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Latest Posts


2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

Posted on 9 February 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 3 through Sat, Feb 10, 2019

Editor's Pick

Seven take-aways from the Green New Deal launch

Sweeping in scope, an agenda to transform the US into a green leader has been launched in Washington DC, here are the key points

 Cong Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen Ed Markey

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and senator Ed Markey present their Green New Deal resolution to reporters on Thursday (Photo: 

On Thursday, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and senator Ed Markey presented an outline of a sweeping federal programme aiming at decarbonising the US economy.

The text makes for the most earnest attempt yet to define a concept that has been backed by many a Democratic presidential candidate, often with little detail.

The agenda would touch every aspect of the US economy and calls for carbon emissions and inequality to be tackled as one.

“Today is the day we truly embark on a comprehensive agenda of economic, social and racial justice in the United States of America,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a press conference launching the resolution.

There are many legislative hurdles for the deal to leap if it is ever to become US policy – not least the Republican-controlled senate and White House.

The plan was the beginning of a phase of “political education”, said Markey, that would eventually lead to the adoption of the package. The pair said the document had attracted 60 Democrats as cosponsors, from across the party.

Seven take-aways from the Green New Deal launch by Natalie Sauer, Climate Home News, July 2, 2019 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Feb 3, 2019

Mon Feb 4, 2019

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Wed Feb 6, 2019

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Comments 1 to 42:

  1. The Green New Deal full text here. A very sensible list of environmental and socio economic goals imho.

    One criticism: I don't see how something called a Green New Deal can include general socio economic provisions (specifically the ones at the end of the text). Its really a contradiction, and could alienate some voters. I think they need a separate Economic New Deal.

    And the lack of something like a carbon fee and dividend is questionable, because without this a lot of heavy lifting is placed on government. But it could be hung off this plan.

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  2. What the Green New Deal will be up against here. Somewhat predictable. Sigh.

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  3. "... a Green New Deal ... include general socio economic provisions [is] really a contradiction ..."

    How can you separate environmental goals from socio-economic goals? A decarbonised economy is going to look very different from what we have now, no matter what way you look at it.

    "[It] ... could alienate some voters."

    There will be political resistance as well as political support, come what may. Don't you think it is better to lay it all on the line and try to engender discussion and support as far as one can manage?
    For me the word "Green" as a political designation has always been about the integrated system that our only planet represents to us. Our human economy and political systems are a part of that whole.

    Political resistance to Green politics comes from working people who naturally are fearful of loosing their jobs, nudged on unmercifully by the financial vested interests who seem to want their investments to be cash cows forever.

    But we only have one planet and we have to live within our means. There are many capitalists and workers who well and truly accept this reality. Let's capitalise on that! :-)

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  4. And I should add that by saying "we have to live within our means" I was in no way implying that people who depend on their threatened job(s) be cast aside as not important. In any change they must be looked after first and foremost.

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  5. John McKeon

    Thank's for your views. There has already been a lot of discussion on these issues here.

    "How can you separate environmental goals from socio-economic goals?"

    I feel they are just different things entirely. It's virtually self evident. Governments have entirely different departments dealing with these things. They are only part of some integrated whole to the same extent that the justice system, and education system are.

    These are the socioeconomic objectives I referred to in The Green New Deal in clause 15: " providing all people of the United States with—(i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security". The body of the text also referred to minium wages.

    Now come on, the connection between these socioeconomic goals and green objectives (environmental objectives) is pretty tenuous. They are of course sensible goals, and imho the government has at least some part to play, but that is another thing that could be handled separately. 

    "For me the word "Green" as a political designation has always been about the integrated system that our only planet represents to us. Our human economy and political systems are a part of that whole."

    Clearly the economic system relies on the economy for its survival and the economy can influence the environment, so the economy has to be based on sound and sustainable principles. However the Green New Deal didn't actually reference that signifciantly and instead drifted off into talk about miniumum wages and affordable housing. These are separate concerns surely,  and 'socio'economic goals, so a different thing from economic policy as such. The distinction is important.

    "Political resistance to Green politics comes from working people who naturally are fearful of loosing their jobs,"

    Yes, but not only this. Conservatives may have some resistance to ideas about the state being expected to provide quality affordable healthcare (read universal), affordable housing and economic security and so on. Tying this to the climate change objectives may lead to opposition to the climate change objectives, and the package as a whole. I don't like that it would, and I like grand plans, but I'm also a realist.

    Also read the media link I posted.

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  6. Meant to say "clearly the economic system relies on the environment for its survival and the economy can influence the environment.....

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  7. Nigelj, I did write a long response to your latest, but on taking up your suggestions about reading the media link and checking past discussion, I am reminded that you are probably a US citizen whilst I am an Australian equivalent. So my response needed to be held back or modified a lot, because I have only a sketchy feel for political culture in your country. But I did have a question which is worth forwarding to you now:

    "... a carbon fee and dividend ..."

    Would you classify this as an instrument of environment policy or of socio-economic policy? Or both?

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  8. nigelj,

    I share John McKeon's challenge of assertions that the environmental sustainability of human activity should be considered and acted upon separate from corrections to achieve social and economic sustainability.
    That is not exactly how the issue is often described in comments here, or the general public discussion, but there is good reason for phrasing it that way.

