January 29, 2019


What science could teach Ocasio-Cortez about climate change (Bjorn Lomborg, January 27, 2019, NY Post)

The truth is comparatively boring: According to the United Nations climate-science panel's latest major report, if we do absolutely nothing to stop climate change, the impact will be the equivalent to a reduction in our ­incomes of between 0.2 percent and 2 percent five decades from now.

Yet by the 2070s, personal incomes will be some 300 percent to 500 percent higher than they are today. Far from the "end of the world," the impact of warming is what we'd expect from roughly a single economic recession taking place over the next half century.

Many of us question how this could be true, when we are constantly told that extreme weather is wreaking ever-greater devastation. In fact, ­research shows that extreme weather is having a rather minimal economic effect. Since 1990, the cost associated with extreme weather worldwide has actually declined, to 0.25 percent of global gross domestic product, from 0.30 percent.

Extreme weather costs each French citizen about $25 a year; each American, about $56 per year. That's what the average US worker spends on coffee in less than a month.

What about the escalating costs of hurricanes, now inevitably held up as examples of climate change? Actually, a major study in Nature shows hurricane damage today costs about 0.04 percent of global GDP. By 2100, even if hurricanes were to get twice as bad as they are now, increased prosperity and ­resilience mean the cost will have halved to 0.02 percent of GDP.

What's more, the UN panel finds there is no observable increase in hurricane frequency.

Likewise, extreme weather is killing fewer people now than at any point in the last 100 years: In the 1920s, extreme weather killed about half a million people annually. Now, despite there being four times as many people, it kills fewer than 20,000 each year.

It's a Puritan nation; run against waste and degradation of Creation.

Here's the seemingly most comprehensive Green New Deal available and note how tightly they tie it to economic growth:

A Green New Deal (GREG CARLOCK, EMILY MANGAN, SEAN McELWEE, Data for Progress) 


The United States needs to reduce its annual greenhouse emissions from 2016 by 16 percent to achieve our 2025 reduction target communicated through the Paris Agreement[1], and 77 percent to reach our 2050 target.[2] To strive for the global goal of a 1.5-degree future, the U.S. should aim for zero net emissions by mid-century. This requires massive economic and technological transformation in how we create and consume energy, build structures, and transport people and goods. This transformation must accelerate now.


✔ 100% Clean and Renewable Electricity by 2035 
All electricity consumed in America must be generated by renewable sources, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, sustainable biomass, and renewable natural gas, as well as clean sources such as nuclear and remaining fossil fuel with carbon capture.

✔ Zero Net Emissions from Energy by 2050
We must end all emissions from fossil fuels. The full U.S. economy can and must run on a mix of energy that is either zero-emission or 100 percent carbon capture by mid-century.[3] This includes residential, commercial, and industrial electricity; thermal energy; and transportation.


✔ 100% Net-Zero Building Energy Standards by 2030
Buildings can stand and operate for over 100 years, and current building standards are not in line with goals for deep decarbonization. Yet buildings also have the highest potential for low-cost emission reductions of all sectors. We must start constructing and retrofitting to the highest performance standards now to avoid locking in outdated technology and to reach these goals by mid-century. New technological innovation every year will push the potential of building and industrial efficiency, helping American citizens and businesses lower energy costs and be more competitive.


✔ 100% Zero Emission Passenger Vehicles by 2030
The technologies already exist; we only need to scale-up charging infrastructure and consumer incentives to transition 100 percent of sales to zero emission passenger and light duty vehicles by 2030, followed with a swift phase out of internal combustion engines.

✔ 100% Fossil-Free Transportation by 2050
To reach decarbonization goals, we must transition away quickly from the use of fossil fuels in aviation, heavy duty vehicles, and rail. Not everything can be electrified, meaning we must innovate and scale up the next generation of biofuels and carbon-neutral fuels.


While air and water quality have dramatically improved in the U.S. since the passage of landmark environmental regulations in the 1950s and 1970s, progress has slowed.[4] Too many Americans live without access to consistent clean air and clean water. Air pollution from vehicles and smokestacks cause 200,000 early deaths each year and led to negative health effects such as asthma and lung disease.[5] America's drinking water and waterways are threatened by aging infrastructure and pollution from fossil fuel production. We cannot guarantee clean air and clean water without cutting emissions and fossil fuel extraction.


