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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Written Response To Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez On "The Green New Deal"


A Response To Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)
Re:  Green New Deal

Representative Ocasio-Cortez:

This is a reply to the House Resolution H.Res 109 (a.k.a. “Green New Deal” or “GND”) as introduced into the House on 7 February, 2019.  While I believe that your intentions are likely genuine, there are several areas that should be given serious consideration by both yourself as the primary author, and by Congress as a whole (including the Senate that has a similar item filed in that chamber that echoes your resolution).

As you know, the items you propose are big-ticket items;  implementing the GND will be one that has no equal in terms of spending or mobilization.  That said, it would be prudent to review the key areas that likely will be in contention as well as items that require expert review, testimony, scholarly paper review, as well as economic analysis.  These areas will be discussed following each area of H.Res 109 where there will likely be questions and will be presented in red text in parenthesis.  To wit:

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal

  • Whereas the October 2018 report entitled “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ÂșC” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment report found that—
    (1) human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century; 
    (this begins the basis for the GND, however, the assertion is that humans are responsible for global warming solely, ignoring the scientific fact that our planet is in the waning stages of a well-documented ice age, and as such, warming trends are expected based on scientific evidence that such warming patterns have occurred naturally in the past over several million years.  Obviously, humans could not have been responsible for any of the several prior episodes where the earth has warmed to the point of ice cap dissipation, yet, that is exactly what has occurred based upon fossil data and carbon dating processes.  To state that humans are responsible for the current warming trend would be to ignore science writ large, and to ignore the key fact that the earth routinely over periods of thousands of years warms to the point where ice caps dissipate, followed by an extended period of cooling reforming polar ice caps or other ares of large ice formations)
    (2) a changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure; 
    (According to NOAA and other scientific based communities, there is not enough data to substantiate the claim that global warming is in fact causing increased wildfires, severe storms, droughts or other extreme weather events.  Additionally, there are several areas within NOAA’s website that actually prove the antithesis to the claim made here in the GND;  there are actually is not an increase in severe weather, including hurricanes as compared to any previous recorded periods in history.  This claim is factually incorrect.)
    (3) global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond preindustrialized levels will cause—
    (A) mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change;
    (B) more than $500,000,000,000 in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year 2100;
    (C) wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019;
    (D) a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth;
    (E) more than 350,000,000 more people to be exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050; and
    (F) a risk of damage to $1,000,000,000,000 of public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the United States;
    (Items 3A-3F are all speculative in nature, lack scientific foundation and/or evidence based scientific studies proving those merits, or, are at best, a guess at what may occur, if it occurs at all, and if to the extent humans are responsible, anything could be done to correct.  The claims made in this section appear to be based off IPAA consortium data, however, this is not the only scientific community studying global temperature anomalies and are far from the definitive voice of this issue.) and
    (4) global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, which will require—
    (A) global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and
    (B) net-zero global emissions by 2050;
    (Response for this item is substantial the same as for sections 3A-3F)
  • Whereas, because the United States has historically been responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions, having emitted 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions through 2014, and has a high technological capacity, the United States must take a leading role in reducing emissions through economic transformation; (The assertion made here is that America is a leading polluter of earth’s atmosphere, however, you follow it with the contradiction that the United States is only responsible for 20% of global greenhouse gas, which would mean that 80% of all greenhouse gasses are created by nation states that are NOT the United States.  That also assumes that 20% is accurate, and, as you know, the United States between 2014-2018 has taken even more strict measures to reduce greenhouse gas.  Therefore, the 20% figure is likely artificially inflated.  The United States is likely responsible for significantly less than 20% of all greenhouse gasses produced, and as such, the argument can easily be made that the United States is not the country that should be responsible for leading the global warming charge.  That endeavor should be led by nations that produce the other 80%).
  • Whereas the United States is currently experiencing several related crises, with—
    (1) life expectancy declining while basic needs, such as clean air, clean water, healthy food, and adequate health care, housing, transportation, and education, are inaccessible to a significant portion of the United States population;
    (While this is a Resolution and not a White Paper on the GND, this statement gives the public the impression that the United States is lacking basic needs such as clean air, water, food, health care, housing, transportation and education.  This is obviously patently untrue.  There are specific ares where some of those issues could be improved, however, to make a blanket statement that the United States is deficient in any or all of those areas, would be a gross exaggeration and is disingenuous.  Additionally, a common tactic is being utilized here which is to lump one issue into multiple issues where the issues are nearly or completely unrelated.  Solving for the issue of “global warming” has absolutely nothing to do with access to our education systems or healthcare.  Using pork barrel tactics to push through multiple agenda items into one resolution is not one that should be tolerated when the cost of doing so is in the trillions of dollars range and will have long-term ramifications for every citizen of the United States for multiple generations.)
    (2) a 4-decade trend of wage stagnation, deindustrialization, and antilabor policies that has led to—
