Monday Morning Thoughts: Green New Deal Emerges as Key Battle Line

A key emerging issue to watch in the next two years – the Green New Deal.  It is emerging as a critical battle line within the Democratic Party itself and pits the establishment wing of the party led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi against the activist wing that has emerged in the Democrats take back of the house under the auspices of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Speaker Pelosi has according to a recent article in the Washington Post, revived the select committee on climate change, but without much authority to approve legislation.

As the Post notes: “The coming battle will test liberals’ clout, as tensions between the activist left and the Democratic establishment underscore the ideological and strategic rifts that will affect the party ahead of the 2020 presidential primary.”

“We should have a robust debate of ideas . . . then we figure out how to come to a consensus so that we are effective and are able in 2020 to defeat Donald Trump,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). “The worst thing we could do is stifle a very vigorous debate because of a deference to protocol or precedent.”

Congressional Democrats are united on the issue and the need to combat man-made climate change, but “there is debate over what solutions to pursue and how aggressively in an era of divided government.”  The left is pushing for “nothing less than the Green New Deal, a restructuring of the economy often compared to the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II.”

Interestingly enough, the move comes at a time when polling shows at least among rank and file Republicans, more support for climate change measures.

A New York Times column by Arlie and David Hochschild argues that new polling suggests a new emerging view of global warming by Republicans.

They write: “if we compare all Republicans with all Democrats, we see a new and encouraging overlap.”

They point to a March Poll by Yale and George Mason University which polled 1067 registered voters on climate change: “The study found that while they disagree on the cause, majorities in both parties agree that the world is experiencing global warming and call for government action to address it.”

There are still deep partisan splits but on the issues of carbon dioxide emission limits, fossil fuel, carbon taxes, and environmental protection – the survey found the majority in both parties favoring reform.  Sure, the number is in the mid-80s for Democrats and a bare majority of Republicans, but this marks an important shift.

The polling shows the need for conservative leadership to take ownership of this issue.  Indeed, a study out of the University of Colorado has found a “party over policy” effect, ” in which people’s views on a carbon tax depend less on the content of the proposal than on the party they believe proposed it. This is true for both Democrats and Republicans. So maybe Republicans just need to hear from messengers they trust.”

What the polling here finds, “while Americans have been focusing on the split between Democrats and Republicans, the more important gap may now be between Republican voters and the leaders they elected.”

In the meantime, the Green New Deal is becoming a liberal litmus test, particularly among Democrats with designs on the White House.  Recently Senator Cory Booker joined Bernie Sanders in endorsing it.

So far nearly 40 House Democrats believe that the committee “should focus its efforts on making the Green New Deal a reality.”

Climate activists are disappointed that the Democrats are not being more aggressive on this issue.

“Without a mandate to create a plan and a requirement that its members don’t take fossil fuel money, we are deeply concerned that this committee will be just another of the many committees we’ve seen failing our generation our entire lives,” said Varshini Prakash, the Sunrise Movement’s spokeswoman.

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will lead the House Natural Resources Committee in January while Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey will head up Energy and Commerce.  He recently announced plans to investigate the Trump administration’s sweeping rollback of environmental regulations while Rep. Grijalva announced they will hold two days of climate hearings.

“I don’t want to prejudge what we are going to do other than to say that we intend to be very aggressive about it and the progressives will be very happy,” Rep. Pallone told the Post, but he has not backed the Green New Deal.  “The goal of trying to reduce fossil fuels and get to a carbon-neutral economy is important and something that I agree with. The question is how long it takes to do that.”

He said, “The Green New Deal says you can do it in 10 years. I don’t know if that’s technologically feasible . . . Beyond that, it’s probably not politically feasible.”

Fueling the push by younger leaders is the latest climate report.  The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that “unprecedented” international efforts are needed in order to cut carbon emissions in the next dozen years to keep climate change to moderate levels.

The Trump administration is taking the opposite approach even as their own internal report is forecasting a disastrous seven degree rise in global temperatures by the end of this century.