    The Green New Deal should be understood to be an update of the socioeconomic New Deal implemented by the Roosevelt Administration to correct the harmful developed results of the socioeconomic-political games that had been played. And a similar socioeconomic problem has redeveloped. As such, environmental sustainability can be understood to be appropriate to add to the required socioeconomic corrections of today. And the environmental corrections need to be done in a way to does not compromise efforts to correct the social problems that have developed.

    The best understanding of the required corrections of what has developed and the governing objectives for new developments is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are the latest developed understanding in a string of global collective efforts to understand what is required for the future of humanity (the history of development includes the decisions to form the UN which succeeded to establish the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - see more about this in my comment @35 on the SkS re-post of “A New Green Deal must not sabotage climate goals”).

    The SDGs are a robustly established and indivisible compendium of Goals (Objectives) that must all be achieved and improved upon for humanity to have a better future. They include environmental, social, economic and political elements. I presented them in that order for Good Reason:

    • without a sustainable environment on this or any other planet there can be no sustainable society
    • without a sustainable environment and society there can be no sustainable economic activity
    • and a political system Tribe trying to win leadership is unsustainable if it does not develop and defend sustainable global environment, society and economic activity.

    Tragically what can be seen to continue to be happening is the prolonging of, and temporary regional expansion of, Political Tribalism built on interests that are contrary to improving awareness and understanding and the application of that knowledge to achieve and improve on the SGDs. And the incorrect application of marketing science to produce misleading social, economic and political marketing is a major problem that needs to be corrected. And it will not be corrected by compromising the corrections that are understood to be required just to 'get along with people who are determined to not be corrected'.

    The collaborative global effort to develop a sustainable better future for global humanity started after WWI with the League of Nations (and similar efforts were developing before that time to varying degrees but they lacked the true understanding of “Humanity as a robust diversity of humans living in ways that sustainably fit into a robust diversity of life” and “Global - we developed to live on a finite planet” the larger yet still small worldviews of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and even the Reformation with its broadening of diversity of religious views and freeing people from unjustified Rule by unjustified Leaders can be seen as part of the efforts).

    Even the more global efforts been tragically combative because of temporary regional winning by 'Tribal political groups with developed interests that are contrary to improved understanding and the application of that knowledge to develop a sustainable improving future of global humanity'. The combativeness and harmful failures are the result of the developed socioeconomic-political tribal groups that decide to focus on competing for impressions of superior status relative to others and fight to conserve those impressions. They even develop perceptions that Their Tribe is a victim because the required corrections will reduce their incorrectly developed perceptions of status relative to others.

    I have recently been reading two books that highlight the need for everyone to have a more comprehensive and correct understanding of what is going on (there are many other books related to this, but I am reading these two right now). Common basis for discussion and debate is essential. And that common basis does not exist regarding discussions about the corrections that climate science has identified are required for humanity to have a future. The highest level common basis is required.

    My developed understanding (open to improvement by Good Reasons) is:
    The Universal (Highest level) Objective is:

    • Improving awareness and understanding and applying that constantly improving knowledge to develop a sustainable constantly improving future for humanity.
    • The understanding of the viable sustainable future for humanity is: A robust diversity of people sustainably fitting in to the robust diversity of life on this, and other, amazing planets.
    • Another way to understand the Universal Objective is from the perspective of Future Generations: What sustainably helps the future generations into the distant future?

    The lack of progress in developing the required corrections and new developments is due to the success of people who strive to compromise the awareness and understanding in regional populations to incorrectly and harmfully develop 'Combative Tribes of fearful and angry people who are determined to oppose the improved understanding of required corrections and new developments - tribes that powerfully resist correcting developed things that undeniably need to be corrected'.

    I have just started reading “I'm Right and Your an Idiot” by James Hogan, after finishing a book that comprehensively presents the case that socioeconomic-political systems can develop unjust and harmful results for “Others”. And system corrections often appear to be the only way to end the harmful actions. And those system corrections involve not allowing any In-Group to continue to be unaware of, or incorrectly understand, the perspectives of All Others, especially correcting In-groups that develop hatred for specific Out-groups (like bullies target their victims, rather than engaging with the entire population, and often believe they are the victims of actions of Others who try to correct them).

    A related book is “The Opposite of Hate” by Sally Kohn. It is about the way that people you would consider to be decent and kind if you met them can be motivated by basic desire for inclusion and status to join 'In-groups with desires for status relative to Others' and become intensely combative and harmful to Others socially, economically and politically (yes, how the Nazi's in Germany got the population to do the horrific things they all participated in. But also how the horrors of Rwanda happened in a population that had been 'getting along fine with their diversity', and how it would be possible for the same to happen in any supposedly advanced nation today).

    The book highlights the importance of Systemic Thinking or Holistic Thinking, seeing the larger picture, having a larger worldview. Her book presents the case that a history of systemic actions have developed In-groups among the current population with incorrect perceptions. Those incorrect In-groups fail to understand the harmful systemic history that developed the current situation. And they fail to consider the perspective of the Out-groups they have a developed disliking for (or just a lack of concern for, which can be just as harmful). They resist improving their awareness and understanding. They focus on defending and increasing the perceptions of self-image or Status of their In-group.

