Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Two British Political Science professors expect Republicans to resist the inevitability of our green future, at least at first, but they believe the rise of green jobs and “international momentum” will convince Republicans to back Joe Biden’s Green New Deal.
Climate change: Joe Biden could ride a wave of international momentum to break deadlock in US
November 11, 2020 3.12am AEDT
Professor of International Politics, University of Leeds
Professor of Global Security Challenges, University of Leeds
Joe Biden’s presidency is likely to be dominated by “the three Cs”: COVID-19, China and climate change. Each one of these behemoths could make or break him.
Despite wildfires and hurricanes, this was not the long-awaited climate election. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris campaigned on the promise of a two trillion dollar investment over the next four years. This aims to put the US on course to a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and carbon neutrality – meaning, the country’s net carbon emissions would reach zero – by 2050. Their climate plan linked aggressive emissions reductions to social and environmental justice measures beyond compensation for workers and communities embedded in high-carbon industries like coal mining. It was forged in collaboration with the Bernie Sanders campaign and supporters of a Green New Deal.
The bad news is that Biden’s ability to implement such a transformative domestic agenda appears to be severely limited. Any big spending plans are likely to be stymied by the Senate which, even following run-off races in January, can at best end up a 50-50 partisan split, with Harris as the tiebreaker. Even “moderate” Republicans like Mitt Romney have pledged to “make sure that we conservatives keep on fighting to make sure we don’t have a Green New Deal [and] we don’t get rid of gas and coal and oil”.
But if Biden can link action on climate to economic regeneration, jobs, environmental justice, and a proactive foreign policy with both China and Europe, he could yet fulfil both his domestic and international agendas.
I think where the professors have gone wrong is they genuinely seem believe the Green New Deal is an economically viable option, which after a few trillion dollars investment will become a self sustaining economic system.
In my opinion this represents a complete denial of engineering and economic reality.
If a business is not competitive when backed with a billion dollars of government cash, how is upping the investment to a trillion dollars supposed to help?
After all the subsidies and political support renewables have received over the decades, if there was any hope for the economic viability of renewables with anything resembling current technology, they would long since have outgrown the need for special government assistance.
To put it another way, that dead horse is not going to jump up and gallop under its own steam, no matter how hard politicians flog it with taxpayer’s money.
via Watts Up With That?
November 11, 2020 at 12:32AM