The Democrats have no plan to address Climate Change (either)

Recall an article from the 15th November 2017 issue of The Atlantic:

… [T]he Democratic Party does not have a plan to address climate change. This is true at almost every level of the policy-making process: It does not have a consensus bill on the issue waiting in the wings; it does not have a shared vision for what that bill could look like; and it does not have a guiding slogan—like “Medicare for all”—to express how it wants to stop global warming.

Many people in the party know that they want to do something about climate change, but there’s no agreement about what that something may be.

This is not for lack of trying. Democrats have struggled to formulate a post-Obama climate policy because substantive political obstacles stand in their way. They have not yet identified a mechanism that will make a dent in Earth’s costly, irreversible warming while uniting the many factions of their coalition. These problems could keep the party scrambling to face the climate crisis for years to come.

This remains true. The only Democrats in the national view who keep mitigation of climate change in focus are Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. In fact, Senator Sanders and Senator Whitehouse are the only ones with plans, this being Senator Sanders’, and this being Senator Whitehouse, quite contrary to the impression The Atlantic article gives. Also, the claim that “Unlike Clinton’s policies, Sanders would surely have required a Democratic Congress to enshrine his policies”, is completely disingenuous. Only the most limited policies can be enacted without Congress, but that never should be a reason for failing to champion them or make excuses for why they can’t be done, like President Obama’s insistence that we cannot sacrifice economic growth in the pursuit of climate mitigation.

Others have observed the same.

So, I would suggest that what The Atlantic and I mean here is that the standard, vanilla-flavored Democratic Party has no idea about what to do, and it doesn’t really care. What it cares about is winning, and it will compromise on policy in order to make that happen.

This is predominantly why Claire and I are so supportive of Bob Massie as Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts. See his position on climate change.

It’s more tiring to say it again than it is to listen to it, but we are running out of time and the economic costs to do something real in time to stop awesome, amazing, and recurring harm from climate change increase by the month.

We determine the point of no return (PNR) for climate change, which is the latest year to take action to reduce greenhouse gases to stay, with a certain probability, within thresholds set by the Paris Agreement. For a 67% probability and a 2K (Kelvin) threshold, the PNR is the year 2035 when the share of renewable energy rises by 2% per year. We show the impact on the PNR of the speed by which emissions are cut, the risk tolerance, climate uncertainties and the potential for negative emissions.

In short, both political parties — and especially the Democrats, since they claim to know better — are failing the United States Constitution and the people of the United States:

Preamble. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

(Emphasis added.)

Amendment XIV (Ratified July 9, 1868)

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

(Emphasis added.)

Indeed, given this situation, as I’ve mentioned before, I really wonder if the Constitution of the United States is up to this challenge, because it lacks the mechanism to achieve this. Of course, given that Congresses and Presidents disregard the Constitution, notably

Article. VI.

… This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

(Emphasis added.)

with respect to, say, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”, which remains one of the `treaties in force’ considered so by the U.S. State Department (page 515).

This is why Juliana v United States is so essential. See the compact details.

About ecoquant

See Retired data scientist and statistician. Now working projects in quantitative ecology and, specifically, phenology of Bryophyta and technical methods for their study.
This entry was posted in American Meteorological Association, an ignorant American public, an uncaring American public, Anthropocene, anti-intellectualism, anti-science, being carbon dioxide, bridge to nowhere, carbon dioxide, Carbon Tax, children as political casualties, climate change, climate disruption, climate economics, consumption, corporate responsibility, Cult of Carbon, destructive economic development, environment, environmental law, games of chance, global blinding, global warming, greenhouse gases, Hyper Anthropocene, Juliana v United States and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Democrats have no plan to address Climate Change (either)

  1. Greg Robie says:

    Short memories
    Selective memories

    All these seem to me to have motivated reasoning as their genesis. Sen. Byrd (D) in the mid-90s, dictated that there would be no climate treaty. In 2009 the House passed a ~2000 page tomb called ACES, while the Senate had CEJAP in play. Both houses had Democratic Party majorities. 44 was President … & silent. That December at COP15 in Copenhagen. Obama and Clinton threw a flawed binding treaty under the bus and launched a game theory strategy that created the voluntary Paris Agreement (except that the one thing it agrees to is the porting of Kyoto’s flaw: carbon credit trading). 44 assented to the Paris Agreement in the context of the US’ being a signatory of the UNFCCC, but not Kyoto. This sort of makes the constitutional point about treaties a bad joke in the face of our existential threat: the consequences of the financial markets of limited liability law enabled CapitalismFail (abrupt climate change). The history of how the scientific number of a 1°C upper temperature boundary became an economic 2°C one is both instructive and another example of how motivated reasoning plays out to socially protect a culture’s functional ‘religion’.

    And Greta is a 15 year old in Sweden who is, as a matter of conscience, truant with her strike for climate.

  2. jlredford says:

    Well, the Democrats had three concrete proposals underway:
    – The Clean Power Plan
    – The automotive mileage standards
    – The Paris Climate Accords
    You may not think they were adequate, but they were passed and they were starting. The GOP hated them all, and Trump is doing his best to destroy them. So, yes the Democrats had and have a climate plan, and the Republicans have none whatsoever.

    • ecoquant says:

      Thanks very much for your comment, @jlredford. This is an excellent opportunity to clarify a misunderstanding many Democrats, progressives, and environmentalists have about climate change and how it works.

      So, unlike DDT and ozone-destroying CFCs, in the case of greenhouse gases, primarily CO2, an inadequate plan is as bad as no plan. The former work from the thesis that the solution to pollution is dilution, and completely rely upon there being an existing mechanism for scrubbing the stuff out of the environment and making it relatively harmful or, at least, naturally sequestered.

      In the case of CO2, while a similar mechanism exists, it operates at a rate which is so slow compared to human lifetimes that, effectively, it does not exist. So, for example, if we could stop emitting, cold turkey, most of the CO2 in atmosphere would remain there for a thousand years, and a significant fraction would still be around for 10 thousand years. Not only that, but the moment we zero emissions, we don’t see reductions in harmful effects of CO2 but we simply stop it getting worse. The concise way of saying this is that climate effects depend upon cumulative emissions not instantaneous ones.

      Emission rates may have flat-lined for a bit, at least from some countries, although it now looks like they are increasing again, but they certainly haven’t decreased. So it’s fair to say that, up to today, the world and most countries have done nothing on the problem.

      So, essentially, implementing an inadequate plan, that is, one which doesn’t get us rapidly enough to the point where emissions are zero, is simply waving a green flag, and it is useless on its own.

      We know what needs to be done. Trouble is, the longer we procrastinate, the more economic pain will be incurred when it is undertaken. That’s a familiar theme in this kind of analysis:

  3. Greg Robie says:

    The failure to protect and defend the Constitution is both longstanding and, now, systemic. And not just this point about our children’s rights concerning abrupt climate change that both 44 and 45 have fought. Democrats are just as devoted to our functionally [and unconstitutionally] established state ‘religion’: CapitalismFail. This is thanks to fear and trusted motivated reasoning./?

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart


    • ecoquant says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Greg.

      In addition to the terms of the UNFCCC, including obligations for payments, I imagine the many treaties for native Americans have also fallen by the wayside. But I’m not familiar with those cases.

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