    A larger worldview (consideration of all of humanity now and into the far future) is challenged by harmful people who encourage people to join them in an In-group that believes itself to be a victim when Others (not their in-group) try to correct the incorrect beliefs and perceptions of status relative to others that their In-group has unjustifiably developed.

    That type of In-group does not care to improve its awareness and understanding of what is going on when that improved awareness would be contrary to their interests. They divisively polarize themselves away from that improved understanding. Those In-groups can develop a powerful dislike/hate for those not in their In-group. And they can get angrier if the facts of their incorrectness get pointed out. This can be seen to be happening regarding the need to rapidly curtail the burning of fossil fuels. The In-group of people who have developed incorrect perceptions of their status relative to others as a result of flaws in the socioeconomic-political systems want to maintain their developed undeserved perceptions of status.

    There is an In-group that is undeniably correct. And it should 'correct Others'. The corrective actions will justifiably negatively affect developed perceptions of status of that group of Others. However, it can be expected that those corrective efforts will result in the 'Others that need to be corrected' perceiving themselves (their In-group) as being harmed by the corrective efforts. The undeniably harmful and incorrect In-group will easily develop a powerful incorrect belief that they are 'the victims'. And to maintain the perception that they are Victims, they deliberately resist improving their awareness and understanding. They deliberately do not want to understand the perspective of those correcting people who are clearly not in their In-group. They especially resent having it pointed out that their desired actions are harmful to the future of humanity (because they believe that the best future for humanity will develop if they are freer to believe what they want and do as they please - doing harm to Others while excusing the harm done any way they think they can get away with like claiming the unsustainable perceptions of wealth from burning fossil fuels will solve the future problems created by that unsustainable and harmful activity.).

    From that perspective, the concern for the future of humanity, it is correct for the objectives to be clearly what is best for the future of humanity, achieving and improving on all of the Sustainable Development Goals, not compromising the future of humanity just because an In-group has developed interests that are harmful to the future of humanity.

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  9. John McKeon @7, I'm a New Zealand citizen. I take a little bit of interest in American politics because Im interested in politics and its hard to avoid American politics, Trump is in our news virtually every day.

    Carbon fee and dividend is an economic mechanism applied to an environmental problem. There is a substantive difference between that and quality healthcare, minimum wages etc. I'm surprised you can't see this.

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  10. OPOF @7,  yes there is a relationship between environmental, social and economic ideas, but mix those goals up in a single document called a Green Plan and we are just handing the GOP an easy weapon to cry socialism or expensive free public healthcare and other inane and misleading but effective scaremongering, then the green goals become discredited by association. It needs to be about strategy.

    I would have had two plans, a green plan and an economic plan. Yes there is overlap obviously, but they are not one and the same thing.

    I do like the fact the Democrats have a Green Plan, something comprehensive,  rather than just a couple of isolated ideas that would get lost among so many other political policies.

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  11. Well I think Green New Deal actually typifies a lot of what is wrong with US politics, speaking as arm chair observer living in NZ. Under "it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal" you would applaud the first 4 points as aspirational goals dealing with problems that need to be addressed. No issue.

    The fifth point would be a short precise of what right-wing would call the "the liberal agenda" and frankly would doom it. Now I dont disagree with many of those points but getting a green deal on the earlier points is going to need votes from some of those who would see this item as a serious red flag. Worse, it just plays into the hands of those promoting the idea that climate change is a manufactured crisis pushed by a nefarious conspiracy of international illuminati to undermine capitalism and "freedoms". They would see the Green New Deal as a trojan horse and possibly with some justification.

    There are also points there I think are fundimentally unobtainable and/or undesirable. A changing social landscape is a given. You cannot necessarily fix "deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities". When a mine is exhausted it closes. Mechanised agriculture needs less labour. It would be like trying to mandate a continuation of blacksmiths and lively stables.

    "achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability"

    Come on, that is a frustration matrix - might as well try to legislate on 2nd law of thermodynamics. Try "optimal" instead of "maximal".

    It looks to me like a bunch of good ideas have been torpedoed by ideologues by providing a target-rich document to those who will oppose it. I would be amazed if this could be sold to american people and worse still it may poison the ground for more sensible future proposals.

    Idealogues are the bane of politics no matter what the colour. Now is the time for pragmatistics like no other.