Activists are pushing back.  Varshini Prakash is critical of the limitations placed on the select committee, calling it an “insult to the thousands of young people across the country who have been calling on the Democratic Party leadership to have the courage to stand up to fossil fuel billionaires.”

This is a battle worth watching to see whether the older establishment or the younger activist wing ends up prevailing.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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      1. Keith O

        Have you seen how drastic the Green New Deal is?  It will kill our economy.

        Go ahead, I hope the Dems run with it. What you’ll end up with is another four for Trump.

        1. David Greenwald

          Have you seen how bad the climate threat is? It will kill our economy and perhaps civilization itself. We’re in denial about how bad this is. We’re just scratching the surface of the impacts. the White Houses own report says seven degrees in the next 80 years. Ouch. What part of this is not sinking in?

        2. Keith O

          And the ice caps were supposed to have melted by now.  We were told we had a coming ice age in the 70’s just to turn it around later into calling it global warming and now climate change.

        3. Richard McCann


          Please provide a citation to the study that claimed that the ice caps were supposed to melt by 2018. Having worked on climate issues for almost 30 years (including working against Big Green in 1990), I have never seen such a study. You’re making wild, unfounded assertions as though they are factual.

  1. John Hobbs

    Of course there may be a few people who deny the threat because they don’t believe the scientific evidence, but many if not most deniers are like birthers: they are willing to tell the lie to promote their own agenda. Apocalyptic Christians who crave the disasters or cynical capitalists who will profit, they know the truth.


    1. Jim Hoch

      The Green New Deal completely ignores the root cause of climate change which is over-population. We have twice as many people on this planet as we did in 1972 and four times as many as in 1950.

      It’s just lipstick on a pig.

  2. Don Shor

    (A) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed with the objective of reaching the following outcomes within the target window of 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:

                                     i.Dramatically expand existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources;

                                   ii.building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;

                                  iii.upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;

                                  iv.eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from  the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country;

                                    v.eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure, and upgrading water infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water;

                                  vi.funding massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases;

                                vii.making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely greenhouse gas neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.


    (B) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan (and the draft legislation) shall:


    i.provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one;

    ii.diversify local and regional economies, with a particular focus on communities where the fossil fuel industry holds significant control over the labor market, to ensure workers have the necessary tools, opportunities, and economic assistance to succeed during the energy transition;

    iii.require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment, and creation of meaningful, quality, career employment;

    iv.ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level and by prioritizing solutions that end the harms faced by front-line communities from climate change and environmental pollution;

    v.protect and enforce sovereign rights and land rights of tribal nations;

    vi.mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level);

    vii.include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism; and

    viii.deeply involve national and local labor unions to take a leadership role in the process of job training and worker deployment.  


    (C) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that innovative public and other financing structures are a crucial component in achieving and furthering the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality and cooperative and public ownership set forth in paragraphs (2)(A)(i) and (6)(B). The Plan (and the draft legislation) shall, accordingly, ensure that the majority of financing of the Plan shall be accomplished by the federal government, using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and such other vehicles or structures that the select committee deems appropriate, in order to ensure that interest and other investment returns generated from public investments  made in connection with the Plan will be returned to the treasury, reduce taxpayer burden and allow for more investment.

    1. Don Shor

      This is a short version from Ocasio-Cortez’s website. It is not technologically possible, nor is it politically possible. The longer version can be found at Green Party websites. There is a lot of baggage attached here that has nothing to do with climate change. The Progressive Caucus is not big enough to bring this about; the centrist New Democrat Coalition has more members in Congress and won more seats in the recent election. The midterms were a victory for centrists, not progressives. New Democrats will not endorse this.
      Some of the policies can go forward, others will never make it. Arguing about how drastic climate change is does nothing to advance this. The main opposition isn’t going to come from the shrinking numbers of climate denialists. This is a sweeping proposal that would harm many businesses and workers in many industries, is based on naive and unrealistic assumptions, and is quite simply impractical and impossible. So the only reason to endorse it would be to state the aspirational goal of reducing carbon output, and that can be done without carrying the baggage of the Green Party and the far left.

