Energy and Policy Experts Have a Plan to Fight Covid-19 and the Climate Crisis

Illustration to article titled Energy and Policy Experts Plan to Combat Covid-19 and the Climate Crisis

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At this point, it seems like everything’s been fucked.

A global pandemic is getting out of hand – 350,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19, of which nearly 42,000 are in the United States. We are facing an approaching economic recession. Fifteen percent of American workers have it already lost their job or hours due to the pandemic, and according to one forecastthree million people could become unemployed in the summer. National inequality, it already is reach record heightscould become much more dramatic.

And then of course there is the climate crisis. Adding a pandemic on top of it makes a bad situation worse. Despite this, officials on Capitol Hill are considering stand out failing fossil fuel industries as part of a Covid-19 economic stimulus package. But more than 100 experts in the field of climate and social policy have formulated a vision for a completely different emergency package. In a long letter Posted on Sunday, they advocate an incentive that could prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the short term, while reducing inequality and carbon emissions and boosting employment and social well-being in the long run.

“We need to focus on stopping the spread of deadly diseases,” the letter says. “But we can do all the preparatory work now to make green projects ‘ready to shovel’ as soon as it is healthy to start work. “

The authors propose a $ 2 trillion stimulus package, which is similar in size to Capitol Hill Republicans’ proposal who shot the Senate on Sunday. However, the similarities end there. While the Republican would suggest less money for poor households, the green stimulus proposal focuses on investing in communities most affected by the climate crisis, which are often poor and of color. And while the Republicans aspired to function $ 500 billion The Green Stimulus aims to target private companies selected by the Treasury without undue oversight, and strives to expand the public sector and cooperative ownership.

Many ideas have been prepared by advisers on democratic presidential primary campaigns, including those of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Washington Governor Jay Inslee. The comprehensive set of proposals includes policy proposals to reshape almost every carbon-heavy sector of the U.S. economy (which is basically everything). Plans for the near future are presented alongside plans that can be executed once it is safe to return to personal work.

“The corona virus should now be the priority, [but we must be] building a fair and just stimulus package, ”said Daniel Kammen, an energy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley and former science envoy to the State Department, in a news release.

Calls for a nationwide moratorium on utilities and water closings and rent and mortgage freezes are next to proposals to adjust and invest billions of energy-inefficient buildings expand low-carbon housing. Crucially, the proposed stimulus package is automatically renewed at 4 percent of GDP every year, which is about $ 850 billion a year, until the U.S. has completely halted fossil fuel use and managed unemployment below 3.5 percent hold.

“This automatic renewal aspect is very important because Congress only gets one chance to endure a large-scale stimulus,” Mark Paul, an economist at the New College of Florida and a senior fellow at Data for Progress, told reporters. “What we don’t want to let happen is that they provide an initial stimulus and then observe a moderate recovery.”

On the Senate floor on Monday morning, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell suspect Democrats derail negotiations on stimulus packages by trying to include climate schemes, such as renewable energy tax credits and stricter greenhouse gas emission standards for airlines.

“Are you kidding? Now is the time to debate new regulations that have absolutely nothing to do with this crisis?” he asked.

But of course the current pandemic and the ecological and economic injustice have gradual consequences. Those who live in more polluted areas are more vulnerable to Covid-19. This also applies to poorer families limited access to water. And a Green New Deal incentive packagethe authors argue could help build a society that is more resilient in the face of all kinds of global crises.

“The same communities and populations we see are extremely vulnerable in a public health crisis, the same communities and populations that the Green New Deal centers, ” Thea Riofrancos, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and a senior fellow at Data for Progress, told reporters.

Without a stimulus package focused on climate and justice, “we will see the price crisis widening in the coming years, be it public health, economic recession or extreme weather,” she said.

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