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  12. Will some one please run some experiments to prove their theories before we make laws that may be going after the wrong culprit. Stop relying on statistical correlation and statistical models to condemn CO2. A statistical correlation is not a proof.
    Let’s test the Beer Lambert law which is the dominate physical law that governs greenhouse gases and radiation absorption. Lets run an experiment to see how important CO2 is in gw. Bill Nye (the science guy) has already done one experiment with two 1 liter soda bottles one filled with air and one filled with CO2 on a dark table with thermometers installed (and the sun shining). The bottle with the CO2 got very hot. Beer Lambert would predict those results. Let’s rerun the experiment with bottles (current air CO2 and pure CO2) that are 16 meters in diameter (distance of reflected radiation from the table). Beer Lambert law says that they would be the same temperature after thermal mixing. Beer lambert predicts that no mater how large the bottles anything larger than 16 meters would still be the same temperature when the air is allowed to mix (bigger the bottles the longer the mixing time). At 16 meters the mixing equilibrium should not take long – mins vs hrs. A fan in each bottle would eliminate the mixing time variable. The energy comes from the radiation not the gas, when the radiation (of CO2’s frequency’s) is gone the heating stops.
    A lot of assumptions in this experiment: the bottle would need to be made of some thing that was transparent to CO2 frequency’s, natural thermal mixing must not be impaired, the bottles must be insulated from outside heat transfer, albedo of the surface must be the same and sufficient to generate CO2 frequency’s, no water in the bottles, a bottle is probably not the best shape, and sun shining. In other words, just as close to earth’s atmosphere as possible with just the CO2 variable.
    Another way to run the experiment is to take Bill Nye’s bottles 16 meters above the table. Beer lambert law would predict that both bottles would be the same temperature because they are beyond the saturation distance of current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. In this experiment we can make the table as big as we like we just can’t change the albedo. The bottle material of construction in this experiment must not have any albedo effect.
    For water the beer lambert law says the bottles needs to be about 100 meters in diameter.
    Does anyone know of any experiments like this?
    If these experiments prove Beer Lambert law works for CO2 in our atmosphere it shows that Beer lambert is the dominate greenhouse law and CO2 is already saturated (enough) in the atmosphere, more or less (down to 20ppm) will not change the temperature. But this does not change the significant statistical correlation of CO2 to gw. A statistical correlation is not a proof (unless used in a scientifically designed experiment). I would start looking else where for the cause of gw. I would put high priority on things that also correlate to CO2. My bet is albedo.
    I don’t have any ideas on how to prove the “radiation forcing” theory proposed by the IPCC. I have read experiments that demonstrate radiation forcing with light of CO2 frequency’s supplied. The fact that NASA and other researcher have not detected any radiation of CO2 frequency’s in the troposphere makes CO2 specific radiation forcing doubtful.

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] This is extremely confused. You need to read closely how the greenhouse effect work. Experiments in a lab measure the radiative properties of gases, but GHE is something that depends on these and the temperture/pressure in the atmosphere. Because it is critical to many application, the effect of the atmosphere on radiation passing through it has been deeply studied. The observation base used by climate models originated with the USAF (MODTRAN). The increase of radiation warming the surface due to the GHE has been directly measured. See here for most recent experiment. Observation match the theory at multiple levels.

    "The fact that NASA and other researcher have not detected any radiation of CO2 frequency’s in the troposphere makes CO2 specific radiation forcing doubtful."

    Please provide a reference for this statement (Otherwise it is simply sloganeering and not compliant with policy). I suspect you have either misunderstood material or been misled by a misinformation site.

  13. Blaisct @12 ,

    your ideas about CO2 are quite confused.  "Saturation" has no direct relevance to global warming / greenhouse effect.

    On SkepticalScience, you can educate yourself by reading the Climate Myths [see top left corner of the page] or reading a number of other threads discussing the mechanisms of greenhouse gas actions.  This is very basic science indeed.  Think of (your possible namesake?) Blaise Pascal and his intelligent approach of learning and thinking about problems ~ and coming to intelligent solutions.

    Once you have understood the physical realities, then you can move on to the best political approaches to abating the AGW problems.

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  14. Scaddenp @11, yes exactly. I don't understand why people cant see this.

    However I dont think pragmatistics is a word. I think you meant "pragmatists",  or "pragmatism" and I'm all in favour of this. Gareth Morgan is basically a pragmatist in some ways, sadly not a great sales person.

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  15. Venus has an atmosphere of nearly pure CO2, (through nearly all layers) and surface temperatures of 460 deg.c that have been attributed directly to the CO2. So it seems logical to suggest if we keep adding CO2 to Earths atmosphere warming will continue until we reach something similar. It certainly looks like earth has a way to go before the greenhouse effect 'saturates'.

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  16. From the OP - I think that the socioeconomic aspects are part of the "New Deal", while the "Green" refers to the climate change/ecological aspects. Don't make the mistake of assuming that the "Green" portion means this is strictly about the ecology. 

    It's definitely ambitious, and definitely won't go anywhere. But if I interpret it correctly, it's a first shot across the bow, a first point of disccusion regarding these topics in a town where nothing of this scale has been seriously considered since Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

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  17. Seems to me more like a shot into own bows, sinking the ship. I suspect this will put climate action in the US even further back but I would love to be proved wrong. Ideally, the GOP should respond with a counter-deal without the junk but I think flying bacon is more likely.

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  18. I think it was quite worthwhile. I am certain this particular proposal won't go anywhere as written, but the Overton Window, the the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse, is moving as a result.

    I see clear changes occurring in political discourse due to AOC's "70% marginal tax rate" discussion, for example (the norm in the US from the 30's to the 70's, but not now), and expect the same of the Green New Deal. 

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  19. I suspect the public will like The Green New Deal and polls suggest they do here, but I suspect politicians will hate it particularly the GOP.

    America has developed a total schizophrenia between the population and politicians. A lot of this is probably due to the huge influence of lobby groups and financial donations. It's the same everywhere but seems particularly obvious in America.

    But a lot of it comes down to how its funded. Thats when the real debate will start.