      1. Craig Ross

        I view this differently.  It is a reality acceptance proposal that starts the conversation and eliminates the petty-ante posturing.  Remember, a good portion of you folks wont even live to 2050.  I’ll barely be in my 50s.  For the younger generation this is reality.  For the older generation, this is a future many will never see – including the president.

        1. Don Shor

          starts the conversation”

          The conversation started decades ago. Rejoining the Paris Accords and reversing the executive actions of the Trump administration would get us back on track. Strip out all the non-climate stuff from the “Green New Deal” and you might find others willing to embrace it.

          We are at 17% renewable right now. We won’t get to 100% within 10 years.

          Nuclear power will be a key part of any fully non-carbon strategy. We haven’t sited or opened a nuclear power plant in decades. I don’t think we have a single nuclear power plant under construction in the United States right now. When I see a proposal that identifies where several dozen nuclear power plants will be sited and timelines for their approval, I’ll believe this is an actionable document.

          eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from  the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country;”

          That will not happen in agriculture. Simple as that.

        2. Craig Ross

          Don: I agree we won’t get to 100 percent in ten years.  But the best way to fail at something is not to try.  An effort to improve I think is the true goal here.

  3. Ron

    Jim:  “The Green New Deal completely ignores the root cause of climate change which is over-population. We have twice as many people on this planet as we did in 1972 and four times as many as in 1950.
    It’s just lipstick on a pig.”

    Yeap.  This is a subject that seems to be avoided, by some environmental groups.  A reason I lost interest in supporting some of those groups.

    Not sure, but I suspect that this subject is also not discussed much in schools, while climate change receives a lot of attention. (With no one pointing out the obvious connection between these concerns, not to mention other environmental problems.)

    1. Craig Ross

      Because pollution growth control is veiled racism.  To fight climate change we have to focus on: (A) global inequality, (B) clean energy, and (C) the reduction of greenhouse gases.  Trying to tell brown people across the globe they can’t breed is racist.

      1. Ron

        Craig:  You’ve hit the nail on the head, regarding the reason that this issue is not honestly addressed.  Unfortunately, it’s a “fake” reason, and a coward’s way out to not address it.

        One reason that it’s fake is because it’s not limited to “brown people”. But, some are so afraid of being labeled “racist” that they won’t even talk about it.

        In some ways, the view that you have is not unlike blaming racial profiling (exclusively) on the fact that some minority groups are incarcerated at a higher rate.

        In other words, a lack of willingness to address issues honestly. To the point of browbeating those who won’t be silenced.

        1. Craig Ross

          “One reason that it’s fake is because it’s not limited to ‘Brown people’”

          Except that it is.  In 1950, around a quarter of the world population was white – 100 years later it will be about 10 percent.  That means that almost all of the population growth in the world is people of color, and limiting population growth has to focus on people of color.

          So yes – it is largely limited to Brown people.

        2. Don Shor

          Fertility rates drop dramatically with increased education, affluence, and availability and acceptance of birth control. Most regions of the world will have much lower fertility rates by the end of the century; most have actually dropped significantly during the late 20th century.

        3. Ron

          The U.S. has one of the highest population growth rates in the developed world.

          Regarding education, affluence, and availability of birth control – all good things.  But, cannot be relied upon exclusively, to address continued population growth.  Unfortunately, that’s been the “mantra” of some environmental groups, who are afraid of addressing (or even acknowledging) the problem, directly.

          Note that some (even on this blog) still believe that never-ending growth is needed, to support our economy.

          Here’s a couple of links from a columnist for the Enterprise, which discussed the problem more directly:

          In any case, if countries which house a higher percentage of “brown people” (as Craig refers to them) are contributing to the problem to a greater degree than other countries, does that mean that the problem is “off-limits” for discussion? (Based upon comments here and elsewhere, I suspect that some believe it should be off-limits.)

