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The ecosocialist path to 1.5°C sustainability

Summary:
From Richard Smith We ecosocialists have a practical answer. We accept the science that to prevent runaway global warming “greenhouse emission must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and by 100 percent by 2050.” We agree with the IPCC that this will require “deep emissions reductions in all sectors.” We agree that it will require “far-reaching transitions in energy, land, infrastructure, and manufacturing,” that it will require “systems transitions” (indeed, more than they imagine). And we understand that this must all be done at “unprecedented speed and scale.” “We understand that we desperately need to “do what the science demands before it’s too late”. But we also understand that imposing drastic cuts in fossil fuel production has to translate into industrial

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from Richard Smith

We ecosocialists have a practical answer. We accept the science that to prevent runaway global warming “greenhouse emission must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and by 100 percent by 2050.” We agree with the IPCC that this will require “deep emissions reductions in all sectors.” We agree that it will require “far-reaching transitions in energy, land, infrastructure, and manufacturing,” that it will require “systems transitions” (indeed, more than they imagine). And we understand that this must all be done at “unprecedented speed and scale.” “We understand that we desperately need to “do what the science demands before it’s too late”.

But we also understand that imposing drastic cuts in fossil fuel production has to translate into industrial shutdowns and retrenchments across the economy. There is just no way around this. We reject the carbon-tax-to-collapse scenario. Instead, we propose a strategy of rationally planned, democratically managed, wind-down and phase-out of fossil fuels and a coordinated transition to renewable energy that avoids economic collapse and guarantees reemployment for the affected workers. Our strategy for the United States is based on a four-point:  

Emergency plan to meet the climate emergency:

  1. Declare a State of Emergency to suppress fossil fuel use: ban all new extraction, ration gasoline, ban production of new fossil-fuel vehicles. Nationalize the fossil fuel industry to phase it out. We propose to do this by means of a government buyout at fair value (fair to both owners and society). Nationalize downstream fossil fuel industrial consumers from pipelines, refineries, distribution networks to autos, aviation, airlines, shipping, petrochemicals, some manufacturing, some tourism and others whose business is irreversibly based on fossil fuels and which without a government buyout would be bankrupted. 
  1. Institute a new federal Public Works Administration-style jobs program (on the model of the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Core and other programs set up under FDR) to re-employ every worker in the fossil fuel-related industries at equivalent pay and benefits in other useful but low-emission work. Those workers in coal, oil, plastics, toxic chemicals and so on, deserve jobs, just not the jobs they have now. 
  1. Launch an emergency state-directed program to phase-in renewable electric generation, replace fossil-fuel powered transportation with electric propulsion, discourage individually-owned vehicles, and encourage public transit, shared vehicles, bicycles and other non-fossil fuel modes of transportation. 
  2. Develop emergency plans to phase out wasteful, destructive and polluting industries from arms production to needless toxics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals etc, disposables like single-use plastics, designed-to-be obsolesced iPhones, cars etc., and useless inventions. Develop emergency plans to shift from fossil-fuel dependent factory farms to fully-organic agriculture.

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue87/Smith87.pdf

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