The Portland Phoenix made an excellent selection with their “Tweet of the Week,” for the Feb. 28, 2019 issue.
In it, Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and staff writer for Grist, tweets:
There is no tangible difference between “climate change is a hoax” and “climate change is real but doing anything about it on the scale the science demands is unrealistic.”
Both [positions] are climate denial. Both lead to inaction.
While the right’s apoplectic response to the Green New Deal is entirely (indeed, almost comically) predictable, perhaps less so is the equally furious reaction from the left.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made her disdain for the Green New Deal quite clear when she offhandedly dismissed it as the “Green Dream or whatever they call it.”
She smugly added, “Nobody knows what it is.”
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, likewise, condescendingly dismissed a group of children, teenagers, and their parents lobbying her to co-sponsor the Green New Deal legislation.
In a video of the meeting which has now gone viral, Sen. Feinstein not only refuses to sign-on to the GND, but she then proceeds to lecture the children — some as young as 7-years-old — about her seniority and (alleged) expertise as a member of Congress.
“We have our own Green New Deal,” Sen. Feinstein smugly tells the children, though she offers nothing about it (at least not on the video).
When one girl accurately points out that scientists have given us a timeline of 12 years to ditch fossil fuels to avoid irreversible catastrophic climate change, Feinstein bluntly tells her, “Well it’s not going to get turned around in [ten to twelve] years.”
She goes on the lecture the children:
You know what’s interesting about this group…? I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing. You come in here, and you say, “It has to be my way or the highway.” I don’t respond to that. I’ve gotten [re]elected. I just ran. I was elected by almost a million-vote plurality. And I know what I’m doing. So, you know, maybe people should listen a little bit.
At that point, Isha Clarke, a 16-year-old high-school student, interjected, “I hear what you’re saying, but we’re the people who voted for you. You’re supposed to listen to us. That’s your…”
Sen. Feinstein: How old are you?
Clarke: I’m 16. I can’t vote.
Sen. Feinstein: Well, you didn’t vote for me.
Feinstein goes on to lecture the group, “Well, you know better than I do. So I think one day you should run for the Senate.”
With friends like Pelosi and Feinstein, who needs climate-change denying Republicans…?
(As further evidence of the capitalist bipartisan consensus among the two parties, Pelosi, in a recent interview in Rolling Stone, says of former President George W. Bush’s position on climate change, “President Bush was a denier. I mean, I loved him dearly, but he was a denier.”)
And therein lies the problem with viewing the threat of climate change through the myopic lens of “belief.”
Just because the Democrats understand and accept the science of climate change does not mean they intend to actually do anything about it. And those Democrats who do seem to take an active role in combating climate change propose solutions that are woefully inadequate given the massive scale of the climate crisis. (Obama’s “clean coal,” anyone…?)
For years now, “belief” alone has been the litmus test for Democratic politicians regarding global warming. But belief without tangible action is worthless.
Consider: What have Maine’s Rep. Chellie Pingree or Sen. Angus King — both of whom claim to “believe” in climate change — actually done to adequately address the issue? What bold legislation have they proposed since taking office?
Indeed, Sen. King is actively pushing for Maine to strategically position itself to materially benefit from the melting Arctic and all of the new “investment opportunities” it will allegedly create.
And yet, despite a massive report released only a few months ago warning that the world has an alarmingly short amount of time to make the radical changes needed to stave off permanent environmental destruction, the Democrats tread water on the issue.
Before the midterms, the Democrats weren’t even planning to do anything about the matter. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming by activists and an insurgent socialist politician [Ocasio-Cortez] to make it a priority.
But the sneering condescension toward the Green New Deal is not limited to the Democratic Party itself. Their dismissive objections are echoed by their liberal mouthpieces in the “left-wing” media. Liberal op-ed writers scoff that the GND is “too expensive,” “unrealistic,” “politically unfeasible,” and, of course, “extremist.”
Former New York City mayor, and “independent” billionaire politician, Michael Bloomberg, derides the GND as “pie in the sky.” Yes, saving the planet is simply unrealistic and “never going to happen” — says the bourgeois “climate change activist” who invests in fossil fuels.
They constantly hound Ocasio-Cortez and other GND supporters with the question of how the programs would be financed. Yet, these disingenuous questions over “How will you pay for it?” only seem to apply to progressive proposals — especially environmental concerns. They are completely absent when it comes to launching another war, doling out lavish corporate welfare benefits to Amazon and Bath Iron Works, or the latest round of tax-cuts for the wealthy.
All of this is to highlight just how thoroughly irredeemable the corporate-owned, capitalist Democratic Party is. It is not a vehicle for advancing working-class struggle. Indeed, it is not even invested in maintaining a habitable planet for the human species!
And this is because the Democrats understand, at least on some level, that it is capitalism and not consumer habits, or overpopulation that is the primary cause of the climate crisis. Democratic leaders like Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer realize that to fully and adequately address climate change would require radically restructuring our economy, our foreign policy, and eradicating class inequality. But since the Democratic Party is, by design, a capitalist party, it is incapable of pursuing the radical solutions necessary to halt a rapidly warming planet.
Climate change is the greatest existential threat facing our planet and our very survival as a species. We need bold action to drastically curb CO2 emissions now if we are to avert the worst ravages of global warming. The Green New Deal is not perfect. But it is would be a major step in the right direction.
Yet the greatest obstacle to enacting the Green New Deal may not be the anti-science, climate-change-denying Republicans, but the Democrats, who represent a less anti-intellectual — yet no less cynical — brand of climate change denial.
Only through the establishment of a planned, managed economy — one controlled by the working class — can we hope to avert climate catastrophe.