          Again, it’s not unlike blaming racial profiling (exclusively), for the fact that some groups are incarcerated at a higher rate than other groups. To quote/paraphrase the Wizard of Oz, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” (lest you be labeled a dreaded “racist”).


          1. Don Shor

            Absent major changes in life expectancy and without the effect of future immigration, we estimate that there will be 31 million US deaths in the 2020-29 decade or 3.1 million per year, 46 million deaths in the 2030-39 decade or 4.6 million per year, and 48 million deaths in the 2040-49 decade or 4.8 million per year. Because the number of births will grow more slowly, the net annual additions to the population will fall from 2.6 million in 2015-19 (including immigration), to 2.3 million per year in 2020-29, to 0.9 million in 2030-39, to 0.8 million in 2040-49. In these last two decades, the number of births will be less than the number of deaths, which means that all of the US population growth will come from immigration. This analysis assumes no major changes in life expectancy, a stable birth rate, and annual immigration of 1 million newcomers.


        4. Craig Ross

          I think it is arrogant presumption for a group of white men in the affluent US to demand population growth controls unless they offer something in return.  Would you be willing to part with half of your per capita GDP in exchange?  For example

        5. Ron

          Craig: “I think it is arrogant presumption for a group of white men in the affluent US to demand population growth controls unless they offer something in return.”

          Wow.  At this point, I find comments like this amusing, since I’ve seen it before from Craig.  I wonder how many people actually think this way?

          I also wonder why he apparently has no qualms with wealthy, white, older, conservative developers.

          (Actually, I don’t “wonder” at all.)

        6. Ron

          I assume you’re referring to the “privilege” of not having children, or at least not beyond a couple of “replacements”.

          Actually, that’s it’s own “privilege”, in-and-of itself. Not a “sacrifice”, at all. (And, doesn’t contribute to the world’s problem.)

        7. Richard McCann


          The “replacement” rate among populations of European descent is generally below zero, even in the U.S. The population of this demographic is already declining.

    2. Richard McCann


      If we want to control population growth, we need to improve the socio economic status of women worldwide. This has been known since the 1980s.

  4. Ron

    Don:  “This analysis assumes no major changes in life expectancy, a stable birth rate, and annual immigration of 1 million newcomers.”

    A lot of assumptions, there.  Including, but not limited to enabling the worldwide problem to continue, via immigration.  Unless those other countries also address the problem.


  5. Ron

    From article, below:  “It’s impossible to ignore population growth as a major driver of the climate crisis. So why the silence? Why do we ignore the elephant in the room? Why is it not front and center in every policy discussion?

    A big part of the reason is because it is a subject fraught with controversy. It carries with it the issues of birth control, abortion and family planning, all of which generate heated disagreement from people with opposing views. This polarization has, to an extent, resulted in numbing of policy conversation, some sort of mutual understanding that it’s best to just not talk about it.”

  6. Robb Davis

    I am not sure what the point of raising population growth is here.  Some of the earliest concerns related to environment, food production, and “sustainability” came from demographers (in the 70s and 80s) who were concerned about population growth.  To say that environmentalists are not concerned about this is wrong.  The fact is, fertility rates have plummeted worldwide over the past generation and nearly half of the world’s nations are at “replacement fertility” levels—meaning their populations (based solely on fertility) is on the way to stabilitization.

    These changes are, as Don has already pointed out, the result of overall economic development and advances in women’s education.  In all my years working in family planning in Africa (which was part of a broader set of public health interventions), the number one concern of women was how they could reduce the number of children they had.  They understood intuitively that the well being of their existing children was linked to ongoing (and to them, seemingly endless) pregnancies.  They wanted us to help them stop having kids.

    The reason population continues to be challenging is that despite the reductions, “population momentum” means that the world population continues to grow even if fertility, globally, drops to zero.  This is why the UN projects replacement level fertility by the middle of this century but continued world population growth well into the 2100s.

