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A 'Green New Deal' Needs to Be Global, Not Local

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/02/green-new-deal-needs-be-global-not-local

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YES, YES and it needs to be LOCAL and Right NOW! Since WW 2… America has been the nefarious nation—but it is stupidly amazing that America didn’t stop warring and seems to be heading for WW 3. It’s like we’ve been warring since Bush/ Cheney and has never stopped!
We are almost a fifth of the way to warring as we head towards the 22nd century.
Now we have Trump. Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams killing people with sanctions.

Yesterday I saw a video on the Atlantic, or the maybe the BBC —about the 140,000 U.S. soldiers who were used as guinea pigs for the testing for years after the bombing of the Japanese.
OMG, they were heeded into dirt barriers and given helmets and gas masks and they were used as an experiment when bombs were tested They were told nothing else. Worst of all. they were told if they ever told about what they experienced that they would be put in prison forever for treason! They kept quiet for the longest time---- and it’s even worse to hear the ones who are still alive— they -speak of all the horrors of what was done to them and have the military diss them and threaten them if they ever spoke of this. SO we need an end of warring, or it will be the ending of Earth----end the war—end the oil and truly clear the air. so that it’s breathable for all?.Like Kermit the frog sang, " It’s not easy being GREEN, "but there’s no other way!

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This is great perspective as far as it goes but it still is not being realistic in terms of “demand” for energy. From the article:

If we are going to meet the scale of the challenge of keeping bellow 1.5°C, industries like solar, wind and battery storage will need to expand rapidly. Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles will require up to 43 percent of the world’s cobalt production and 50 percent of its lithium production by 2020, for example. Solar panels and magnets in wind turbines will require large quantities of other minerals and rare earths, such as neodymium, dysprosium and tellurium.

We need to look very seriously at DEMAND REDUCTION.

Reduced demand alongside reduced energy consumption is no simple matter. I can’t knowledgeably address the disparity between 1st and 3rd World nations nor labor and social injustice, but I usually try to make a point or two about transportation technology, fuel/energy consumption and land-use planning. Of the 3 basic electric vehicle technologies - all-battery BEV, plug-in hybrid PHEV, hydrogen fuel cell FCEV, which has the most potential to reduce fuel/energy consumption. The correct though counter-intuitive answer is the plug-in hybrid. Whaaat?

A Prius plug-in hybrid has a 5kwh battery pack that offers an all-electric range of only 20-miles but is rated at an effective 100mpg. A Tesla ‘S’ coupe has an 85kwh pack with a 200-mile range. We can dismiss fuel cell EV tech because ‘combustible’ hydrogen stores and is utilized at lower pressures in a hybrid engine. The Tesla ‘S’ has fewer incentives for driving less, whereas the plug-in hybrid limits the all-electric range and would be more expensive to drive further based on the fuel, including combustible hydrogen.

Households with a small battery PHEV are matched to a similarly small rooftop solar array, yet gain all the benefits of households with large battery BEVs with matching large rooftop solar array. Benefits include the EV backup power supply especially important in grid failure. Once an EV alone can power basic household needs, the means to more closely monitor and reduce energy consumption for household use and for driving. The shorter driving range of PHEVs supports local economic development whereby more trips become possible without having to drive, whereby walking, bicycling and mass transit - all more energy efficient than EVs alone - may serve more travel needs.

This is one of the main applications of transportation technology to seriously consider rather than dismiss just because it does not call for 100% zero-emission energy.

Here’s a rule of thumb to consider equitable resource distribution. We can power 1 electric (550kwh pack) freight truck, 6 Tesla ‘S’ sport coupes, or 100 plug-in hybrids. And when the PHEV battery pack must be replaced at 100,000 miles, its use can be more readily extended for a couple years as ‘stationary’ household energy supply for low-power uses. Not as simple to do with the huge Tesla battery pack. Question: Why then are GM & Ford cancelling their hybrid models? There’s no good answer to that one.