✔ National Clean Air Attainment
Forty-two percent of the U.S. population--over 130 million Americans--live in areas that still have not attained national Ambient Air Quality Standards as ozone and particulate matter pollution are still too high.[6]  While the EPA continually eases air quality regulations, 22 states do not meet ozone standards.[7] Ground-level ozone, or smog, has worsened significantly in recent years as higher average temperatures and more days of extreme heat intensifies smog.[8] Reductions in fossil fuel combustion and certain industrial activities will reduce ozone and particulate pollution across the country, especially in urban areas where air quality tends to be worse.

✔ Cut Methane Leakage 50% by 2025
Methane, a greenhouse gas 28-36 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is the second-largest industrial source of climate pollution from the oil and gas industry. Methane leaks from oil and gas production and distribution cost the U.S. economy approximately $2 billion annually.[9] These leaks are enough to power 6.5 million homes a year. Much of the pollution can be curbed with existing low-cost technologies that can improve air quality and reduce emissions.[10]


✔ National Lead Pipe Replacement & Infrastructure Upgrades
America's problems with lead in drinking water extend well beyond Flint, Michigan. In 2015, 18 million people were served by water systems with lead violations.[13] We need to remove lead service lines and fix other water problems with a prioritization of underserved communities. This requires meaningful investments in water treatment infrastructure upgrades across the nation. And yet, federal investment in local water infrastructure has declined from covering 63 percent of costs in 1977 to just 9 percent today.[14] By investing in clean water infrastructure, it will stimulate the development of economically-critical projects that will create jobs and increase American economic competitiveness.[15]

✔ Guarantee Access to Affordable Drinking Water
To keep up with the mounting costs of water infrastructure needs, many utilities across the country have been increasing water rates. In some cities, the average monthly cost of water for a family of four has increased 30 percent since 2011.[16] In 2015, 1 in 9 households in Detroit had their water shut off because of prohibitively high water bills. The EPA needs to establish more consistent and comprehensive standards on water affordability, protecting low-income residents from extreme price increases.

✔ Protect Two Million New Miles of Waterways
The quality of our water supply also depends on the restoration, conservation, and sustainable land management of forests and wetlands. The 2015 Clean Water Rule, if fully enforced, would extend protections to two million new miles of streams and tributaries, and 20 million acres of wetlands. Protecting our watersheds and waterways, particularly upstream, benefits our natural environment, human health, and food supplies, as well as enhances the resiliency of our built infrastructure. Waterways and their related forests and wetlands constitute a natural infrastructure that saves money and produces additional benefits such as reduced emissions, jobs, and habitat protection.[17]


It is hard to envision America without picturing its glorious landscape--whether it is the rolling plains and hills, wide rivers, snow-capped mountains, sandy coastlines, great lakes, or rich forests. The American landscape is not only our heritage but also a vital resource. Our lives and livelihoods rely upon the landscape for food, fiber, minerals, homesteads, protection, wildlife, and recreation. Clean air and clean water are not possible without healthy, robust lands. This landscape is our largest natural emissions sinks, literally absorbing millions of tons of greenhouse gases out of the air annually. We must tend to it.


✔ Reforest 40 Million Acres of Public and Private Land by 2035
America's forests are 25 percent smaller than they were when settlements began around 1630, and only a fraction of what remains is old-growth forest, while the rest is regrowth of deforestation.[20] Forested lands continue to come back slowly, but it is well below the pace needed. To reach a net-zero emission economy by mid-century, we must reforest land--in other words, the remaining emissions our economy still creates are canceled out by the emissions absorbed by land. Similarly, many forests are badly in need of restoration, threatened by drought, wildfire, and invasive species, which are only exacerbated by climate change.