    And, just for the sake of comparison out of 200 countries in the World Population Review’s table of “total fertility rate” (TFR) the highest TFR is in Niger, where the average woman will have 7.2 children during her lifetime. The lowest is Taiwan at 1.2 children per woman.  Replacement fertility is 2.1 and the United States is at 135th with below replacement fertility of 1.9 children per woman.  US population growth is a function of population movement, not fertility.

    I would argue that the policies needed to reduce fertility are already in place and have been for decades.  If commenters here are suggesting that a rapid drop to “zero” should be a policy goal (I do not believe it should be or can be), I would ask them to suggest SPECIFIC policy recommendations, and how they will implement them.  If they believe, for example, that the US or the world should implement China’s “one child policy,” I would like to know how they propose to make that happen.

    1. Jim Hoch

      Robb, China does not have a “one child policy”, that has been gone for a couple of years now. The birthrate is China has dropped below replacement and they are more concerned about the ratio of seniors to productive people.

      Japan is below replacement at this as is the US. As you note any growth comes from migration rather than our own birthrate. Given that our birthrate is driven by the immigrants from countries with high birthrates we could have both immigration and low population growth by limiting people from high birth countries.

      To answer your specific question, “how do we get to zero or below?” I do not have any specific recommendations. I’ve always thought that infectious disease would help us with this and that is still a possibility. It increasingly looks like climate change will be the agent of population reduction.

      Regardless this manifesto is ridiculous on a number of levels:

      1) Unrealistic and impossible. Don has pointed out numerous shortcomings and overall it reads like like it was written by a bunch poly sci majors in a dispensary.

      2) It does not address the root cause of climate change, the population increase. Despite your hopeful words above the population is still increasing and everyone would like a 3500 square foot house with air conditioning and an SUV in the garage.

      3) It has a grab bag of unrelated and often contradictory policy recommendations and aspirations. As an example we are not going to become a global green power manufacturing center through raising labor costs. The stoners who wrote this are completely unfamiliar with the history of solar cell production.


      That being said there are numerous things we can do. We can eliminate the power grid in high fire areas. No grid would ensure local production which would dramatically lower both fires and energy usage. Continue the push on mileage for vehicles. I personally would like to see the end of personal transport pickup truck. Buy and crush old pickups and SUVs. Refuse new registrations for old high pollution vehicles. Buying an old Suburban for $2000 and crushing it is your best bang for the buck and is for more effective than any of the stuff mentioned so far. It would reduce breakdowns on freeways as well.

      Let me echo Don, you will not eliminate FF without nuclear.






      1. Richard McCann

        California is well on its way to eliminating fossil fueled electricity without nuclear power, and it has already eliminated coal power (there’s some stray coal power from the Rockies, but minuscule amounts.) The U.S. has yet again failed to construct new generation nukes in South Carolina and Georgia (big news in the power industry this year). Nuclear is unlikely to be a viable option without a technological breakthrough that also reduces costs. On the other hand, we have enough solar and wind potential to cover all of our electricity needs.

  7. Robb Davis

    One other point… in my years working in public health programs—which included family planning projects—the only threat to funding of such programs came when conservative Republican administrations were in place.  This was due to fundamental opposition to family planning methods, particularly forms like IUDs that certain Christian groups considered to be the equivalent of abortion.  Of course, voluntary and safe pregnancy termination (abortion) promotion was also taboo—notwithstanding the great need and demand for it by women whose only other choice was unhygienic and dangerous abortions.  So, at times the US government itself has acted against the interests of people around the world vis-a-vis family planning and that has slowed progress towards fertility reductions and women’s health improvements.

  8. Ron

    Robb:  “I am not sure what the point of raising population growth is here.”

    From article, below: “He begins by acknowledging that increasing global population is one important factor in gauging the effect of the climate crisis, the overall impact of which can be summed up as “Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology.” Or, I=PxAxT. Increases in any of the three can multiply environmental impact.

    He also acknowledges the present calculated total global population (about 7.5 billion and the generally accepted projected increases to 8.6 billion by 2030, 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100). We’ve been adding a rough average of a billion people every dozen or so years since the 1960s.”

    Robb:  “I would like to know how they propose to make that happen.”

