Freezing Rain and a Green New Deal

Earthrise by Bill Anders, Dec. 24, 1968

Ice turned to mush as rain fell Thursday morning. The surfaces of Lake Macbride and the Coralville Lake appeared to remain frozen as I drove on Mehaffey Bridge Road.

When I arrived at the home, farm and auto supply store it continued to rain. By the end of my shift a layer of ice had formed on my windshield and morning slush had frozen.

I started the engine and chipped at the ice. It took half an hour to gain enough visibility to drive. I decided to skip a monthly political meeting, emailed the secretary of my absence, and headed home.

Iowa is a red state now. Voters had an opportunity to return balance to state government in 2018. Instead they chose Republican control of the governor’s office and state legislature. Taking advantage of their mandate, Republicans plan to take more control of the appointment of judges by changing the composition of a commission that selects nominees for Iowa courts. We’re a red state now, and we don’t like it.

We’re not leaving the state. To even consider it would be an anomaly in lives we’ve come to accept. In the end, politics is something, but not everything. It is definitely not important enough to get stuck in the county seat as the world freezes.

I’m interested in what the Congress does to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Yesterday New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution recognizing the federal government has a duty to create a Green New Deal. A draft of the resolution indicates the following goals for a Green New Deal during a ten-year national mobilization period:

  1. to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;
  2. to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;
  3. to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;
  4. 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
  5. to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, 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’’).

Who wouldn’t like these goals? Senator Edward Markey introduced the same resolution in the U.S. Senate.

It doesn’t take an advanced degree to understand a Green New Deal is dead on arrival in Mitch McConnell’s senate. While such goals need to be met to slow global warming, politics has ceased to be an endeavor of doing what needs to be done to ensure our mutual survival. Success of any legislation designed to advance a Green New Deal depends on recognizing the threat the climate crisis poses to society. Today, more people recognize there is a climate crisis. Our politicians, not so much.

Al Gore remained positive in his press release supporting the resolution:

The Green New Deal resolution marks the beginning of a crucial dialogue on climate legislation in the U.S. Mother Nature has awakened so many Americans to the urgent threat of the climate crisis, and this proposal responds to the growing concern and demand for action. The goals are ambitious and comprehensive – now the work begins to decide the best ways to achieve them, with specific policy solutions tied to timelines. It is critical that this process unfolds in close dialogue with the frontline communities that bear the disproportionate impacts today, as this resolution acknowledges. Policymakers and Presidential candidates would be wise to embrace a Green New Deal and commit to the hard work of seeing it through.

Failure to act on climate is the same as denial. I’ll support a Green New Deal while recognizing we can’t place all our hopes on a single, political solution. As we discovered during negotiations leading up to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, political solutions are far from perfect. They may be inadequate. Yet they are something and have value if they can be achieved.

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1 Response to Freezing Rain and a Green New Deal

  1. “Who wouldn’t like these goals?”

    EXACTLY!

    The problem is everyone is willing to jump onto a bandwagon against it without even reading the resolution, which has almost nothing controversial in it.

    Instead the right calls it impossible, and instead of trying to do anything about it is willing to condemn the younger generation to a world of destruction without lifting a finger to do a damn thing about it.

    Like

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