    (A) hourly wages overall stagnating since the 1970s despite increased worker productivity;
    (B) the third-worst level of socioeconomic mobility in the developed world before the Great Recession;
    (C) the erosion of the earning and bargaining power of workers in the United States; and
    (D) inadequate resources for public sector workers to confront the challenges of climate change at local, State, and Federal levels;
    (This particular item is unclear;  why would public sector workers be at a disadvantage to confront the challenges of climate change?  If the United States government plans to fund initiatives to correct climate change, then there should be no barriers of public workers to perform this function.  Again, this has the appearance of attempting to log jam multiple unrelated items into one resolution and/or Bill with the sole intent of changing the socio-economic status of certain members of our citizenry at the expense of others) and
    (3) the greatest income inequality since the 1920s, with—
    (A) the top 1 percent of earners accruing 91 percent of gains in the first few years of economic recovery after the Great Recession;
    (B) a large racial wealth divide amounting to a difference of 20 times more wealth between the average white family and the average black family;
    (This item is racially charged to indicate that all caucasian persons in the United States are automatically and systematically wealthier merely because of their integumentary system pigmentation.  The assertion being made is patently false, and in making such a claim, there is a concerted effort by the author of the resolution to either enhance racial tensions that may exist, or, is ignoring sociological facts that not all caucasians are wealthier, healthier or happier than their black or other skin toned country men and women.  The analysis being applied to make the argument that there is a wealth divide 20x greater in favor of caucasians over other ethnicities is using a very small number of super wealthy individuals that may in fact be caucasian, however, that is an inappropriate use of statistical data.  The vast number of caucasians, meaning most, are within the margin of error of all other ethnicities nationwide;  there are a substantial amount of caucasian homeless, impoverished and underserved in the United States.  This entire claim is dangerous as stated and requires a complete explanation of how and why this claim was ever made) and
    (C) a gender earnings gap that results in women earning approximately 80 percent as much as men, at the median;
  • Whereas climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, regional, social, environmental, and economic injustices (referred to in this preamble as “systemic injustices”) by disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this preamble as “frontline and vulnerable communities”)  (This entire statement is patently false, it is not backed by any scientific or sociological data, and it hyperbolic in its very nature, again, aimed at either creating or purposefully exacerbating any latent racial tensions.  There is no scientific data sets that indicate slight increases in temperatures now, or in the future, will have any effect at all on any “systemic racial, regional, social, environmental and economic injustices.”  Again this is an attempt to marry completely disjointed issues into one when there is no possible way to husbandry those issues.  In addition, the author, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, has by the very nature of this statement singled out middle-aged caucasian male citizens of the United States as the root cause for all issues listed in this item and previously.  Of course, this too is patently false, racially charged and done so without scientific or sociologic standing);
  • Whereas, climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States—
    (1) by impacting the economic, environmental, and social stability of countries and communities around the world; and
    (2) by acting as a threat multiplier;
  • Whereas the Federal Government-led mobilizations during World War II and the New Deal created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen, but many members of frontline and vulnerable communities were excluded from many of the economic and societal benefits of those mobilizations; and
  • Whereas the House of Representatives recognizes that a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era is a historic opportunity—
    (1) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States;
    (2) to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; and
    (3) to counteract systemic injustices:
    (This section of the preamble to the GND is designed to lay out the terms for a “reset” of the United States, in its socio-economic systems, as well as for making sreparations of prior injustices of indigenous and/or African Americans who wrongfully suffered injustices during the slavery era.  If the author Ocasio-Cortez wishes to seek financial reparations for either subset of United States citizenry, her intentions of such should be made very clear, unambiguous and spelled out who would be covered for such reparations, as well as the reasons why, taking into account any and all prior reparations, agreements and treaties that the United States government and its people have already entered into and/or have made payments on) Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—
(1) it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal
(A) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;
(B) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;
(C) to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;
(D) to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—
(i) clean air and water;
(ii) climate and community resiliency;
(iii) healthy food;
(iv) access to nature; and
(v) a sustainable environment; and
(E) to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as “frontline and vulnerable communities”) (Item E, as in prior sections above, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, has by the very nature of this statement singled out middle-aged caucasian male citizens of the United States as the root cause for all issues listed in this item and previously.  Of course, this too is patently false, racially charged and done so without scientific or sociologic standing);
(2) the goals described in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1) (referred to in this resolution as the “Green New Deal goals”) should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization (referred to in this resolution as the “Green New Deal mobilization”) that will require the following goals and projects—
(A) building resiliency against climate change-related disasters, such as extreme weather, including by leveraging funding and providing investments for community-defined projects and strategies;
(B) repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including—
(i) by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible;
(ii) by guaranteeing universal access to clean water;
(iii) by reducing the risks posed by climate impacts; and
