Why We Should Reject The Green New Deal

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If you’d like to know, in a nutshell, why anyone with an ounce of sense should reject the Green New Deal here’s the reason as laid out by a proponent of the idea:

The Green New Deal is about a new economic model – The model of capitalist development based on what Marx called “accumulation for accumulation’s sake” – the pursuit of profit as the bottom line – on a planet with finite resources is doomed to crisis and collapse. The financial system which has built up around the needs of serving capital accumulation with infinite credit, and the role of the neoliberal state as the protectorate of that financial system, are therefore also incongruous with a sustainable economic system. Green New Deal economics is heterogenous in that there are a number of different approaches, but the common denominator of all of them is a break with the current paradigm of growth and capital accumulation as the bottom line.

It’s rehashed Marxism. It’s also objectively wrong in its analysis – economic growth isn’t dependent upon the supply of physical resources therefore the obvious finity of physical resources isn’t a binding constraint upon economic growth. But note what the Green New Deal isn’t about. A solution to climate change, Instead, that’s the excuse to upend the world order.

Well, great, you want to upend the world order. But how about the rest of us being asked as to whether we want that?

It’s also mindnumbingly stupid at times:

Be socialist – not capitalist

Capitalist enterprises and the markets they operate in are structurally incapable of delivering the Green New Deal. They simply are not set-up for the sort of long-term, large-scale, cross-sector action that is needed to decarbonise the economy. Just as the moon-landing and Britain’s war economy in fighting the Nazis could have only been done on the basis of massive, co-ordinated state planning, so it is for the Green New Deal.

To put it in a more practical way, think about this. In the UK we have the highest proportion of non-renewable heating in Europe; more than 90 per cent of heating is through natural gas. Heating along with transport is where most emissions are now coming from. In the space of a decade the UK needs to replace tens of millions of gas boilers with zero-carbon options. House-by-house solutions like air source heat pumps simply can not be efficiently done at that scale, speed and with adequate reliability. The only way to do this is enormously expensive, requires a mammoth co-ordination of resources and labour to the task, and means carrying out infrastructure instalments largely on a district, rather than house-by-house, basis. Capitalist markets can’t solve our heating emissions problem in a decade. Only socialism can. Full stop.

We’ve had several attempts – in Oz and the UK – at those massive coordinated plans.

But much more than theory or haggling over technical details, we have excellent empirical evidence that a Green New Deal just does not work. It’s been tried, twice, on different sides of the world and it didn’t work either time.

Despite this report, the British government decided to do the same thing. A central plan, with targets, disbursing rivers of tax money, to insulate the houses of the nation. This was then done so badly that there are fears that as many as a million houses have been ruined, and certainly thousands have been turned into entirely useful mushroom farms and not useful dwellings.

The Green New Deal is the latest excuse to impose socialism. And it’s going to use the socialism which doesn’t work as the mechanism as well. Two good reasons to oppose the Green New Deal then, right?

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HJ777
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HJ777

Even this: “In the UK we have the highest proportion of non-renewable heating in Europe; more than 90 per cent of heating is through natural gas.” is nonsense. Natural gas is currently the best way to heat most houses with minimum CO2 emissions. This is because, when burned, natural gas only produces half as much CO2 per unit of energy as other fossil fuels. If, instead of using fossil fuels you heat your house with electricity, most countries still produce most of their electricity from fossil fuels (for example, Germany still produces over half of its electricity from fossil fuels… Read more »

Bloke in Germany
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Bloke in Germany

True, but every scrap of rubbish the country generates is incinerated for CHP. My own humble abode is CHP-heated. Can’t happen in England because even when an incinerator somehow gets past the extinction rebellion morons who protest against them, the energy usually goes up the chimney.

HJ777
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HJ777

CHP also produces CO2.

NDReader
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NDReader

Whereas burying the stuff produces both methane and CO2

HJ777
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HJ777

Not really.

Landfill sites produce methane from decomposing organic matter (not from plastics and the like) which we already harvest and burn just like natural gas (which is just methane). Plastics and other materials which could be burned are increasingly being recycled.

There is minimal CO2 emitted directly from landfill.

Bloke in Germany
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Bloke in Germany

Depends how you account for it to some extent. It’s definitely less resource-intensive than digging up fresh fossil fuels and burning them rather than first turning them into something physically useful, and then burning them.

HJ777
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HJ777

That’s true, but it’s only part of the picture.

Richard Murphy tries to paint the UK as a laggard in reducing CO2 emissions. This is not true. The UK has reduced its per capita CO2 emissions by about a third over the last 10 years or so. Germany has made virtually no progress in reducing CO2 emissions and they are now 50% higher than those in the UK.

Bloke in Germany
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Bloke in Germany

I’ve never paid Mr Murphy a millisecond of attention and don’t understand why anyone does.

Spike
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Spike

It’s as questionable to infer anyone’s reason for supporting the GND by quoting one supporter as it is to say that anyone accumulates stuff “for accumulation’s sake.” But yes, Ocasio-Cortez, the drafter of this version of it and its sponsor in Congress, says it is not only to “save the planet” but to tear down capitalism (she means liberty; capitalism conveniently focuses on the liberty of the wealthy) and as a tidy placeholder for all her campaign canards including “racial justice” (equalize outcomes at gunpoint until black people, too, vote for this barmaid-turned-legislator).

Gavin Longmuir
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Gavin Longmuir

Just a quibble — if one really believed the junk science of Anthropogenic Global Warming and wanted to do something like build massive number of bird-whackers or solar panels, one would need … capital.

Communist states like the USSR deployed capital on a huge scale. Capital is merely deferred consumption, and is essential if one wants to invest in any new process.

The choice is not Capitalism versus a Green New Dodgy Deal. The choice is a market economy where people make their own choices versus a directed economy where Stalin or AOC makes the choices for everybody.

Snarkus
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Snarkus

Centralised economy in WW2? So the industrialist Harry Hawker decision to build hundreds of Hurricanes before they were ordered was a result of gummint planning ? Nope, A patriotic astute businessman saw a need and opportunity that gave Britain adequate fighters in time for for Battle of Britain. The bureaucrats were still having meetings when Hawker acted. As for the rest of industry, I note that the private sector ran as a private sector. The customer required different goods and supply limited what could be built. Same in USA even more so. So the claim wartime centralised government managed economy… Read more »

Briny
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Briny

BTW, the same situation applied to the story of the USS Monitor in the US Civil War. It was built despite dithering of the War Department.