We need world socialism and the abolition of the nation-state


Interesting video from my archives:

HARRY BRAUN, Congress 1984 - Solar-Hydrogen


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We’ll also need a pretty good world wide oppression apparatus staffed with hard core supporters to keep any dissenters in check. Otherwise your ideas will never work.

These people will have to be at the same level of privilege as the socialist leadership, however that would be organized. Otherwise they would susceptible to corruption.

The lithium part is mostly unavoidable (if we are all driving BEV cars, we will need a lot of lithium). Sure, ride sharing, efforts to reduce miles driven or whatever will matter, but even in best case scenarios we need a lot of lithium. South America may benefit economically from the needed mining assuming they do so with some reasonable environmental constraints. We need to make sure we can easily recycle lithium batteries which currently is driven primarily by the cobalt recovery which is much more expensive than the lithium. The drive to replace cobalt is strong though and several companies are working that problem (https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/11-lithium-ion-battery-makers-that-dont-need-cobalt#gs.gmma4y). Currently going cobalt free reduces the energy density which makes using the battery in a BEV not very appealing but companies aren’t giving up: https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/21/17488626/elon-musk-cobalt-electric-vehicle-battery-science.

From my perspective, assuming that we can continue driving forward with the same habits, powered by a different energy system, is wildly unrealistic.

We need to drive FAR less, and fly almost not at all.

If this seems “unrealistic,” try to live in a dis-integrated ecology. That’s not a dystopian fantasy, that is happening. In my lifetime, well over HALF of ALL animal wildlife is gone. That’s not from atmospheric carbon, it’s from land use, agriculture, transportation, development. And animal wildlife is just one of many measures of cascading, accelerating, ecological disintegration.

We need to pull back from our industrial footprint on Earth. No one wants to even think the thought, or follow the implications, but it is simply, ecologically, scientifically, true.

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It’s a tough problem to solve for sure. In general I don’t think campaigns to get individuals to adjust their habits just because they should will ever work in the US. I support a carbon tax, government incentives for people to make their houses or landlords to make their apartment buildings more efficient. I support outright bans on some current commercial activity (e.g. I’d ban many pesticides and other toxic chemicals and we need to get to the point where we can pretty much ban most disposable plastics as soon as possible - I’d ban fracking too). But telling people they have to drive less or fly less isn’t going to fly. Getting enough people to vote for a carbon tax that is going to reduce the total amount of airplane travel (both in substituting for train travel and in reducing business or pleasure travel) is a possibility.

I use about 10-15 kWh per day for my car which I realize is a lot - I’m sure some people here can get by with less energy than this in total. But the amount I drive is pretty inelastic. I’m not changing jobs or houses and I don’t get to travel all that much, but I’d probably opt to travel more if I could (I did a lot more when I was younger). I’m guessing quite a lot of the US population is in this inelastic situation. But getting them into electric cars is certainly an improvement.

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I agree with webwalk about the need to drive and fly (and truck and ship goods) much less. We can’t honestly assume that converting to EVs alone is enough to avoid environmental catastrophe. Selling the idea to the public will require the carrot more than the stick approach. How would common livelihoods improve were we unable to travel and transport as much and as far as we do today?

My background in mass transit design is aligned with urban/suburban development theory in Portland Oregon. During my 25 years at it, Portland expanded its light rail system from 1 line of 13 miles to 5 lines of 55 miles with 93 stations, plus 8 miles of streetcar. A full build out of Portland’s light rail calls for another 20 miles on existing lines and 2 miles of subway. However, Portland, (like all US cities), is woefully behind in its bus system (bus type, schedule and route) on ~ 600 miles of bus route.

Transport, travel and mass transit are considered alongside development whereby more travel needs can be met for most people without having to daily drive such long distances or not at all. The Portland metropolitan area (30-mile diameter with 24 small cities within) is a model for how to direct regional development to achieve this goal of vastly improving the same livelihoods without having to drive. Walking, bicycling and mass transit would support local economies that are much less dependent upon outside corporate influence. All costs of living could be reduced by half.