(iv) by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change (Not every infrastructure spending bill considered by Congress will need to, nor should, address climate change.  This is likely to create gridlock or stalling of bills within Congressional committees longer than necessary adding additional necessary layers of government bureaucracy where none is warranted);
(C) meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including—(This item implies incorrectly that all power needs can be met by 100% renewable energy sources 100% of the time without exception.  Lacking any new technology that does not yet exist, this is a lofty goal with no measurable milestones that can be achieved reasonably, and at worst, creates an open-ticket scenario that ensures government grants be repeatedly and perpetually assigned without end-dates or goals, and would ensnare United State taxpayers into a situation of increased taxes for no appreciable return on investment (ROI).  Barring any legislation that would restrict perpetual grant assignments to entities that may never be able to achieve the goal of 100% renewable energy production, this statement should give all Americans serious pause)
(i) by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources; and
(ii) by deploying new capacity;
(D) building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and “smart” power grids, and ensuring affordable access to electricity;
(E) upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification; (This portion of the resolution seems to indicate that the author, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is aware of, and accepts, that this clause aloe would require the upgrading of 30,000 homes and/or commercial structures per day, every day, for at least ten years to become compliant.  In searching both liberal-based and conservative-based news outlets, the consensus by their respective media experts is that this is not a realistic nor achievable goal and the author, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez does not provide any insight as to how she arrived at this action-item, as well as how to fund such an endeavor, as well as who would perform such work on an ongoing basis, at such a rate as to be deemed impossible by industry experts, excluding economic experts which are balking at the costs alone)
(F) spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry;
(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 (The major greenhouse gas produced by the agriculture sector is methane, as a by-product of bovine ingestion processes.  Finding a way to eliminate flatulence entirely from cattle and other livestock in a humane and ethical manner is not provided by the author, and yet, it appears that this action-item is directed at methane-reduction without any modality for doing so.  It is inappropriate to imply that farmers and/or ranchers would be facing increased regulations or legislation to inhumanely induce gastro-intestinal modalities that alters the natural processes of livestock or other animals simply to reduce one particular naturally occurring gas which also occurs in large amounts all around the planet as a result of volcano venting, ocean floor venting or other lakebed, water, soil, ice, or bedrock venting of methane gas) ;
(H) overhauling 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—
(i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;
(ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transit; and
(iii) high-speed rail (It is unclear if the author on this item is implying that high-speed rail would be utilized in addition to, or a replacement for other transportation modalities such as airline travel, ship travel, automobile travel or trucking.  It would help the United States public to know the intention behind many of these items as they are over-generalized and can lead down never ending paths or unintended paths for which the negative outcomes may not be anticipated or adequately prepared for in advance);
(I) mitigating and managing the long-term adverse health, economic, and other effects of pollution and climate change, including by providing funding for community-defined projects and strategies;
(J) removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as land preservation and afforestation;
(K) restoring and protecting threatened, endangered, and fragile ecosystems through locally appropriate and science-based projects that enhance biodiversity and support climate resiliency;
(L) cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites, ensuring economic development and sustainability on those sites;
(M) identifying other emission and pollution sources and creating solutions to remove them; and
(N) promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding, and services, with the aim of making the United States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal (This item has the implication that the United States will be, or currently is in the position to make demands upon other nation states to comply with our efforts or desires.  There is no mechanism in place that can force another nation state to comply with our political goals against their will outside of war.  If it is the intention to roll out any GND without prior consent and approval by every other nation state that inhabits planet earth, with a written guarantee that every other nation will comply with any such agreement perpetually so long as the United States has a GND in place, would be both naive and premature.  We all are aware that several nation states do not now, nor historically have complied with the will of the United States, including, but not limited to Russia, North Korea, China, India, Pakistan, Libya, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, UAE, Qatar, Palestine, as well as several nation states in South America as well as Africa.  To believe that the United States can effectively require its citizenry to comply with and pay for extreme changes to infrastructure and a reset of its socio-economic system while other nation states remain free to do whatever they like at any given time is a dangerous proposition.  The only way to enforce compliance with a United States GND is via use of force when diplomatic endeavors fail):
(3) a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; (This item appears to be purposely omitting one class of United States citizen based merely on skin color and as such is racially charge and will ultimately be deemed illegal and against United States Civil Rights / discrimination against caucasian middle aged males) and
(4) to achieve the Green New Deal goals and mobilization, a Green New Deal will require the following goals and projects—
(A) providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization (This action item is overly broad, obtuse and not well-defined.  Therefore, it appears to be of unlimited scope and construction and essentially may have multiple unseen costs for which American taxpayers will bear the brunt of the price tag vis-a-vis taxation.  In fact throughout this resolution, there is limited discussion of how any of the agenda items would ever be paid for, under what time frame and under what circumstances.  Additionally, it is unclear what penalties would exist for non-compliance and this needs to be stated up-front before ANY Representative or Senator attempts to pass this as binding legislation);