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  20. We can have as many new green deals as we want and the MPs will nod their heads and agree with each of them and then go off and do the bidding of their financers.  Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.

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  21. nigelj says:

    “Carbon fee and dividend is an economic mechanism applied to an environmental problem. There is a substantive difference between that and quality healthcare, minimum wages etc. I'm surprised you can't see this.”

         Thank you for setting me straight about your home country. By the way, of course I can contemplate and discuss quality healthcare and minimum wages and environmental policies, all as distinct issues.

         Decarbonising economies is a huge task and very, very necessary. It will be transformative in every which way. We might not make it without a lot of casualties*, but what else is there to do but try to get this massive project rolling faster and hope for the best for our descendants.

    [*Casualties from environmental events, including starvation and disease, and casualties of conflict engendered by humanity’s flagging environmental fortunes.]

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  22. KR - actually that is a good point. Thanks for injecting some hope. Nigelj - the public support in the poll was based on a paraphrase of text which  pretty much asked if you support motherhood and apple pie. The numerous attack points in the actual text will see that support plummet as the detail becomes known.

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  23. I see many comments that appear to be based on the belief that compromising understanding for the benefit of incorrectly developed popularity and profitability is required (another way of referring to beliefs that the current controlling interests of the likes of the GOP need to be allowed to compromise what is actually understood to need to be corrected to develop a sustainable better future for humanity).

    The Tribes that encourage people to be greedier and less tolerant of diversity and try to keep their regional and global collectives United to have more power to resist correction are a serious "developed and developing" problem.

    That harmful development needs to be corrected. Believing it is possible to get better results out of an understandably corrupted system without correcting the serious flaws and errors that have developed in the system is like that classic definition of Insanity.

    The United Tribes like the GOP need to be broken up for Good Reason. Either the GOP will end up correcting itself or it will have no future (and will do as much harmful resistance to correction as it can get away with).

    The ability of groups like the GOP to evade exposure of their members to the understanding of their collective unacceptability is a serious problem that needs to be corrected.

    Each action in the Sustainable Development Goals can be a wedge in the likes of the GOP, as long as the people trying to improve the understanding of the incorrectly developed beliefs among the likes of the GOP Unite in support of all of the Sustainable Development Goals. The alternative, a fracturing of the efforts to correct all that is collectively incorrect about the GOP, is likely exactly what the Tribal Leaders of the GOP want. They want to see Climate Action people arguing against Social correction people, or against other pursuers of different environmental or social or political corrections. The likes of the GOP do not want to see anything "change contrary to their interests". They really do not want to see "All Others Uniting to Correct Them".

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  24. The Green New Deal is not intended to be a massive single piece of legislation.

    The Objectives of the Green New Deal need to be understood to lead to a collective diversity of required legislative corrective actions, like the Sustainable Development Goals are understood to be collectively required (nothing sustainable is achieved if only some parts of the holistic objective are achieved - but admittedly climate action is a significant element of the set of objectives).

    Trump won partially because the Demorcats missed reaching out to and connecting with all of the economically and socially disadvantaged. However, a failure of the likes of the Democrats to correct misunderstandings about "what is helpful and what is harmful and what is really going on", is not a good reason to compromise improved understanding.

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  25. Whatever we do, I am tending to think it will too little, by orders of magnitude, too late. Humans are failing because of the flaws in their nature. We continue playing our little games while massive changes are taking place right in front of our eyes, geological scale events that command far less attention from the public than some famous girl's dress color on some day.

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  26. John McKeon @21

    "Decarbonising economies is a huge task and very, very necessary. "

    Yes, and hopefully nobody would argue with that. And something about The Green New Deal is connecting with people because they are noticing it and talking about it. Perhaps because it's a bold statement and comprehensive, and unequivocal something thats been a little lacking from people like Hilary Clinton. I dont see anyone who is environmentally conscious writing it off as complete rubbish either, so its being talked about for the right reasons.

    But the devil is in the detail. Like I said thats when real discussion will start. How do we fund such a massive government infrastructure spend? From what I hear the plan proposes either deficit financing or money creation. Given the economic costs appear to be around 1.5% of gdp this might well be possible, but its going to be a political battle, and imho a carbon tax avoids many of these difficulties.

    And then there's the question of the social provisions. The messages are fine by me, but is the Green New Deal the right document to deliver them in? Yes as OPOF points out the plan is not going to be put up as one piece of legisation, but by mixing so many things together in one document negative reactions against the social provisions will be used as an excuse to label the green provisions socialist (they aren't imho but you know what I mean). People will say remember The Green New Deal....It's stupid mud slinging, but why invite it?

    But the plan is an honest, open statement of what The Democrats stand for and takes a stand over a set of values. Something to really admire in that. Maybe this will win through in the end.

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  27. OPOF @24, well said.  I differ slightly with

    the Sustainable Development Goals are understood to be collectively required (nothing sustainable is achieved if only some parts of the holistic objective are achieved - but admittedly climate action is a significant element of the set of objectives).

