Letter: Green New Deal necessary for future

The Detroit News
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during the Women's Unity Rally at Foley Square on January 19, 2019 in New York City.

Grossman misses the point of a Green New Deal

Peter Grossman, a business economist who advocates for “hands off” the free market for fossil fuels, is not surprisingly skeptical of the scope of government intervention required for staving off catastrophic climate change. So much so that his opinion , "Green New Deal destined to fail, Feb. 2" entirely evades the question of urgent need for the Green New Deal (GND).

He starts by saying: “We’ve been here before.” As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states, there is “no documented historic precedent.” Climate change threatens not just our way of life but the survival of humans and other animals. 

Last October the IPCC reported that we have less than 12 years to significantly reduce our carbon footprint or we will face irreversible climate catastrophe. The IPCC doesn’t do its own research but makes its projections based on the research of thousands of the leading climate scientist around the world. It is widely acknowledged that the IPCC projections are more conservative than those of many scientists.

Grossman cherry picks his examples of government intervention to buttress his dismal free-market view that we cannot work together to make the massive transition we need to save our planet, our futures, and in doing so improve the quality of life of most people. His argument, of course, is popular with the 1 percent who wish to continue devastating the environment, the climate, and shedding good jobs. 

Advocates for the Green New Deal do not have all the answers at this point. We are calling for a Green New Deal because we must declare a national – and world wide mobilization to slow and, hopefully, reverse the greenhouse emissions driving climate. To fail is to destroy the economy and the lives of our children and grandchildren as they are left to cope with the devastating changes to come if we allow the “free market” to continue to enrich the few while the planet burns. 

This country has mobilized to save itself in the Great Depression and in World War II. We know that action is imperative. When the US finally takes the lead in tackling a crisis driven disproportionately by emissions from U.S. corporations, action by the rest of the world will accelerate. 

To address a crisis that we’ve never seen before, we have to mobilize on a scale we’ve never seen. We have to support a Green New Deal.

Nicholas Jansen
Michigan State Director 
Sunrise Movement