Monday, April 29, 2019

Beto’s Green New Deal

I am pleased to see that Beto O’Rourke has proposed his own version of a Green New Deal (summary on candidate website here, LA Times story here).

As I said in a previous posting (here), I believe that the overall Green New Deal concept – vigorously attacking climate change through (1) organizing a massive investment program around green infrastructure and (2) pricing out carbon, with lots of transitional and equity protections – is a sound way to go.

Beto’s version is very similar to the AOC/Markey approach, although with a tighter focus on climate change and fewer “socialist” components, such as guaranteed jobs (not that that will make it any more acceptable to the Grim Reaper of the Senate).

The initiative is basically a laundry list of policy proposals, organized under four broad action statements:
1.     Start Cutting Pollution on Day One and Taking Executive Actions to Lead on Climate
2.     Mobilize a historic $5 Trillion for Climate Change with Investment in Infrastructure, Innovation, and Our People and Communities
3.     Guarantee our Net-Zero Emissions Ambition by 2050
4.     Defend our Communities That Are Preparing for and Fighting Against Extreme Weather

As with the AOC/Markey version, there are general references to infrastructure but not much detail on transportation.  Here  are the major transportation-related bullets:
·      Adopt a policy of “setting a trajectory to rapidly accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles,”
·      “Transportation grants that cut commutes, crashes, and carbon pollution — all while reducing the costs paid by people and communities and boosting access to public transit,”
·      Adoption of a “legally enforceable standard” for phasing out GHG emissions, including a “clear price signal” (presumably pricing carbon through cap-and-trade or similar mechanism), and
·      “Advancing consumer choice and market competition in electricity and transportation” (not sure what this means).
It doesn’t bother me that there is detail missing at this point (my suggestions for starting to fill in the blanks for transportation are in my previous post here).  What’s important is that Beto is endorsing a bold program.  This also leads me to think that some sort of bold climate change initiative is going to become a standard policy component of every major Democratic campaign (I hold out no hope for the Republicans at this point).  An important step forward!