Can the U.S. Meet Green New Deal Emissions Targets?

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The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

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The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

 

Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

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The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

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The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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Mark Alan Hughes is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. He is also a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a senior fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a distinguished scholar in residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. Hughes joined the standing faculty of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1986 at the age of 25 and joined the Penn faculty in 1999. He has published in the leading journals of economic geography, urban economics, political science, policy analysis, and won the National Planning Award for his research in city and regional planning.

He was chief policy adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding director of sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. He has designed and fielded national policy research projects in a variety of areas including the Bridges to Work program in transportation, the Transitional Work Corporation in job training and placement, the Campaign for Working Families in EITC participation, and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in regional economic development. This work has been funded by H.U.D., H.H.S., D.O.E., Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Casey, WmPenn, and others.

Hughes earned a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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is a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and the founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. 

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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At the Kleinman Center, we are launching research into the Green New Deal, exploring its tenets and providing an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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It bears repeating whenever discussing the climate future of our planet that China and the United States together contribute between 35% and 40% of annual carbon emissions. Regardless of the steps taken by other nations around the world, unless the United States and the People’s Republic of China begin dramatically reducing CO2 emissions within the next 10 years, there is a vanishingly small chance of us achieving the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 – or ideally 1.5 – degrees Celsius.

New Plans Envision a Path Forward

It is easy to feel disheartened by this reality, especially as emissions from both countries increased in 2018, contributing to an all-time high of 37 billion tons of global CO2 emissions. For both the US and China, the past decade has been marked by apathetic leadership, special interest groups, and corruption that have hindered progress despite widespread popular demand for climate and environmental action. Today, however, there is a glimmer of hope as both countries begin to formulate ambitious and far-reaching visions for a sustainable future.

In China, president Xi Jinping and the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party have embraced the concept of an “Ecological Civilization” and have made the “harmonious development between man and nature” a top national priority. Just last week in the United States Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a resolution for a Green New Deal, a vision for directing the American economy towards clean energy and ecosystem conservation, and by doing so, secure economic prosperity and security for American workers for years to come. Critically, due to timing, these ambitious and far-reaching plans will likely be our last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.

Facing Reality 

The republican controlled senate and an administration that has demonstrated nothing but animosity towards environmental efforts makes passing a Green New Deal virtually impossible until the next administration takes office. Even assuming it then becomes a top priority, drafting and passing comprehensive legislation to meet all of the goals of the green new deal could take years. In a best case scenario, the US would then have just a handful of years in which to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% in order to stay within the IPCC’s latest guidelines. If the Green New Deal fails to garner widespread support under the next US administration, meeting these targets will be effectively impossible and we, along with the rest of the world, will have to accept the cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences of at least 2 degrees of global warming. 

Similarly, if President Xi’s plan is unsuccessful, the world can kiss a 1.5 degree scenario goodbye. Last March, the Communist Party of China officially decided to remove a constitutional two-term limit on presidents, and in doing so potentially made Xi Jinping president for life. Since the president has expressed absolute support for forming a “Socialist Ecological Civilization”, this is likely the only path forward for emissions reductions in China for the foreseeable future.

Seizing the Opportunity

Both of these visions of sustainability must successfully usher in an era of unprecedented environmental stewardship in each of their respective countries. To ensure this, the nebulous visions for both a Green New Deal and an Ecological Civilization must be bolstered with actionable policies. The congressional resolution for a Green New Deal outlines the goals of the program, but it says little about the specific regulations, funding sources, standards, and market incentives that would be used. President Xi’s vision is considerably more fleshed-out, but there has been little international effort to ensure that regulations are enforced fairly and ethically on the Chinese people. In both countries, the pursuit of justice must remain paramount along-side the pursuit of environmental sustainability. 

Fundamentally, the goal of the Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization is the same: To build a robust economy that embraces, rather than ignores, the planetary constraints on our growth. Decision-makers must accept that there are insurmountable roadblocks to our current growth trajectory and the only way to progress as a society is to adapt our growth by promoting international cooperation, research and development, infrastructure investment, education, market regulation, and social change.

The Green New Deal and China’s Ecological Civilization are our last shot at a public effort to curtail global climate change. Without these plans, we leave the fate of our modern civilization to uncertain technology innovation and market forces, both of which have thus far failed to yield the widespread societal change that is needed. By working together, sharing ideas, putting aside our disagreements about the minutiae, and demanding action from future legislatures, we can ensure that neither of these plans join the echelons of failed climate action.

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Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

Both China and the United States are fielding ambitious new sustainability plans. The planet's climate future will be determined by whether or not they succeed. 

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February 27, 2019
Source: Jewish Currents

The Green New Deal (GND) has captured the public imagination and mobilized many advocates and critics. Vox writer and Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts provides an excellent discussion in a recent post.

At the Kleinman Center, we are launching our own research into the GND, gathering a cross-disciplinary team to explore its tenets and provide an assessment of our country’s potential to meet the emissions targets it outlines.

The GND calls for the transformation of the U.S economy and society. Indeed, the comparison to U.S. mobilization for World War II is a significant understatement. That mobilization sought only to concentrate the U.S. economy; not to permanently transform it.

The motivation for the ambitious transformation envisioned by the GND is grounded in both science and politics. It first lays out seven “Whereas” clauses to define the problem.

The first Whereas summarizes key findings from two key scientific reviews: (1) the ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October 2018) and (2) the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S Government (November 2018). These two documents continue the accumulation of scientific evidence over decades on the urgent need to decarbonize the economy in order to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

The second Whereas introduces an important ethical dimension to the problem statement by asserting that U.S.’s responsibility for the global concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases is proportional to its share of historical (rather than current) emissions. The remaining five Whereas clauses introduce a large number of “related crises” and longstanding failings in American society.

While the urgency of these calls for justice is clear, it is just as clear that justice been delayed delayed for decades or centuries. The urgency of the climate science, however, defined by physics, exists with no regard for ethics or politics. Sea level will rise whether the U.S. rises to its democratic ideals or not.

In our Penn study, we will review the research literature related to the design, implementation, and performance of policies and programs outlined in the Green New Deal and we will estimate a range of potential emissions reductions that might be generated by each. In this, we seek to follow the useful example of Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins and others. We will then assess other elements of the GND that might generate indirect benefits in or potential barriers to emissions reductions. We take seriously these other proposals, related to economic inclusion and social justice, both for their intrinsic value and as potential enablers of emissions reductions. Finally, we will suggest additional areas of research and proposals that are missing, and that might increase the potential for meeting GND goals.       

Ours is a narrow filter. We look only at the science-based climate goals and potential of the “projects” under discussion with respect to those goals. The literature provides valuable evidence on what we know about the impacts of policies and programs on these goals—and as important—what we don’t know and must investigate further.  We look forward to marshaling and publishing that evidence here on our website.

Our blog highlights the research, opinions, and insights of individual authors. It does not represent the voice of the Kleinman Center.

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