    I’d suggest that we start by acknowledging the problem, and leaving out accusations of racism that some automatically make.  For example (in addition to Craig’s comment above):

    “But, the author goes on to discuss “population’s unsavory associations.” Quoting again, “When political movements or leaders adopt population control as a central concern … let’s just say it never goes well. In practice, where you find concern over ‘population,’ you very often find racism, xenophobia or eugenics lurking in the wings. It’s almost, ahem, particular populations that need reducing.”

    Tough to have an honest conversation, when some make such claims.

  9. Robb Davis

    My comment was directed at the idea that environmentalists are avoiding the population issue.  I do not believe they are.  I could point to any number of organizations who are promoting more funding for voluntary family planning efforts around the world.  No one is burying their head in the sand.  Population growth is a challenge that is being addressed and could be addressed better with more funding to provide something that people worldwide want.


      1. Richard McCann

        Jim Hoch,

        Is there another manifesto that talks about other issues in such a direct way that I haven’t seen? Robb has correctly pointed out that Ron is incorrect that environmentalists are ignoring population growth. The fundamental problem is the inertia of 1) cultural and 2) educational changes, and 3) the resistance to population control measures by conservative U.S. political forces. Unless Ron has some other proposed policy step that will rapidly decrease population growth, he has nothing else to offer and seems to be saying that we shouldn’t bother undertaking any other policy initiatives (all of which would inconvenience him) until we address population growth fully. That of course is a foolish suggestion.

        1. Ron


          Richard:  “Robb has correctly pointed out that Ron is incorrect that environmentalists are ignoring population growth.”

          Robb is totally incorrect regarding this.  I’ve posted a couple articles, already.  Pretty sure that you know how to find such articles on the Internet, but here’s some more (that took me about a second to find).  I’ve barely looked at them, but the gist seems to be there:

          Richard:  “That of course is a foolish suggestion.”

          I so appreciate it when others make up a suggestion on their own (and attribute it to me), and then label it as “foolish”. The best part is that it doesn’t even require my participation, at all.

          Yeap – I’m really going to miss commenting on the Vanguard. Unlike those who post using partial names, I can clearly see how much more fair-minded, intelligent and reasonable those who use their full names really are!


          1. Don Shor

            Maybe we can all just stipulate, as they say, that population control is an important part of managing climate change, and move on to discussion of actual policy measures. The United States has achieved a birth rate that is lower than replacement. Immigration does not cause population growth, it is just the movement of people. So there is nothing in current US policy that needs to change. Helping other countries achieve greater affluence and education and availability of birth control is important, and we provide foreign aid for that. So promoting increased foreign aid seems like a part of a long-range climate policy. Other than that, it’s not really a significant part of the current climate debate precisely because it isn’t really relevant to the US.

        2. Ron

          Those were all on the first page of my search, completed within a few seconds.

          I can find other articles (in addition to the Davis Enterprise column and NY Times article that I posted), if you’d like.  Or, you can search for them yourself.

          Or, you can continue denying this issue, as you, Richard, and Robb have done. (And in your case, applying personal racial overtones to my response.)

        3. Ron

          Don:   “Immigration does not cause population growth, it is just the movement of people.”

          It can theoretically enable countries to avoid addressing it by moving people to other countries, instead of dealing with it internally. And, if those new residents come from areas where the problem is not acknowledged, then the problem may continue in their new, adopted country.

          In some ways, it’s similar to local growth/development issues. That is, every area can get screwed up and overdeveloped, instead of limiting it to some areas.

          1. Don Shor

            As has been pointed out to you already, most of the countries from which people are immigrating to the US have already achieved or are near to ZPG. The number from the other countries is a trivial amount with respect to our total population. So again: we all recognize that population growth is a factor in climate change. Agreed. Got it.
            All of those other countries are signatories to the Paris Accord. We aren’t, anymore.

        4. Ron

          Thank you, Craig!

          This is also a reason that (unlike David), I view the efforts to preserve farmland and open space around Ventura county as a good thing, instead of something that is “wrong”.  Even though I have no connection to that area.