    I would say rather that if we don't address anthropogenic global warming immediately, we won't have the option to do the others. IMHO, a 'market-driven' transition to a carbon-neutral global economy is achievable without broad social upheaval, through policies like a US national Carbon Fee and Dividend. It would only be a quick fix, not addressing the fallacy of endless economic growth, but it would postpone the urgency of that debate. There's no reason to stop debating, of course, but I predict a well-designed CF&D with BAT will lead to a quicker climate fix than reorganizing global society from top to bottom. 

    That said, a stable global population with a steady-state, 100% renewable or recycled economy would seem to be our only long-term alternative to eventual global economic and demographic collapse. Capping the warming only buys us time. Hopefully we won't approach stability by repeated over- and undershoot, albeit in a stable climate!

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  28. Mal Adapted,

    I agree with the importance of rapid action to minimize the climate change harm that is done to the future of humanity. But I would suggest that many significant recent global conflicts, including the Syrian and Sudan tragedies that were likely triggered by unanticipated climate events (prolonged droughts), were more due to incorrect Social, Economic and Political development than the climate change impacts.

    So climate change impacts do need to be urgently addressed, but the incorrect socioeconomic-political systems create more threats that are actually more immediate. So I would suggest it is important to "Add" climate action to the long understood need for Social, Economic and Political corrections (that include developing decent health care for all citizens of the USA and reversing things like Gerrymandering, Voter Suppression, and twisted Census Questions that the GOP have implemented (or tried to implement), in desperate attempts to prolong their ability to regionally win politically incorrectly).

    And it is important that the corrections implemented regarding climate change be done in concert with actions that also correct related already developed Social and Economic problems. The leadership of France blew it when they implemented a Carbon Fee without clear related programs to assist those already suffering who would be further negatively impacted. Even a Carbon Fee and Rebate program may be an inadequate way of addressing the existing developed Socio-Economic situations that require correction.

    I will close with a different perspective on Phillip's comment @25. The lack of responsible leadership regarding the required corrections of developed Socioeconomic-political systems through the past 30 years has developed larger more urgent problems that all need to be corrected. The likes of the current Winners of Control of the GOP would probably like more people to give up on caring about the future of humanity, but it is essential that the current GOP supporters who are incorrectly Loyal to the Authority they see as Puritan Protectors of the Status of their Tribe be exposed to how harmful and unfair, how fundamentally morally incorrect, their Tribal Leadership actually is. Much harm has been done by their incorrect unjustified Winning.

    The real problem is that the GOP Tribe, like other Unite the Right Tribes, is determined to remain United in resistance to correction of all of their collected interests that are undeniably in need of correction based on improved understanding, including resisting effective climate action. Their history of actions is very evident. They are United to resist correction. So even though a portion of the GOP say they support climate action, as long as they remain Loyal Followers of the current GOP Leadership they will vote against any effective correction even if it is understandably harmful to do so (even if they are nice helpful caring Family/Community people, they will support harmful actions to defend the Status of their Tribe).

    Sally Kohn's book is quite Enlightening regarding the tragic harmful Tribalness that has developed and can powerfully resist correction.

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  29. My statement about Unite the Right members (like the USA GOP) being "... Loyal to the Authority they see as Puritan Protectors of the Status of their Tribe" is based on the understanding presented by Jonathan Haidt in "The Righteous Mind".

    The Righteous Mind in a nut shell is that it is possible for humans to think that 'morality' is based on:

    • Help/Harm
    • Fairness
    • Loyalty to a Tribe
    • Subservience to or respect for Tribal Leadership
    • Perceptions of Cleanliness of their Tribe relative to Others
    • Freedom to do as you please

    Many members of humanity develop an understanding of morals that people are free to do as they wish as long as they are governed by:

    • Not harming Others
    • Being Fair to Others

    Others will willingly do harm to Others and be unfair to Others because they have become Loyal, Authority following, Defenders of the perceptions of Purity, Cleanliness and Superiority of Their United Right Tribes (they will deliberately compromise the moral concerns of harm and fairness in order to be Loyal, Subservient followers of the 'Authority in Their Tribe' and steadfast believers of the Superiority and the Purity of Their Tribe). As presented by Sally Kohn in "The Opposite of Hate" they will fight (even viciously) against anything they perceive as 'unacceptable', including fighting against improving their awareness and understanding of the harmful incorrectness of Their Tribe and its Leadership.

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  30. OPOF @29, yes that sounds right. Have a read of this:

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  31. Mal Adapted

    "That said, a stable global population with a steady-state, 100% renewable or recycled economy would seem to be our only long-term alternative to eventual global economic and demographic collapse."

    Correct, and I would go further and say this is inevitable. It will either be forced on us by deteriorating circumstances, and in a painful way with possibly increased mortality rates as the system becomes very stretched, or we can adopt it in a more timely and proactive way in the coming couple of decades, by trying to bend the population curve down more, and adopt more recycling and a more sustainable economy. And obviously also transition to renewable energy. Its a simple choice of a) or b).

    Unfortunately I'm in a gloomy mood and tend to think nothing much will change until its absolutely forced on us. We will go on using up resources at a huge pace. The best we might do on climate is stop warming getting above 3 degrees. The related issues are on such a vast scale, and humans have so many limitations that its hard to turn the ship around. I hope I'm wrong of course.


