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Perhaps you’ve seen or read @jerry_jtaylor of @NiskanenCenter critique of the #GreenNewDeal. It’s a smart and searing piece. He gets a lot right. But he also misses some important points. My (lengthy) thoughts on his (lengthy) article in a THREAD. niskanencenter.org/blog/an-open-l… 1/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter First the GND links inequality and climate because its framers believe these crises are linked. And it’s hard to argue with their point: the wealthy emit more carbon than the poor--who will also struggle more with the transition. So maybe climate and inequality…are linked? 2/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter Further, he is skeptical of the pro-union provisions. But I think the idea of throwing some support for unions into the GND is likely a good move to build a broader coalition on the left. 3/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter As @mmildenberger has documented extensively, labor unions have been (and continue to be!) a very large barrier to climate action because of their links to fossil fuel industries. 4/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger If unions see more benefits than costs in climate policy, perhaps more of them will finally (finally!) join in and support action. At a minimum, it doesn’t strike me as a bad political strategy to throw some benefits to unions to try to bring them along or neutralize them. 5/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger Taylor also argues that a bunch of the environmental provisions in the GND are not linked to climate change. This isn’t quite true. 6/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger There’s lots of research that shows healthier soils store more carbon. Ecosystem protection is similarly a form of carbon sequestration. Air quality is fundamentally linked to fossil fuel pollution. 7/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger Still: he’s right that some things, like cleaning up hazardous waste sites and lead pipes, are less connected to climate. But maybe this too is about showing frontline communities there are benefits, not just costs, to environmental action. 8/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger He says this transition isn’t going to cost as much as a war, quoting GDP cost estimates of rapid decarbonization (Risky Business, LBNL). But they are just that--estimates. I would bet--given what we know about economic/technological forecasting--that they are wrong. 9/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger The fact is, it’s going to be very hard to make the necessary changes across numerous carbon emitting sectors (electricity, buildings, transportation, agriculture, heavy industry) unless we make a big commitment as a society to do this. 10/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger Hence, the war mobilization metaphor is not just about spending, but also about scale and moral authority. I wouldn’t dismiss it too quickly. 11/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger This will be a tricky and costly transformation. We have never gone through an energy transition this fast. That’s just a fact. He's right we should do it efficiently. But also we need to start it, period. 12/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger Given we have delayed for 30 years (thanks climate deniers and fossil fuel companies!), it is only harder. Perhaps as Taylor argues, from the perspective of political strategy, we should obscure that costs more. And he could be right on that point. 13/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger But an alternative is to use an elite messaging strategy to sell this as a meaningful, grand societal challenge that we can all do our part to contribute to - like a moonshot, or a war effort. 14/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger Apart from @AOC, no political elites are really making the case that climate is our grand societal challenge. So we don’t yet know that this elite messaging won’t work. She could certainly use some backup and perhaps the 2020 Democratic candidates will provide that. 15/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC Taylor's also right that many progressives are not yet convinced the climate crisis is as serious as inequality or healthcare. But he doesn’t say why. 16/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC Well, for one: the media rarely talks about climate. That’s partially because politicians rarely talk about it. The problem is invisible to most people, who don’t hear about it more than a couple times a year. That’s climate silence in a nutshell. mediamatters.org/research/2019/… 17/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC Why don’t we talk about climate change? For one, fossil fuel companies have successfully waged a campaign for the past 3 decades to cast doubt on the science (see: @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell). Climate is a taboo subject. Undoing that will take time + leadership. 18/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell The GND resolution is an attempt (sure, flawed!) to get people to talk about the climate crisis. By any metric, @sunrisemvmt + @AOC have succeeded in getting us all talking again. 19/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt It’s easy to dismiss what @sunrisemvmt + @AOC have achieved, as Fox News dominates the airwaves on the GND (see: @SeanMcElwee nytimes.com/2019/03/27/opi… ). But maybe the problem is the liberal media is doing a bad job of pinch hitting by making the case for climate action. 20/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee Taylor also points out the quite real problem of the political math in the Senate. It’s true: the GND coalition does not have the votes or even a clear path to the votes. He’s right: the political strategy for success is murky at best. 21/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee Many of the groups leading the efforts plan to primary (or threaten) the climate laggards in the Democratic party - folks like Manchin. Taylor knows that, but he is skeptical of this strategy. 