          It truly gives me hope, when I see efforts such as this. Unfortunately, it is still largely the “exception” rather than the “rule”, in California and beyond.

          As a side note, I believe that another 19,000 homes or so were recently approved in a high-danger fire area, near Los Angeles.

          1. David Greenwald

            It is important to note that the article I wrote, Dan Walters cited Ventura County as his example, I never weighed in on whether or not I agree with the point. Instead my point was this: the (economic) downturn (in Ventura County) can be directly traced to the growing housing affordability crisis and namely, “the inability of businesses to attract and retain talent.”

  10. Ron

    Another quote from the article, below (with emphasis added by me):

    “Further setting the stage for his argument, he cites United Nations estimates that more than 50 percent of the population increase by 2100 will be in nine countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States, Uganda and Indonesia. (Note: I was surprised that the United States was included on this list.)”

    Some environmental groups are absolutely avoiding the issue, due to comments like Craig’s and those noted in the Enterprise article.  Pretty sure that I can find additional evidence of that. During the time that this comment was posting, I’ve found an abundance of articles regarding this fact. Here’s one, without even reading through it:

  11. Robb Davis

    US TFR is below replacement.

    I speak as someone who has worked in public health for decades and I am a strong supporter of actions to reduce GHG emissions.

    There is no denial about the challenges of population growth.

    There are practical solutions that honor people’s civil liberties and health needs.

    There is no need for a dichotomous framing of the issue or accusations towards those who are part of the environmental movement.  The focus in the US should be on what we control: our own GHG-emitting practices and policies that fail to address what WE do here.

      1. Robb Davis

        I am speaking for myself and I am not limiting my comments to the manifesto.

        Also I realize that the one child policy has ended.  But it existed for a long time and was, arguably, a policy that restricted individual and family freedoms. You wrote:

        Given that our birthrate is driven by the immigrants from countries with high birthrates we could have both immigration and low population growth by limiting people from high birth countries

        I think you mean our “growth” rate (not birthrate).  Of the top five “sending” countries to the US-Mexico, India, Philippines, China, and Vietnam.  One is near replacement fertility (India 2.3), one is above (Philippines 2.8) and the other three are at or below replacement fertility, including the number one sending nation: Mexico.

    1. Ron

      You have a “denial regarding the denial”, regarding the reluctance of environmental groups to even discuss the issue.

      The very first line in the article I posted above states the following:

      Major American environmental groups have dodged the subject of population control for decades, wary of getting caught up in the bruising politics of reproductive health.

      Again, there’s lots of articles on the Internet regarding the reluctance of environmental groups to address this concern. And, that’s something that could be addressed, by U.S.-based environmental groups.

      Bottom line is that if population growth is not addressed, global warming and all other environmental problems will worsen – including species extinctions. Even if we all start driving Priuses, riding bicycles, recycle, and stop flushing toilets.

      1. Robb Davis

        So, I have talked about my work in this area.  What exactly do you think we should do differently Ron?  What interventions or policy changes do you want the environmental groups to espouse?  Do you want them merely to say: “We support efforts to slow population growth?” If that is not enough, what do you want them to espouse?  It would be helpful if you could be specific.

        I have been on the ground, I have seen the difference community-based family planning programs can play in an environment of improved well being and increased opportunity for young women.  I know we can do more and I support that.

        If you want something else then what is it?  Since you view this with such importance, which organizations do you support to expand availability of contraception and safe abortions?  What are you for in terms of promising programs?

        If you just say “population control must be a priority” then I get Craig’s concern—absolutely.  Because that kind of language, without specific programmatic foci that respect human rights IS a prescription for practices that are coercive and undemocratic.

        1. Ron

          Robb:  “If you just say “population control must be a priority” then I get Craig’s concern—absolutely.”

          Notwithstanding the rest of your comments and reported laudable efforts, I’d say that if you’re agreeing with Craig’s racist comments, then you’re part of the problem. And, this is where I clearly differentiate with some who claim to have “liberal” views.

