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As a nation we face three converging crises: the COVID19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession; the climate emergency; and extreme inequality.
Unemployment is rising at the fastest rate since the 2008 crash, and could eventually reach 20% — twice as high as the Great Recession. We needimmediate and sustained intervention to protect people’s health and economic well-being, with a special focus on the most vulnerable. We must also begin planning our economic recovery in a way that protects us from the impact of climate change and lifts up workers and frontline communities.
Many other groups are focused on the emergency stimulus package to stabilize our economy, on preventing harm in an equitable way — which we fully support — so this letter focuses on the longer-term challenge of jumpstarting economic recovery and transitioning to a more sustainable economy. The question isn’t whether we will next need a major economic recovery stimulus, but what kind of stimulus should we pursue? In response we, climate and social policy experts in academia and civil society, have developed a menu of solutions that would collectively comprise a Green Stimulus.
The United States confronts the danger of an economic stimulus that restores — or even deepens — our reliance on fossil fuels. This danger comes from explicit proposals to bail out the fossil fuel sector and roll back workers’ rights, and also from generic general stimulus policies that do not take climate into account. Indeed, infrastructure spending as usual — e.g. highway expansion — will lock in more carbon pollution for decades. We can avoid these problems by crafting a recovery that accelerates the creation of a 21st century green economy.
Thus, we propose an ambitious Green Stimulus of at least $2 trillion that creates millions of family-sustaining green jobs, lifts standards of living, accelerates a just transition off fossil fuels, ensures a controlling stake for the public in all private sector bailout plans, and helps make our society and economy stronger and more resilient in the face of pandemic, recession, and climate emergency in the years ahead. This stimulus should be automatically renewed annually at 4% of GDP per year (roughly $850 billion) until the economy is fully decarbonized and the unemployment rate is below 3.5%. A Green Stimulus would make short-term interventions, restructure political and economic power towards workers and communities, and build toward deep long-term change.
Most of the physical work proposed here cannot begin immediately. We must focus on halting the spread of deadly illness. However, we can do all the preparatory work now to make green projects “shovel ready.” Right now, legislative action as well as planning work, done safely through online channels, including public debate and consultation, can ensure that physical projects can commence as soon as it is feasible to restart major in-person work across the economy.
This preparatory phase must include building up capacity within existing federal, state, and local government agencies (and chartering new ones as necessary) to help manage the implementation phase of this stimulus. In the weeks ahead, the government will undoubtedly pass further stimulus measures. At each step, we must push for that stimulus to be green.
Our proposal for a Green Stimulus is aligned with the “5 Principles for Just COVID-19 Relief and Stimulus,” as put forward by over 300 environmental, justice, labor, and movement organizations: (1) Health is the top priority, for all people, with no exceptions; (2) Provide economic relief directly to the people; (3) Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives; (4) Make a down payment on a regenerative economy, while preventing future crises; and, (5) Protect our democratic process while protecting each other.
Additionally, our proposal is grounded four key strategies, cutting across industrial sectors and bureaucratic domains:
- Create millions of new family-sustaining, career-track green jobs in clean energy expansion, building retrofits and sustainable homebuilding, local food economies, public transit maintenance and operations, electric appliance and vehicle manufacturing, green infrastructure construction and management, local and sustainable textiles and apparel, and partnering with existing pre-approved apprenticeship programs to bring more low-income and workers of color into good union jobs;
- Deliver strategic investments — like green housing retrofits, rooftop solar installation, electric bus deployment, rural broadband development, and other forms of economic diversification — to lift up and collaborate with frontline communities, including communities of color, Indigenous communities, low-income communities, communities that have suffered disinvestment, and communities that have historically borne the brunt of pollution and climate harm;
- Expand public and employee ownership by leveraging existing public agencies and assets (including public transit agencies, local housing authorities, public school districts, and electric co-ops), taking equity stakes in companies receiving substantial direct investment (including the airline, fossil fuel, and cruise industries), and conditioning strategic aspects of the stimulus package on worker self-determination measures and cooperatives; and,
- Make rapid cuts to carbon pollution consistent with keeping global warming as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as the climate science tells us is required to limit further climate breakdown, and protect salaries, benefits, and retirements of fossil fuel workers.
