USP 514 Session 14 Notes

November 16th
Session Fourteen:  
Green New Deal 



  1. Blueprint for Europe’s Just Transition –
    • Austerity is not a solution to the climate collapse.
      • Progress is expensive. You can’t get progress with austerity.
    • Economic inequality is another major problem facing civilization.
    • Democracies are collapsing around the world as a result of the unaddressed economic and climate crises.
      • These three things are tied together and can only be addressed together.
    • Background Process
      • Get everyone on board with understanding gnd
      • Listen to stakeholders and incorporate their feedback to create “the just transition”
      • Bring everything together to form a comprehensive vision
      • Bring the plans to the institutions
        • This is where this document comes in
    • Transform financialized capitalism into something that supports rather than threatens our long-term interests with regard to justice, equity, etc.
      • America is the “vampire mothership
        • The private sector sucks the blood of the country like a parasite while also exterminating the population and destroying the ecology that sustains the extractive, productive, and consumptive activities which the vampire capitalism relies on
    • Class discussion:
      • Main demands
        • 3-day weekend/4-day work work
          • More jobs, less work
        • Democratize the economy and society across workplaces and communities
        • Fair wages
          • People should be able to afford to live if they are working
        • Local job creation, including rural areas
      • Guarantee a basic income for industries that are being phased out
      • Fund government procurement from sustainable GND manufacturers
      • Use the GPW to fund major buyback programs for vacant housing stock
      • Penalize non-renewable investments
  2. Green New Deal Report, Data for Progress –
    • GND is necessary to meet the scale and urgency of environmental challenges facing America
    • GND can bring American job and economic opportunity
    • GND is popular among American citizens
    • GND can be environmentally just and distribute benefits equitably
    • GND is Financially feasible and necessary
  3. Creating a Road Map for a Green New Deal” –
    • AOC and others protested at the offices of Pelosi, demanding GND
    • Large scale projects are essential to resolve climate crisis
  4. “Can A Blue Wave Deliver A Green New Deal” –
    • More coverage of the same AOC/Pelosi protest



  1. Watch the video Clean and Resilient Recovery (1 hour 30 minutes) –

    1. Answer the 5 questions below in writing and be prepared to discuss them in class:
  2. What are the main points raised in this video about Covid 19, the SDGs and Climate Change?
    • The historic economic paradigms are inefficient, polluting, and not resilient.
    • Alternatives exist as articulated by the UN SDGs.
    • The post-covid recovery can be clean and resilient.
  3. What similarities and differences are different nations facing?
    • Everyone faces economic collapse due both to covid and climate change
    • Everyone faces disasters like covid and will continue to face wider challenges as the collapse of the biosphere progresses
    • Different countries have different access to investment capital to implement change
    • Different countries face different short and long-term threats from climate change
  4. What are the main challenges addressed in this video?
    • Covid is just a sneak peek of the disasters that are coming as a result of the climate collapse
    • Most of the crises we are going to face in the near future are either directly or indirectly related to the ongoing collapse of the biosphere
  5. What solutions are presented?
    • UK
      • As we recover from covid and rebuild, we can make wiser decisions about the kind of future we want.
      • We need to use sustainability and resiliency as the lens through which to view the recovery and rebuilding post-covid.
      • Subsidize clean alternative vehicle and transportation designs
    • Bangladesh
      • Scale up early warning systems for extreme storms
        • These investments save 10x the cost in lives and property damage
      • Covid recovery needs to be durable and resilient
        • Investment must be guided by and directed through these principles
      • SDG alignment is key to a resilient recovery
      • Supply chains need to be circular
      • Wellbeing and inclusiveness as central goals is key to securing long-term prosperity in addition to durability and resiliency
    • Korea
      • Smart grids to distribute sustainable and renewable energy
      • GND officially endorsed by federal govt
        • We can not go on like it was before.
          • Short term recovery measures must be in line with out long-term ecological interests
        • Decarbonization
          • Green innovation
          • Job creation
        • Three main pillars
          • Eco-friendly and smart infrastructure
          • Low-carbon energy infrastructure
            • Increasing renewable power capacity
            • Phasing out coal and other non-sustainable power sources
              • Ten coal plants closed already with six more scheduled to close
          • Green manufacturing
      • Covid reveals how fragile the existing economic systems are. This should be taken as a warning, since the climate disaster is going to be so much worse than covid.
    • Nigeria
      • It is now cheaper to provide sustainable energy versus unsustainable energy
    • Rwanda
      • Significantly increased their ambitious plans for SDG progress
      • Established covid economic recovery fund
        • Based on climate resilience strategy and action plan
      • Investing in climate action can accelerate covid recovery
    • Jamaica
      • Committed to establish low-carbon economic recovery from covid
      • Sustainable investments in renewable energy sector
      • Climate finance needs to be more accessible and more available
  6. How do the SDGs fit into the solutions?
    • Countries can choose to double down on the polluting and inefficient economic strategies of the past or choose sustainable alternatives as articulated by the SDGs?



  • The Green New Deal: Putting the climate at the heart of global policy – Jeremy Rifkin (9 minutes)
    • Animal and insect populations under threat around the world
    • Sea levels rising
    • Planet getting hotter because of fossil fuels
    • It’s not too late to change course
    • GND: Fossil fuel economy will collapse by 2028
      • GND is an aspirational document
      • Patterned after the new deal of the 1930s.
        • Roosevelt initiated massive programs to get people back to work
      • GND helps us move quickly out of a fossil fuel economy in order to avoid mass extinctions
        • We are on course to lose half the species on earth within the century.
    • Renewable solar energy is now cheaper than the other energy sources
      • This means a widespread economic collapse will happen in the energy sector because the capital invested in obsolete polluting energy sources is going to move to sustainable alternatives like solar
    • Every region and community needs to locally implement GND principles in order to move into the new era of sustainable energy production and consumption
    • Long-term equity (pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, etc.) moving out of bad bets on fossil fuels is a hugely powerful force for change.
    • Small sustainable pilot projects need to expand to huge widespread projects
      • This will allow long-term equity bets to move into these projects in a big way.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Breaks Down What the Green New Deal Really Is (5 minutes)
    • A proposed resolution or vision statement about building a sustainable future through investments in better alternatives to the status quo
      • This would inspire separate legislation to address each of the smaller ideas.
    • Affordable housing
    • Homelessness
    • Free education for all


Class Discussion

  • Played video of spoken word poem
    • If the lifespan of the earth is a day then humans have existed for three seconds and in that time basically wrecked everything, destroyed the environment, and initiated an extermination of the population including ourselves.
  • GND is the first attempt to meet the scale of the challenges of the climate crisis
    • Justice, equity, jobs, etc
    • Advocates for large government investments in programs and projects to resolve the crisis
  • The long-term actuarial perspective of institutional capital from sources like pension funds can be a powerful force for change through green investments in renewable energy, sustainability, and resilience in the developing world.