    Yes I agree clearly we should tackle climate and socio economic goals in parallel, and as part of one cohesive philosophy that puts fairness and sustainability at the top of the list. Thats what political parties do or should be doing. But Green New Deals should stick to environmental issues, and those that clearly overlap with them, not issues about healthcare etc.

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  32. nigelj,

    My understanding is that linking the required massive corrections of climate action (more massive today because of immoral behaviour of some leaders/Winners, particualrly through the past 30 years) with actions that will also correct unfair and harmful developments, like the poor health care for many in the USA, is a way to pull people out of the Tribal brainfreeze of their harmful membership in a Tribe that promotes and Unites unjust attitudes and actions that are based harmful on things like Greed and Intolerance.

    Morality should clearly be Universally governed by the objective of Do No Harm, with an aspiration to Help Others, especially the future generations. The problem is that the other 5 potential basic human inclinations (those other measured triggers of behaviour) can be encouraged to over-rule the Help/Harm principle.

    The other motivations/triggers for human behaviour are not actually Moral Justifications. They are undeniable real basic motivations. But Morally and Ethically they all need to be governed by the Universal Moral/Ethical Objective of "Improving awareness and understanding of what is really going on and applying that improving knowledge to help develop sustainable improvements for global humanity into the distant future - As a minimum Do No Harm to that pursuit (the largest worldview)"

    The Green New Deal is aligned with that understanding (as are the Sustainable Development Goals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

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  33. Tonight's (Feb 14, 2019) Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC included an interview with Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee Chair.

    His comments included stating that the Democrat debates would be about how to improve action on Climate Change and Health Care, two major components of the Green New Deal.

    The Democrats appear to see the pairing of Climate Action with Health Care Action as a robust combined basis for exposing the harm of the United Right opposition to such actions.

    And the addition of the other points that the United Right are also harmfully Wrong about could actually result in some 'long-time Republican supporters' changing their minds about what Party they are currently interested in supporting. Tribal Loyalty and beliefs about Tribal superiority can be limited if the harmful nature of the top of the Tribal hierarchy is undeniably exposed.

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  34. One side effect of universal healthcare is the loss of some degree of personal liberty, and in many cases the imposition of taxes and levies. 

    Examples include having to wear a helmet when riding a bike or wearing a seat belt in a motor vehicle, with non-compliance resulting in fines or a loss of license etc. 

    Where I live in Australia we've just been informed that our motor vehicle registration will be cancelled if we have faulty airbags.

    It may sound trivial but there's no doubt that universal health care does create something of a "nanny state".

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  35. The Nanny state argument holds for health care until people need it. No advocate of personal freedom I know can muster the personal responsibility to not use the health care available when they need it badly. Ideology doesn't weigh much in the face of acute appendicitis with rupture and septic shock. I find this argument to be total nonsense. One doesn't get to opt out of life's risks. Everyone can break a leg and need an ORIF. Who has the balls to say no because they decided to opt out of coverage on the basis of personal conviction? 

    Any kind of insurance model works like this: you pay for it so you can benefit from it if you need it, which happens unexpectedly. During all that time when you don't need it, you payments help those who do. When you happen to need it, it's there for you. For health care, which is quite expensive, it only works if everybody pitches in. If you drive a car, you're exposed to accident risk, no matter how good you think you are. If you're living life, you're exposed to illness risks, no matter how healthy you think you are.

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  36. Philippe Chantreau, I'm not suggesting that the negatives with universal (government) healthcare outweigh the positives, just pointing out that there's the inevitably of a nanny state.

    Medicare in Austrlia, where I live, is very successful overall, and for many older retired folk unable to afford private health care it's a godsend of course.

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  37. Art Vandelay,

    The Nanny State claim is negative trigger-wording made-up by people who are not interested in improving awareness and understanding and applying that knowledge to hep develop sustainable improvements for the future of humanity.

    Any limit on freedom to believe whatever you want and do as you please can be Framed as "Nanny-Statism" or "Socialism" (which has also been made into a negative trigger-term by the same people who made-up the term Nanny-State).

    The improved safety of vehicles only happened through Nanny-State imposition of improved Standards and Specification. And the improved safety of bike helmets also only happened that way.

    So the Nanny-State/Socialism can actually be a Very Good Thing. It is just that having "Reduction of harm to Others" and "Helping Others" imposed is contrary to the developed preferences of some people. The Cultures/Systems that develop those type of people (resistant to improving their awarness and understanding, and resisting reduction of harm to Others, and resisting helping Others), require correction.

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  38. Art Vandelay - 'Nanny state' wrt healthcare is a poor assertion. You have the choice of either (a) a government run program where you have the power of a vote and elected representation to correct excesses, or (b) being subject to the commercial whims of assorted insurance companies.  Not a single nanny, but rather a raft of them, all rather viciously focused on their profits rather than your wellbeing. 

    I've been in companies where we lost insurance (had to go to far more expensive vendors) due to one or two employees with 'preexisting conditions', otherwise known as health histories. I see people who for various reasons suffering interruptions in insurance going bankrupt or dying because they cannot afford uninsured medications for heart problems or insulin. 

    We pay for roads, streetlights, sewage and water services, and (for quite a while now in the US) Social Security as a baseline retirement investment. Health care is entirely reasonable as a social common good. And it would be far cheaper to do that as a single-payer system than the current structure. 

