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An Ecosocialist Path to Limiting Global Temperature Rise to 1.5°C

By Richard Smith

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Key Excerpts:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Plan “is first of all, a definitive break with the Reagan-Thatcher-Friedman “capitalism good, government bad” doctrine which holds that the best role for governmenti is to “get out of the way and just incentivize the private sector.” Instead, the Plan calls for robust expansive government to drive the needed changes, for two reasons: (1) scale and (2) time: First, “The level of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient.” Besides, “private companies are wary of making massive investments in unproven research and technologies; the government, however, has the time horizon to be able to patiently make investments in new tech and R&D, without necessarily having a commercial outcome or application in mind at the time of the investment.” Second: “The speed of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies could make the investments required, they would not be able to pull together a coordinated response in the narrow window of time require to jump-start major new projects and major new sectors.”

“AOC explicitly rejects the Reganite idolatry of the private sector with its concomittant reliance on coaxing capitalists with incentives: “We’ve also seen that merely incentivising the private sector doesn’t work – e.g. the tax incentives and subsidies given to wind and solar projects have been a valuble spur to growth in the US renewables industry but, even with such investment-promotion subsidies, the present level of such projects is simply inadequate to transition to a fully carbon neutral economy as quickly as needed. . . we’re not saying there isn’t a role for private sector investments; we’re just saying that the level of investment required will need every actor to pitch in and that the government is best placed to be the prime mover….

“Of course all this sounds wildly utopian at the moment and this Plan is certain to go nowhere under Trump and the Republican Senate. But a vigorous campaign for this Plan could change the conversation from false “market solutions” to restoring the idea of government intervention, government planning, and popular democracy as central to the success of the fight against global warming. After all, polls have long shown that citizens want and expect the government to lead the fight against climate change by limiting CO2 emissions, in effect to “do what the science demands before it’s too late.” Let’s hope that with a developing vision and a monumental mobilization around this Green New Deal and around fossil fuel nationalization, we can derail the capitalist drive to ecological collapse and build an ecosocialist civilization to save the human race.”

smith-plan.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/27 13:45 by admin