Today’s show is focused on climate change and in particular the proposal from the Left for a Green New Deal. With the Democrats having indeed captured the House of Representatives, progressives are pushing for an agenda that will help shape the contours of the 2020 presidential election. For too long, climate change has been a pressing issue that has been relegated to the back burner. For decades, the world’s scientists and people in the movement have been trying to get the broader public to understand the relatively short window we have for dramatic action to prevent an unfolding climate disaster that could bring a new dark age. In 1977, William Ophuls wrote Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity warning that democracy might not be up the challenge posed when the advanced economies of the world press hard on the natural world. Eight years ago, in Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, a book so named because the author said the old Earth had vanished, Bill McKibben told us that climate change had arrived and was not waiting for our grandchildren. Last week, in the wake of the California fires and the dire U.S. government report released on Black Friday predicting that global warming could cause the U.S. economy to shrink by 10% by 2100, McKibben published a New Yorker article about how extreme weather is rapidly shrinking the habitable areas of the globe.
Often, social movements and activism struggle for years and then, all of a sudden, political calculations change, and the dam bursts. Are we at a tipping point?
- Can alarm about climate change finally galvanize the public – and importantly our political leaders in Washington — to meaningful action?
- How do we grow the climate change movement exponentially?
- What set of policies can gain votes?
These are the questions we address.
Today we talk to three people leading the charge:
The Leader of the Sunrise Movement: The Climate Activist Group Shaking Up Washington, D.C.
William Lawrence is one of the leaders of the Sunrise movement, a climate activist group composed largely of young people, who three weeks ago sat in Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding that Democrats move aggressively on climate change. Along with Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other new members of Congress, Sunrise is pushing the Democratic leadership to set up a special Select Committee for a Green New Deal. There is resistance by the old-line committee chairs, but the call will be made by Nancy Pelosi. What will the Speaker-in-waiting do? Sunrise is organizing another Capitol Hill protest on Dec. 10.
Lead Author of the Green New Deal Proposal
Greg Carlock is a researcher in climate action policy and data based in Washington, D.C. and a senior advisor to the think tank, Data for Progress, where he recently was the lead author of a comprehensive green new deal policy report. He also has an article co-authored with Sean McElwee in The Nation, “Why the Best New Deal is a Green New Deal.”
A New Deal for Climate and Corporations
Robert Hockett is a professor of Law at Cornell University with a strong interest both in corporate governance and the economics of climate change. A Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Yale Law School, he is the author of a forthcoming book, A Republic of Owners. An advisor to Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Bob helped Senator Warren craft the Accountable Capitalism Act introduced in August and was part of the team that put the Green New Deal together.