    [On the point of costs: it's estimated that the proposed US "Medicare-for-all" would cost ~$32T over ten years. Sounds expensive. Until you realize that under the current system we're on track for spending ~$50T over ten years, meaning that a single-payer system would save almost 40%]

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  39. KR, I'm not advocating national health care, just pointing out that there are trade off's wrt some individual freedoms, where the government seeks to protect people against themselves through fines and taxes etc. For example, high taxes on cigarettes, taxes on alcohol, and in future there's likely to be a sugar tax, a salt tax, a fat tax etc.  

    Where I live in Australia we have private and public health systems operating in parallel, so if someone wants a non-essential or non-urgent medical treatment, they must do so via the private system. Also, if you want an urgent medical proceedure to be performed by a surgeon of your own choice you'll need to use the private system. 

    For a person earning an average salary of $80,000 they will pay a healthcare levy of about $1600 pa and if they choose private insurance too, an extra $2000 - 3000 per year on average. 

    For a high income earner (>$200k) the levy increases to >$4000, though most high income earners use the private system because the standard is higher.

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  40. Unfortunately yes, we have to protect people against themselves, because once the consequences of their behavior hit, consequences of which they were informed in most cases nowadays, these people don't want to die just yet, and they don't want to suffer too much either. However, given  a choice beforehand, these same people would rather not pay for health care, but engage in the risky behaviors anyway. The problem is that everybody has to shoulder the consequences of their beahviors, not just them. And also, we don't tell them when consequences hit that they're flat out of luck, humans are funny that way. So, it is inevitable indeed that society take steps to make the whole thing viable. That includes actively discouraging wrong choices when it is patent that, satistically, too many will make the wrong choices. In Switzerland, health insurance is completely private, but having it is not an option; those who persists in not getting one are assigned one by default, and then have to pay the premiums. That's the only way the system can work, whether we like it or not. People have strange ways of doing risk assessment and risk/benefit analyses; they also have addictive behaviors, from heroin to sugar. I have never heard the ideologues whining about the Nanny state proposing anything fundamentally different that would be workable in reality.

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  41. I think a system of compulsary private health insurance is prefereable from a libertarian perspective, and it should also have the effect of making people more responsible for their own actions, by virtue of a direct financial imposition from higher premiums, or from a glass-half-full perspective, a financial reward for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

    Having personally witness societal transition from private to public health cover I don't think it's a coincidence that people are now less personally responsible and less inclined to take control of their lives and destinies than they were 30 or more years ago.    

    Ideally we do want a welfare system to operate as a safety net for people who for no fault of their own fall through the cracks, but at the same time we need to foster more positive individual cultures, where people act instinctively in positive ways for themselves as well as those around them.  

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  42. Art Vandelay,

    My comment regarding a comparison of Private Health Care and Public Health Care (the real issue), is the essential need for all actions to be governed in a way that results in developing sustainable helpful actions  and rapidly identifying and terminating harmful actions (exactly the same principle that applies to climate change and the need to terminate the harmful burning of fossil fuels).

    Pursuit of profit and popularity has been conclusively proven to develop unsustainable and harmful activities and powerful resistance to correcting them (climate science being a powerful case proving that point).

    Therefore, the only legitimate way to operate any system of pursuit of status based on popularity and profit is rigorous monitoring and enforcement of the principle of requiring people to be helpful, especially the higher status people, and the rapid termination of any harmful actions regardless of their developed regional popularity or temporary profitability (again - refer to the climate science case).

    So I am all for Public or Private Health Care as long as the Universal Moral Principle is governing what is going on. Governing Public Health Care systems is also required (some people can be expected to attempt to get higher status in harmful unsustainable ways in any system - just like politics needs to be governed by the Universal Principle, not just allowed to develop however it may develop based on profit and popularity), but it is easier to do that in a Public System than attempting to govern Private Systems, especially systems where private enterprises can claim the public do not have any right to know the details of what the Private Enterprise is actually doing.

    There are many concerns regarding dual Health Care systems (with people able to pay for Private Services rather than wait their turn in a Public System) including:

    • Richer people will be tempted to push for lower taxes and less funding for Public Health Care because the tax reduction for th richer person is larger than their likely medical expenses.
    • Richer people may be able to push for 'better Private medical treatment' than is available in the Public system. Everybody should have comparable quality of care.

    The way that parallel Private and Public would work best (and maybe the only way it would really develop a Good Result), is if all treatment is provided by the same group of people and institutions, with a richer person being able to Pay More to jump a wait-list for treatment without causing an unacceptable delay in treatment for the general population. Everyone gets the same treatment in a reasonable time through the Public System, with the impatient richer people paying premiums to get quicker treatment as long as spare capacity exists in the system.

    One exception would be unnecessary medical treatments which could be totally unregulated and for-profit. I see little value in expending public effort to limit the potential harm of unnecessary totally elective medical procedures chosen by people simply concerned about 'enhancing their image'. Of course, reconstructive plastic surgery for genetic impairments and accident repair would be in the Public System. And the specialists in those areas could perform such treatments for a premium when helpful treatments are not in high demand. But that talent should not delay any necessary helpful treatments just to 'do an expedited unnecessary treatment'.

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