          On a broader level, that includes a lack of willingness to openly and honestly discuss the problem in the first place.

        2. Richard McCann


          You still haven’t answered Robb’s very specific questions. Again, you spend your time evading the points of your discussants just so you can try to regurgitate some hackneyed idea and making no progress in the discussion. What is it that you want the others on this website to agree to? If you read John Mott-Smith’s column carefully (which you appear to not have done), you will see that he said that population controls IS important, and the most effective means is global female empowerment. Is it that you disagree with female empowerment? (Which by the way appears to be a threat at the heart of the recent “populist” authoritarian governments.)

  12. Jim Hoch

    The other low hanging fruit are ships. Ships are a large and increasing source of air pollution and also contribute to water pollution. This is both when in port and at sea.

    The “Flag of Convenience” system prevents any accountability or progress in reducing pollution there. That system could be eliminated and big gains made relatively easily.


  13. Robb Davis

    So Ron, I am going to repeat my question:

    What specific policies do you propose to deal with the population problem?

    My comment about Craig is to acknowledge there is a history to people using language to promote policies that are problematic at best—and I am speaking specifically about population control.  My alma mater—where I studied population dynamics—Johns Hopkins, was a place where views on human perfectability and solving problems of underdevelopment, led to eugenics.  I raised the one child policy because I have grave concerns about using solutions like it to deal with the population problem. These things happened in the past 100 years.  They are not theoretical. I would not support them.

    So, I am not calling you or anyone a racist.  I am merely looking back at a lived history of calls for things like population control and recognizing that they have been used in terrible ways.

    I don’t think that makes me part of the problem.  I think there is a cautionary tale here and, perhaps, real reasons why some people are cautious about approaching the issue.

    So, to reiterate, I share your concerns and ask you to specify what solutions you would propose given them.  You have identified a problem (you have written about these concerns any number of times here), and so I imagine you have a preferred pathway forward.  I feel like in this forum it is reasonable to ask what that pathway is.

    1. Ron

      Robb:  I realize that you weren’t calling me a racist.  But, a failure to understand and acknowledge that comments such as Craig’s are racist is a form of racism, itself.  It is not the first time he’s made such comments, e.g., regarding “older/privileged white men”, such as yourself.  (When did this become acceptable, to you or anyone else?)

      The natural outcome of comments such as Craig’s (which are by no means unique) means that we, as a society, become fearful of honestly addressing problems.  (Another example of this is a failure to acknowledge that some minority groups are incarcerated at higher rates for reasons other than racial profiling.)

      When a society isn’t honest with itself, then problems can never really be discussed or addressed. And then, we start looking toward “solutions” that are (at best) a bandaid to the problem. (And sometimes, lead in a completely opposite direction – away from solutions.)

      This extends to environmental groups, who have forsaken what could be a leading position regarding efforts to call attention to the need to stabilize population.  (I believe that there was a split within the environmental movement years ago, regarding whether or not to address this problem.  Unfortunately, the “politically correct” option was largely chosen.)

      Again, it starts with an honest discussion.  That’s the first (missing) step. I’d suggest starting there.


      1. Richard McCann


        The higher incarceration rates for African Americans are rooted almost entirely in the exclusionary treatment of that demographic for almost 4 centuries in America. “Racial profiling” is but one of many, many factors that are driving that rate.  Prisons were used as a new form of enslavement in the Southern states post Civil War, and that pattern has continued since.

        Again, we are all missing what your proposed solution is to population growth if it is not promotion of female empowerment. (And we already saw the disaster of the one-child policy in China, so don’t that bring that up. It’s like the “5-year Plan” of Communism.)

  14. Don Shor

    As the United States shifts away from fossil fuels, we must simultaneously ramp up energy efficiency and transition to clean, renewable energy to power the nation’s economy where, in addition to excluding fossil fuels, any definition of renewable energy must also exclude all combustion-based power generation, nuclear, biomass energy, large scale hydro and waste-to-energy technologies.

    Emphasis added.

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