There is a climate emergency. There are many ways of looking at this, from the big investments perspective (see also a Fed view), to human harms perspective (see also), to what it might cost to reverse these changes if they prove to be horribly bad in their consequences, more than anyone imagined. It’s long been known that grassroots initiatives cannot fix it.
And these are our present options:
What troubles me about the Green New Deal, as explained, is (a) it seems timid, and (b) it is not sufficiently challenging and explicit in what it wants.
So, here, I’m making a proposal. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to see in a Green New Deal proposal, one worthy of its name. And, note, Green New Deal or not, it is not the only game in town. There are other proposals, such as Manhattan 2.
But, as a social proposal, here are some specific suggestions.
- Given that there is a climate emergency, and cumulative fossil fuel emissions by people are the cause, I propose that all permits for extraction of fossil fuels of all kinds within the United States expire on 1 January 2030. I further propose that all imports of fossil fuels of any kind, oil, coal, natural gas, also be prohibited as of the same date.
- Furthermore, effectively immediately with the passage of the legislation, extraction and imports of fossil fuels per annum will be capped at no more than 10% more than the smaller of either 2018’s rates were or median amounts per annum between 2018 and when this legislation is adopted.
- Given that many people will be unemployed as a result of market disruptions resulting from disenfranchisement of fossil fuels, immediately there will be established a federal jobs retraining fund enabling businesses or employees whose livelihoods were previously associated (by SIC and NAICS codes) with either fossil fuels extraction, shipment, delivery, sales, or consumption, or with transportation previously powered by fossil fuels and their support (parts, delivery, repair) to pursue alternative employment via training at centers of professional and higher education with full reimbursement.
- Given that compensation for livelihood and families will be needed in a transition period, a guaranteed minimum annual income is hereby established and set to US$75,000 per annum in 2018 dollars. accepting this income excludes the participant from eligibility of all other government assistance programs, including health, child income benefits, and food supplements, with the exception of tuition reimbursement.
- Given that these programs will need to be funded, this proposal hereby assigns an income tax premium of 2.5% on all annual incomes in excess of one million dollars per annum assessed prior to deductions and adjustments of all kinds, whether such income is earned in the United States or elsewhere, and severs sheltering such income by corporate or business pass-through provisions or other tax shelters.
I also suggest, that since Science deals with uncertainty as well as certainty, a serious effort be mounted to ascertain what kinds of measures might be available for climate repair should all measures, despite best efforts, fall short of temperature targets, or climate sensitivity or other effects prove to be unusually severe. These should be pursued despite the present estimates of their horrific expense, requiring, for example, at most optimistic estimates and using as yet unproven technologies, multiples of the Gross World Product to draw down atmospheric CO2 concentrations dozens of parts per million.