(B) ensuring that the Federal Government takes into account the complete environmental and social costs and impacts of emissions through—
(i) existing laws;
(ii) new policies and programs; and
(iii) ensuring that frontline and vulnerable communities shall not be adversely affected;
(C) providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so that all people of the United States may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization (Again, we see a new action-item introduced, this time in the form of a free high school and college education.  The focus of this free education is by design and in letter for the benefit of every class of citizenry within the United States, other than caucasian males as outlined in the preamble of the GND.  This is illegal, unethical and exposes the racial bias and nature of the GND);
(D) making public investments in the research and development of new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries;
(E) directing investments to spur economic development, deepen and diversify industry and business in local and regional economies, and build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities, and deindustrialized communities, that may otherwise struggle with the transition away from greenhouse gas intensive industries (The author of this resolution, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez fails to explain how she arrived at a correlation between diversity in the workplace and greenhouse gas reduction.  Why would a diverse work environment result in decreased greenhouse gas production?  Failing to illustrate clearly the how and why of stated action-items leads logical thinking people to question the motive and intent of the GND.  Attaching non-sensical / non-related items together for the sole purpose of extorting cash from one class of citizenry to another is illegal, racially charged and would otherwise be considered embezzlement) ;
(F) ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level (Again, the author of this resolution makes a specific statement that all classes of citizens in the United States other than middle aged caucasian males would be in leadership roles for implementing the GND.  This is knowingly exclusionary, discriminatory, and is on its face, illegal and in violation of US Civil Liberties and other Constitutional protection) ;
(G) ensuring that the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hires local workers, offers training and advancement opportunities, and guarantees wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition (With the exception of very few specific areas, it is not within the scope and/or purpose of the United States government to establish, encourage or promote the creation of labor unions for United States citizens and is against the concept of capitalism and our free market economic systems.  There is no need for the US government to establish union shops for any class of employee and it should stay the course of ensuring equal protection under the law as currently written for employees in furtherance of Civil Rights, discrimination and ADA laws, etc.);
(H) guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States;
(I) strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment  (With the exception of very few specific areas, it is not within the scope and/or purpose of the United States government to establish, encourage or promote the creation of labor unions for United States citizens and is against the concept of capitalism and our free market economic systems.  There is no need for the US government to establish union shops for any class of employee and it should stay the course of ensuring equal protection under the law as currently written for employees in furtherance of Civil Rights, discrimination and ADA laws, etc);
(J) strengthening and enforcing labor, workplace health and safety, antidiscrimination, and wage and hour standards across all employers, industries, and sectors;
(K) enacting and enforcing trade rules, procurement standards, and border adjustments with strong labor and environmental protections—
(i) to stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas; (It can easily be argued that the very nature of the GND proposal would be enough to send many job sectors to flee the United States for less restrictive locations and the GND fails to indicate what efforts, if any, are planned to prevent entire industries from mass exodus from the United States due to over-restrictions and/or otherwise cost prohibitive operating costs under organized labor union shops and other aspects of the GND) and
(ii) to grow domestic manufacturing in the United States (Vauge and ambiguous action-item. This does not explain in any level of detail how this will be achieved, in what timeline, to what scope and with what penalties for failing to perform to expectation under the GND);
(L) ensuring that public lands, waters, and oceans are protected and that eminent domain is not abused (Vauge and ambiguous action-item. This does not explain in any level of detail how this will be achieved, in what timeline, to what scope and with what penalties for failing to perform to expectation under the GND) ;
(M) obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples for all decisions that affect indigenous peoples and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous peoples, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous peoples;
(N) ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies (Current anti-trust laws already exist both in statute and law and are only inconsequentially and infrequently enforced.  There is no indication in the GND that attempts to answer the question of what the GND would do above and beyond current anti-trust laws); and
(O) providing all people of the United States with—
(i) high-quality health care;
(ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing;
(iii) economic security; and

(iv) clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.

Conclusion:  The Green New Deal at best appears to be a very lofty attempt at curbing carbon-based and greenhouse gas production globally, while the United States accepts the bulk of the financial and societal burden for such.  At worst, the Green New Deal appears to be a drastic restructuring of the United States citizenry with the purposeful discrimination and exclusion of only one particular class of citizenry without knowledge of, or appreciation of the Constitution of the United States, all related protections under the Bill of Rights as well as legislative, statutory or judicial standing which expressly prohibits discrimination of any kind, anywhere within the United States.  This is a disturbing document that has been introduced in the House, and it is imperative that the author of the GND as well as the majority leadership explain why this was ever allowed to be entered into the people's House knowing the language of the GND is riddled with factual errors as well as basic constitutional law errors.

Scott Anthony

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