Below, we outline a menu of practical policy interventions that align with these principles and strategies. Many of these interventions could be implemented by state and local governments and would benefit from immediate, purposeful planning and preparation, nearly all of which could be done remotely (including mass public procurement, targeted bridge loans and other emergency financial instruments, and expanded tax credits and rebates for high-priority sectors). The menu includes:
1. Housing, Buildings, Civic Infrastructure, and Communities
2. Transportation Workers, Systems, and Infrastructure
3. Labor, Manufacturing, and Just Transition for Workers and Communities
4. Energy System Workers and Infrastructure
5. Farmers, Food Systems, and Rural Communities
6. Green Infrastructure, Public Lands, and the Environment
7. Regulations, Innovation, and Public Investment
8. Green Foreign Policy
This is an inflection point for our nation. This is a pivotal moment to put tens of millions of Americans back to work, building a healthy, clean, and just future. It is heartening to recognize the very broad range of technologies and policy tools at our disposal to ensure that recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic can also dramatically improve the living standards of those most in need — a majority of Americans, in fact.
Moreover, a Green Stimulus agenda is broadly popular, as shown for instance by Data for Progress’s polling around the Green New Deal and green industrial policy. Their latest polling finds majority support for a trillion-dollar investment in green technology. And it finds majority support among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents for a range of public green investments — from renewable energy, to electric buses, underground high-voltage transmission, electric minivans and pickup trucks for rural and suburban areas, smart grid technology, retrofitting buildings with an emphasis on low-income housing, and battery technology.
Finally, we have the opportunity to learn from and improve on the inadequate 2008–2010 stimulus that resulted in a sluggish recovery and centered firms and companies instead of workers. We need a bigger stimulus, more investment in low-carbon projects, and more immediate relief for Main Street. Now is the time to begin the political debate, and legislative work to pass Green Stimulus policies to create jobs, lift up communities, and tackle the climate emergency as we rebuild the economy.
The co-authors of this letter, and endorsing signatories, are listed below, after our policy menu. We call on Members of Congress to consider and carry forward these policy ideas in this forthcoming and any future stimulus packages, to ensure addressing current public health crisis doesn’t exacerbate the climate crisis.
A Green Stimulus Policy Menu
1. HOUSING, BUILDINGS, CIVIC INFRASTRUCTURE, AND COMMUNITIES
- Massively expand the federal Weatherization Assistance Program to cut utility costs and eliminate homes’ carbon emissions, fund state-level equivalent programs, and provide grants to community-based weatherization programs to scale up local efforts, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
- Place moratoria on electricity, gas, and water shutoffs and late fees and reconnect those disconnected prior to the crisis, and rental evictions. Suspend rent and mortgage payments, without fees, and with potential to forgive payments. This will protect the most vulnerable, from some of the immediate effects of the recession and provide indirect income support to communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-income communities.
- Expand funding to and beneficiaries of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, (LIHEAP), while green retrofits are underway. Change eligibility to 200–250% of federal poverty line, thus increasing program beneficiaries. Work to make enrollment automatic based on tax credits, and expand outreach to households that may not have anyone who files.
- Repeal the Fairthcloth Amendment and infuse funds into the National Housing Trust Fund (eg, $50 billion in year 1, $100 billion year 2, $150 billion in year 3) for no-carbon mixed-income social housing, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
- Double tax-credits for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit affordable housing construction, mandate zero-carbon standard for operational carbon (building operations), and a low-carbon standard for embodied emissions of building materials. Fund union apprenticeship programs in communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-income communities.
- Pass and funding the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, to begin immediate public housing retrofits that improve living conditions, create tens of thousands of union jobs for public housing residents and other, nearby low-income workers, and create a new mass market for green building materials.
- Commence immediate public procurement of building materials and appliances to retrofit public housing, federally funded Indian housing, and all relevant government and military buildings. Offer states, cities, and other public agencies the ability to join these heavily discounted bulk purchase orders.
- Invest in dramatic improvements to housing conditions throughout Indian Country through healthy, sustainable retrofits, creating thousands of jobs in those communities.
- Fund school retrofits across the country, with priority for Title 1 schools. Remove fossil fuels, install heat pumps for heating and cooling, and remove all toxic and unhealthy materials including lead, mold, and asbestos, and create tens of thousands of jobs. Increase funding for wraparound services and to make school year-round resiliency hubs for their communities, including by providing disaster relief services.
- Establish a federal green and equitable housing fund, to partner with municipalities that invest in rent-controlled housing for low-income citizens near transit hubs.
- Ensure government-funded construction projects take sea-level rise into account. Restore the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, and, unless required for national security, do not build any new federal buildings within 3 feet of the historic 100-year coastal flood elevation.
- Require states to adopt most advanced current building energy codes, reach codes (e.g. “Zero Code”), and local land use and zoning reforms (e.g., the abolition of parking minimums and single-family zoning) including the provision of competitive, supplemental funding for state and local governments that adopt these reforms. Green building grants should include funding to hire staff in state and local government to internally manage the planning and implementation.
- Enact federal zoning regulation reform to facilitate construction of both dense and affordable housing, with a priority to building near public transit, to ensure new social housing is located in walkable and transit accessible-neighborhoods.
