quote by Margaret Mead.

Action  – No more messing around.

  • Our own goverment has put out an alarming report that climate change will shrink the US economy and kill thousands of Americans.
  • Last October, the UN urged urged all governments to take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid disaster from climate change. They estimate we have about 12 years to solve this.
  • Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, more deadly, and more expensive. Instead of an average of 6 events per year, 2017 had 16 all-time record climate disasters and cost $300 BILLION dollars in direct damages. 2018’s costs haven’t been quantified yet.
  • However, many who haven’t yet been blown out, flooded out or burned out of their homes have trouble believing that climate change is a real issue…for them.
  • So does our “Yeah, but I won’t be here” president and his administration of fossil-fuel lobbyists who remain hell-bent on removing every molecule of oil, gas and coal in a mad rush to claim “Energy dominance” and personal profit over a simmering planet.

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  • Young people have a right to be angry, wondering why their country isn’t making the necessary changes necessary to protect the world they must live in long after the current crop of senior citizens in Congress are dead.

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Minimal script:  I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to pass the Green New Deal, and ask Pelosi to reconfigure the Climate Crisis Committee to be able to issue subpoenas and draft legislation.

Contact
Rep. Julia Brownley: email, (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email. (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com 

Background – What is the Green New Deal, anyway?

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Here are the original three core principles of the GND. (For the longer, more detailed description, go here.) The discussion is on-going.

  • The plan must decarbonize the economy within 12 years.
    • goal is a ‘detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan’ to rapidly transition the country away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy, such as a solar, wind, and electric cars.”
  • The plan must include a federal jobs guarantee and large-scale public investments including:
    • a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one
    • large-scale public investment
    • basic income programs
    • universal health care
    • minimum wages and benefits

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  • The plan must include a just transition.
    • ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm.
      • Ensure that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level and by prioritizing solutions that end the harms faced by front-line communities from climate change and environmental pollution
      • provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition
      • protect and enforce sovereign and land rights of tribal nations.
      • diversify local and regional economies, with a particular focus on communities where the fossil fuel industry holds significant control over the labor market, to ensure workers have the necessary tools, opportunities, and economic assistance to succeed during the energy transition

Top three questions facing the GND

(condensed from this great Vox article)

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How are we going to pay for it?

  • Stop feeding the myths regarding balancing budgets, burdensome taxes, wasteful big government or that we are broke. (Vox)
  • Trillions are obviously available right now for the military and tax breaks for the rich. Senate bill S.1 has $38 billion that we’re handing over to Israel, along with a restriction of our 1st amendment rights.
  • Carbon taxes will play a role, extents still being debated.
  • Raise rates on upper tax brackets back to the level of MAGA days of yore.
  • Apply Modern Monetary Theory and make the money we need. No, seriously. (wapo)(vox)

How are we going to win over the public?

  • Learning to frame the future: The GOP start every political puzzle with a framing question. “How can we make people take our message and make it their own?” Although we’re not in an election right now, people vote with their dollars. Consumers have a lot of power to adjust their spending habits, what they invest in and what their concerns are.
  • Yes, words matter: Those of us who worked on postcard campaigns to voters became versed in language choices that were statistically more effective in spreading our message. “Thanks for being a voter” vs. “Thanks for voting. This works for environmental issues as well.  Data for Progress’s polling found that “green jobs guarantee” outpolls a straight “jobs guarantee”. Positive words like “produce”, “strengthen”, “upgrade”  “provide” and “cleaner” also poll postively.
  • Engage hearts and minds: External incentives to change behavior only work until the incentive ceases. The task is to reframe the voters internal vision of themselves into “green voters”, either by explaining how climate change will directly affect a person’s lifestyle, such as by threatening national security or national parks, or by how their actions make them heroes helping others.
  • Spread the news: Only 3% of the population has heard “a lot” about the GND and only 14% has heard “a little”. That leaves 82% persuadable from either side. And you can be sure that the GOP frame will be very different, focusing on fears that hard-earned money will be given to the unworthy or immigrants who shouldn’t be here, along with the “socialism” scare language that have prevented us from having a reasonable healthcare system, unlike the rest of the developed world.
  • Global Warming is a thing:  Global warming is now recognized by the majority of Americans as a serious problem.
    • 70 percent of Americans recognize global warming is happening;
    • 57 percent understand humans are causing the temperature rise;
    • 85 percent support funding research into renewable energy;
    • 77 percent support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant;
    • 63 percent support requiring utilities to generate one-fifth of their electricity from renewables.

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How are we going to win over our Democratic leaders?