All neighborhoods would become more integrated and secure. Food production and manufacture of basic goods would become more local than global. Housing would become more affordable. Modern facilities of water supply and sewage treatment would receive due investment. The current regional utility grid would be complemented with rooftop and neighborhood solar arrays matched to plug-in hybrid and less common all-battery EVs. Most every household has a single EV ready to serve in an emergency. Autonomous Vehicle tech was rejected as a fraudulent ruse that Jeff Bezos was prosecuted for perpetrating. The name of Trump is not mentioned in polite company. This model vision of the future can be replicated across the nation and around the world.

This CD article was great for rounding up some points I am more and more coming to see as important…coming to see these particular points (in this particular article) anyway…46 days after this comment of yours Wellan…a little late I guess. More contributions have emerged since supporting the thesis, and I keep trying to round up the ones I come across.

Thanks for getting back to me even after 6 weeks.
Here’s my latest essay that strikes a hopeful note.

“The Walking Communities of 2040”

The original essay with this title was penned in 1997 to grace the back cover of a transit proposal submitted to Portland City Council where it received a formal review and was awarded merit. Twenty years later with significant progress achieved in light rail projects nationally, mass transit still fails to address ever growing traffic woes nor soothe environmental nightmares predicted with global warming.

As today’s divestment in fossil fuel movement builds momentum, I remain certain that mass transit must receive redirected investment dollars. I am just as certain that self-driving car technology is a fraudulent ruse meant to distract public attention from actual solutions that include truly modern mass transit as a fundamental travel mode with the most potential to direct development beyond car dependency and traffic havoc.

The transit proposal is based on a design concept dubbed LOTi (Loop Oriented Transit Intermodal). Sometimes I refer to it as sort of missing link. Its closest model is Denver’s 16th Street Shuttle. The design application writ broadly is meant to reduce the cost and impact of light rail and transit centers; streamline both light rail and peripheral bus lines by avoiding circuitous routing; provide convenient transfers rail to bus and between bus lines with the least number of any suitable transit vehicle; and, to offer much more potential for transit-oriented infill mixed-use development.

The basic flaws of self-driving cars are simple enough: Their technological hurdles are plainly unsurmountable, they will never be completely safe. They won’t decrease traffic congestion, fuel/energy consumption nor emissions sufficient to prevent worst harm from catastrophic climate change. They are most unlikely to reduce travel-related cost of living. They won’t take full advantage of the benefits EVs offer, and the technology is supported for all the wrong reasons; to bust transit operator and teamster unions; to give freeway planners an excuse to predict worsening traffic can be managed with reckless tailgating; to maintain most profitable but least resilient regional utility grids despite decentralized EV+PV household backup power systems proven most complementary.

The most telling aspect of self-driving car folly is eliminating ownership whereupon all cars are kept in central garage locations and dispatched on demand. Never mind that in a grid failure, every household with an EV in the garage gains a backup power supply. Never mind any emergency where a car is needed immediately, not one that may arrive too late. Self-driving car tech completely denies those safety features and pretends ‘mass tailgating’ won’t produce horrific multi-car pileups. Self-driving tech in many ways puts safety dead last.

A household EV offers the means to more closely monitor and reduce energy consumption overall, both for driving and household use. Rooftop PV solar arrays are thee perfect match to EV battery packs. Perhaps most important, a household EV is an incentive to drive less, whereby more trips become possible without having to drive, whereby local economies grow and alternate modes of travel - mass transit, walking and bicycling - all more energy efficient than EVs alone - may serve more travel needs in this vision of walking communities in 2040. It’s last line, “Look, there’s a gas station. You don’t see too many them no more.”
Keep a copy and pass it around. Consider a civil action lawsuit charging fraud perpetrated by billionaires Bezos, Gates, Buffett and corporations GM, Ford, Daimler Truck, Google et al for their advocacy of self-driving autonomous vehicle technology proven to impossible safely and ineffective if it were. Legal action will get the most attention.