- Develop a subsidy and loan regime to support decarbonizing the building energy use, which would also cut utility costs for homes and businesses, and spur US manufacturing of more affordable, and efficient electric heat pumps, heat-recovery ventilation units, energy-efficient lighting, and building controls.
- Develop a subsidy and loan regime to support decarbonizing construction materials and increasing the carbon-sequestration potential of our building stock through increased use of carbon-smart forestry, engineered-wood/mass timber, low-carbon concrete, fossil fuel free insulation materials, and increased use of plant-based build materials made from agricultural wastes and waste fiber streams, such as hempcrete, compressed strawboard, wood fiberboard insulation, etc. This would support American manufacturing, forestry and agriculture sectors.
- Develop a national green rental subsidy program that provides incentives to landlords for passing the savings accrued from solar and energy efficiency on to tenants (i.e., rentals free of utility charges).
- Implement a green mortgages program through all federally backed mortgage lending that includes an incentive program of 50 basis point reduction in mortgages for zero carbon emissions homes and 25 basis points for zero carbon emissions-ready homes.
- Fully resource ($10 billion) the Public Housing Operating Fund to ensure residents employed in management and on-site jobs are protected, ongoing green retrofit and maintenance contracts are fulfilled, and that local housing authorities are fully prepared to meet their obligations to their communities.
- Provide new funding through the National Endowment for the Arts, Smithsonian, and other federal cultural institutions to support out-of-work artists, designers, and other makers.
- Create a Climate Justice Resiliency Fund to ensure our infrastructure and communities are protected from the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Begin with a national survey to identify areas with high vulnerability to climate impacts, public health challenges, environmental hazards, and other socioeconomic factors. Create grants for communities to fund projects to safeguard vulnerable groups from extreme weather and other environmental harms. And establish an Office of Climate Resiliency for People with Disabilities within the fund to meet specific needs of people with disabilities.
2. TRANSPORTATION WORKERS, SYSTEMS, AND INFRASTRUCTURE
- Provide direct transfers to local transit authorities to ensure they remain solvent, well-maintained, and ready for active service when the pandemic recedes. Local transit authorities are existing, publicly-owned and operated entities managing trillions of dollars worth of capital infrastructure, employing thousands of workers, and they simply cannot be allowed to fail.
- Create thousands of new construction jobs by investing in projects that incentivize densification, including Equitable Transit Oriented Development with an emphasis on affordable housing, through the USDOT.
- Revive the Partnership for Sustainable Communities interagency initiative to align local, place-based economic stimulus projects administered by the USDOT, HUD, and EPA.
- Create thousands of new jobs by offering grants and no-interest, no-match loans to local transit agencies and municipal governments to complete their backlog of shovel-ready ADA-compliance and Complete Streets projects. All disruptive roadway work should be paired with upgrades to sanitary sewer systems and other utilities whenever possible.
- Provide grants and loans to local transit agencies and school boards to fund the purchase of electric railcars and engines and electric buses and electric school buses, with the goal of ending all diesel bus purchases by 2025. This must also include targeted investment to support electric bus and railcar manufacturing capacity within the automobile industry in the United States.
- Create a “Fix It First” mandate for infrastructure and public works projects, as outlined here, requiring all new USDOT funding and financing be directed towards the maintenance and repair of existing roadways, bridges, and other projects. This also includes upgrading commuter rail lines to meet Positive Train Control standards and installing dedicated bike and bus lanes.
3. LABOR, MANUFACTURING, AND JUST TRANSITION FOR WORKERS AND COMMUNITIES
- Provide grants and no-interest loans to develop and accelerate US manufacturing of electric buses (including school buses), electric pickup trucks, electric cars, and other electric vehicles; and, energy-efficient electric appliances.
- Create a federal fund to support formation of worker cooperatives aligned with the goals of rapid decarbonization, such as solar panel installation, regenerative agriculture, urban community gardens, and larger-scale urban farming.
- Implement a Green Durable Goods policy to ensure continued production of essential green products, via massive infusion of federal funds into electric appliance, vehicle, etc. manufacturing. Use direct government purchase of high volumes of green goods to drive increases of green capacity during economic slowdown, as done during the Second World War. Give priority to manufacturers who partner with pre-approved union apprenticeship programs.
- Create a cash for appliances program, funded at least $1 billion, modeled on the Obama stimulus measure, but mandating recycling of all old appliances with a particular focus on preventing HFC leakage.
- Create a public option for electric vehicles, appliances, and other durable goods procurement. All other governments, co-operatives, and non-profit entities would be eligible to place individual orders through this mass federal procurement, with grants and no-interest loans to support their purchases through the Department of Commerce.