Expanding forests by 40-50 million acres by 2035 could achieve reductions of 600 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050. With forests as part of a holistic plan, the full land carbon sink could offset up to 45 percent of economy-wide emissions annually by 2050. [21]


✔ Restore 5 Million Acres of Wetlands by 2040
Wetlands--including swamps, marshes, and peatlands--are vital ecosystems for all types of wildlife and biodiversity. They support seafood, recreation, and tourism industries; protect American shorelines from storm surge; filter water; and absorb carbon. America has lost over half of its original wetlands.[22] The rate of loss is increasing, and a third of what remains is in poor condition.[23],[24],[25]


✔ Expand Sustainable Farming and Soil Practices to 30% of Agricultural Land by 2030 and 70% by 2050
A thriving agricultural sector relies upon healthy soil. Healthy soil also supports carbon sequestration, flood protection, reduced erosion, and pest and plant disease control. Beyond the field, the excess use of pesticides and fertilizers affect soil and water quality, leading to such effects as deadly hypoxia and algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay. It also diminishes property values and recreational uses of nearby waters, costing the U.S. at least $2.2 billion annually.[26] Sustainable farming and soil practices are not only practical but also economically beneficial to farmers.

Increasing uptake of key soil carbon-beneficial conservation practices to 70 percent of U.S. cropland could result in an increased soil carbon sink of over 270 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equiv. per year by 2050--this represents half of current agricultural emissions. [27]


✔ Cleanup Brownfields and All Hazardous Sites
A brownfield is a previously occupied property of which its redevelopment or reuse is complicated due to the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are an estimated 450,000 brownfield sites in the United States[28] and 1,343 sites listed on the Superfund National Priority List, which are locations with significant hazardous material contamination.[29]

Neighborhoods adjacent to brownfields are more likely to be low-income and minority neighborhoods.[30] Cleaning up and redeveloping these sites is not only important for human health and the environment, but it can increase local tax revenues, grow jobs, lift property values, and ease development pressure off undeveloped lands.[31],[32]


Green is not just about environmentalism, it is about livability for the long-term. As more people move to cities, particularly along the coasts, risk of exposure to poor air quality and threats from climate change only increase. The right investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure today will improve livability and reduce the economic and social costs of future disasters.


✔ Establish a National Fund for Urban and Rural Resilience
Cities and communities across America need to upgrade their infrastructure now to withstand the effects of climate change, including extreme heat, increased rain and snow, sea level rise, and extreme weather. A national adaptation fund, and analogous funds at the state and local level, could support investments in urban and rural stormwater management, green infrastructure, community hardening, and disaster preparedness. This fund will supplement the expansion of existing infrastructure and urban planning grant programs for sustainable communities and smart growth.

✔ Expand Public Green Space and Recreational Lands and Waters
As cities and suburban areas grow, citizens need greater opportunities to access open and green space and outdoor recreation than exist today. Green space can enhance the beauty and environmental quality of a community, as well as improve emotional health and build a sense of community. This should also include the doubling in size of dedicated public recreational lands and waters, including, in part, National and State parks.

✔ Modernize Urban Mobility and Mass Transit
The growth of cities, the rapid change in vehicle technology, and the need for low-carbon transportation means that the way in which we move ourselves and goods from one place to another is going to change forever. This transition needs to be executed thoughtfully to meet the needs of cities and the scale of change required. Large investments are needed to increase access to safe pedestrian and bicycle travel, low-carbon bus rapid transit, and electrified light rail.

133 million people will live in counties directly on the shoreline by 2020,[33] and 41 million Americans live in 100-year floodplains. That number is expected to grow by 50 percent by 2050 as the size and population of floodplains expand.[34]


✔ Zero Waste by 2040
Waste is just a resource without a market. Many of the materials sent to landfills can be recycled back into nature or the marketplace. Zero waste is about modernizing how products are created and disposed of to reduce the amount of waste created in manufacturing and packaging and to increase resource recovery through recycling and composting. A Zero Waste economy will never be 100-percent free of waste, but it will exploit every opportunity to turn waste into a resource.

✔ Capture 50% of Wasted Methane by 2040
Methane also enters the atmosphere through the decomposition of livestock manure, organic trash in landfills, and sludge from wastewater treatment facilities. This is money literally floating away. New and scalable methane capture systems can turn this waste into a valuable, carbon-neutral resource, saving Americans billions of dollars and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Posted by at January 29, 2019 12:01 AM