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  • Go big or go home: This may seem like a weird question, but there is no shallow end of the pool in the GND, and our older Democratic politicians are used to careful, incremental progress that keeps their heads above water but just under the radar of the Heritage Foundation critics. They’ve been conflict-averse for a long time, trying to be the adults in a roomful of angry toddlers.
  • Walk away from fossilized money: We need to EXPECT our politicians to refuse contributions from oil, coal and gas industries, not the exception. Some of the GND signers, however,  have personal financial investments in fossil fuel stocks. Unclear how this will be resolved.

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  • Fight the blight: Tell them to fight the fossil fuel industry’s encroachment into our coasts, national parks, wildlife refuges, economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and in any areas that threaten wildlife, air and water quality.
  • Legislate safety: We expect improvements, not rollbacks, in safety regulations, and pollution-capturing technology and higher requirements for disaster insurance and reconstruction of areas used for fuel extraction.
  • Carbon credits count too: Big energy companies have been preparing for carbon pricing to acount for their global liability since at least 2013.
  • Renewable is just the half of it: Not all renewable resources are sustainable. We need our lawmakers to learn how energy production works. A fossil-free world will only happen if we aim towards it.

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  • Feel the inevitability: We need to convince politicians that we have their backs and we expect them to protect ours and those of our families, even into a future we won’t be around for. We didn’t go back to our couches after the election. More than 300 local officials from 40 states signed a letter in support of GND, including a former Mobil Oil executive.  Hundreds of organizations have signed on too, including Indivisible and Indivisible Ventura.
  • It’s a matter of morality: Evan Weber of the the Sunrise Movement says “That’s going to take convincing the American people that this is an absolute moral and economic necessity, and the only thing standing in the way of it happening is the political class.”
  • The young will take over: Sean McElwee of Data for Progress says “The most powerful force known to humans is ideology. Republicans have pushed through radically unpopular policies because of their commitment to ideology. (But today) young people have the ideas that people want to be associated with. We shape ideology and that’s incredibly fucking powerful.”

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What has happened already?

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Activists, led by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suffered an apparent setback in their first Capitol Hill goal—a demand that Speaker Pelosi establish a Select Committee on a Green New Deal tasked with coming up with a climate-and-jobs legislative proposal by the start of 2020.

Instead, Nancy Pelosi chose to reconstitute her former House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which had been axed under GOP rule. The newly-retitled Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has no specific mandate or subpoena powers, only being able to make recommendations for standing committees to adopt, much less ambitious than AOC had wanted. Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, described as a “clean energy champion with a background as an environmental lawyer” who just reintroduced her Florida Coastal Protection Act, will be the chair of a committee formed of nine Democrats and six extremely miffed Republicans.

Although Rep. Castor will no longer personally accept fossil fuel industry contributions, she has stated that she won’t require the same of her committee members, although they  “should be ready to stand up to corporate special interests and fight to reduce carbon pollution.”

She has not signed on to the GND. And neither has Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which does have the power to subpoena and depose, as well as the authority to vote on legislation and send it directly to the House floor for a vote. AOC = not pleased.

Pallone stated that the Energy and Commerce committee will put climate before other major issues within their broad jurisdiction. He disagreed with other Democrats on the necessity of Pelosi’s resurrection of the select panel on climate change, stating that it would just add bureaucracy and that his committee was best positioned to craft bold bills.

Climate protestors organized by the Sunshine Movement stormed Rep. Pallone’s office in November to urge him to support both the GND and commit to refusing donations from the fossil fuel industry. “The ideal of getting towards a carbon-free America is certainly something I agree on,” Pallone told POLITICO after leaving the protests. “How long it takes to do that, how we would get there and the details of the legislation, all that has to be worked out. But the idea is a good one. There’s no disagreement here on the substance.” Pallone has received nearly $100,000 from electric utilities and more than $44,000 from other energy interests, including $30,000 from oil and gas industries. He would not commit to refusing further contributions.

So, two committees, neither headed by a GND signer.

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The original video from Greta Thunberg.

The original video from Stewart Brand

Read/Resources:

  • A Green New Deal (dataforprogress)
  • The Green New Deal Rises again (NYTimes)
  • 626 groups urge congress to phase out fossil fuel and build a green economy (common dreams)
  • Climate Solutions from Day One: 12 Ways Governors Can Lead on Climate Now (environmentamerica)
  • Democratic leaders failed their first big test (commondreams)
  • A guide to David Bernhardt (vox.com)
  • Canadian police block journalists from covering indigenous pipeline protests (nationofchange)
  • Pelosi gets a standing ovation at for speech on climate change (good.is)
  • Your brain stops you from taking climate change seriously (npr)
  • New Congress Members See Climate Solutions and Jobs in a Green New Deal (insideclimatenews)
  • The Green New Deal is really popular – Even Among Republicans (mother jones)
  • Sunrise Movement (sunrisemovement.org)

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