22/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee I am less skeptical. As I show in my forthcoming book, Short Circuiting Policy, the fossil fuel lobby has successfully used primaries for years at the state level to threaten rightwing politicians and drive continuing support for FF. 23/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee It may not work if the left adopts the same strategy, using primaries to drive climate action. But I do think it’s smart to at least try it. The alternative is to leave Democratic climate delayers sitting in Congress for another decade. That’s not a good plan either. 24/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee I buy Taylor's argument (based on @MattGrossmann work - big fan!) that most policymaking involves insiders and interest groups. But the trouble is we don’t have a very deep bench of insider advocates on climate -- the opponents have way more political power. 25/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann Consequently, to win on climate we need to “expand the scope of conflict” Schattschneider-style, and not just play an elite, insider game. That’s what the @sunrisemvmt is trying to do by building a big public movement and getting people talking about climate. 26/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann Hence, a better strategy is probably an insider/outsider game. Indeed, that's what Skocpol concluded was wrong w/Waxman-Markey - no ground game. Similarly it's the key I found to progress in Texas on renewables: an insider-outsider coalition. histphil.org/2017/07/05/how… 27/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann Taylor is probably correct that many of these ideas are not resonating with political elites -- journalists, politicians, officials, etc. I see lots of bad reporting on the topic from folks @nytimes @washingtonpost - news outlets that typically lead on climate. Unfortunate. 28/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost But I think he misses the degree to which this disconnect with elites on the GND is generational. I don’t think most baby boomers grasp the scale of the crisis currently facing millennials with climate change. 29/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost Maybe it’s cognitive dissonance (they don’t want to feel bad for ignoring and thereby exacerbating this mess). Or maybe it's a belief that the fossil fuel status quo will simply endure because it always has. But most baby boomers don’t seem to get the climate crisis. 30/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost I think younger people feel the insecurity of our current problems (climate change, inequality) in a much deeper and more immediate way. And I think the GND message is resonating with them. 31/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost I know young people are likely not a great path to political victory in the short run in terms of votes (because young people don’t vote! Ugh!), but young people have always powered social movements. 32/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost Organizing and social movements can bring change. Taylor misses that, and the analogy of the civil rights movement, which the @sunrisemvmt organizers are using as a guiding example for their action. 33/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost Yes building a giant social movement is a hard path to policy change. But doing the same thing again and again with inside-Congress-incremental-climate-bills-that-fail likely won’t work either. 34/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost I think Taylor's points about leaving technologies off the table are spot on. The left-wing coalition is being intentionally ambiguous about nuclear (existing or new) and carbon capture technology. 35/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost Nuclear/CCS appear to be a taboo subject to even raise with GND folks. And this is quite problematic IMHO, given the scale and the tradeoffs involved. I agree with Taylor that we shouldn’t leave technologies off the table. 36/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost Ultimately, the GND will be hashed out in insider politics in the way Taylor describes and nuclear and CCS will probably be brought back in. Whether the left-wing coalition accepts that, I don’t know. 37/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost But historically climate policy has been about what the right-wing-climate-deniers will accept. I suppose I can live with a shift to the left and frontline communities having a more of a veto role. 38/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost I also don’t see a problem in creating overly ambitious clean energy targets and timelines. States have been doing that for decades through RPS policies and it has largely worked. 39/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost If the federal government did a big ambitious clean energy standard, it would be a LOT more effective than the cities currently plowing ahead with 100% targets and few legal tools to implement them. 40/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost You’re still reading? You must be crazy. In short: Taylor raises many good points. He shows where the GND political strategy is weakest. He should give the GND champions (myself included!) pause. But ultimately, I am more hopeful than him about this path forward. 41/
@jerry_jtaylor @NiskanenCenter @mmildenberger @AOC @NaomiOreskes @GeoffreySupran @J_Farrell @sunrisemvmt @SeanMcElwee @MattGrossmann @nytimes @washingtonpost Concrete GND proposals will start rolling out in Congress soon. The details will sharpen as insiders negotiate, and social mvmts keep pressing from outside. That’s how politics works. It’s better than we could have hoped this time last year, let alone last decade. FIN!
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