- Create a “feebate” program to transfer a pollution surcharge to those who purchase cleaner products. Include a low-income carbon credit so that individuals making within 200% of the federal poverty threshold and in rural households receive 2x or 4x the benefit for the purchase of energy efficient models.
- Create an expansive Women in Cleantech (WiC) training and entrepreneurial support program through the Small Business Administration.
- Provide new opportunities for disadvantaged American green entrepreneurial training and start-up grants through the Small Business Administration.
- Provide just transition benefits for all workers in fossil fuel industries, including five years of wage replacement for displaced workers, housing assistance, job training opportunities, health insurance coverage, pension support, and priority job placement for displaced workers. Provide early retirement support where appropriate.
- Provide tax revenue replacement support for communities impacted by the cessation of extraction and use of fossil fuels.
- Identify and invest in economic diversification strategies for fossil fuel regions by fully funding the project backlog at the Appalachian Regional Commission, Great Lakes Commission, and Delta Regional Authority and creating similar projects in other fossil fuel regions.
- Provide new funding to support opportunities for low-income women to pursue advanced training, new sustainable technologies, and formation of worker cooperative businesses in women’s traditional industries, including textile and apparel.
4. ENERGY SYSTEM WORKERS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
- Create a national clean energy standard through the EPA that applies to all power providers including rural electric cooperatives, climbing steeply to 100% carbon-free energy by 2030.
- Restore the clean energy tax credits and offer a direct incentive to businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, tribes, and low income community members, extending the credit to energy storage so renewable energy sources can provide firm, reliable ‘baseload’ energy.’
- Make all clean energy tax credits (including for consumers) immediately deployable; for consumers they should be immediate and refundable rebates, particularly investing in distributed and community renewable energy to build community wealth and resilience.
- Make regulatory changes to accelerate the environmental review process for clean energy, storage, high voltage transmission, charging stations, and other low-carbon infrastructure projects, inspired by recent reforms in New York State Government, while respecting Indigenous sovereignty and ensuring no sacrifice of public safety.
- Provide a revolving fund through a joint Department of Energy and Treasury initiative to acquire and/or purchase fossil fuel firms that are going bankrupt in order to decommission assets and provide a just transition for affected workers and communities.
- Require a rapid phaseout of fracking and offshore and onshore oil and gas drilling, end new extraction, and end fossil fuel exports, in conjunction with the rapid expansion and unionization of clean energy generation.
- Protect the right of clean energy workers to unionize their workplaces, and incentivize worker ownership in the sector.
- End all fossil fuel subsidies and redirect the funds to help directly-impacted workers and communities in the energy transition.
- Authorize Treasury, federal agencies, and other federal lenders to forgive all government-held fossil fuel debt of rural electric coops and municipal utilities.
- Provide grants and no-interest, no-match loans to all electricity co-ops contingent on rapid decarbonization including implementation of battery storage technology at distribution and end-user levels.
- Provide substantial finance to support the development and deployment of community-shared solar programs, which may work in tandem with the Department of Energy’s technical assistance program for community solar.
- Plan and fund rapid decarbonization of Tennessee Valley Authority and other federally-owned power supplies, and provide logistical and financial support for a mandated decarbonization of rural electricity cooperatives and public power.
5. FARMERS, FOOD SYSTEMS, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES
- Strengthen organic standards and reform agricultural subsidies so that federal support goes to small producers who make investments in their communities and the environment.
- Re-staff and fully fund the USDA and EPA science offices, and the network of agriculture extension offices, to quantify carbon reductions. Support regenerative agriculture and compensate farmers (including regenerative ocean farmers) for carbon reduction practices, such as carbon sequestration in soils, the transition to regional and local farming initiatives, and other practices based on the quantified carbon abatement or sequestration (carbon negative land use) of the practices.
- Prevent food shortages and surpluses by establishing supply management programs and a parity pricing system for farmers that both ensures farmers, farm workers, and every worker along the food chain a living wage and ensures consumers a high-quality, stable, and ensures local supply of agricultural goods.
- Empower the USDA to track, report, and address instances of “food deserts’’ in low-income and inner-city areas by ensuring that fair market priced goods, including organic foods, are available with similar quality and diversity as in other parts of the country.
- Support indigenous farming practices and end biopiracy and contamination of native seeds by fully supporting the work of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) within the Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations.
- Enhance programs for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers as outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, to give them fair access to land and resources. Recognize historical crimes and injustices through a commitment to reparations for black farmers and indigenous communities. One such policy is to stand up a federally backed land trust to buy land from retiring farmers that would then be sold interest-free to farmers of color.
- Incentivize community and cooperatively owned farmland to support local communities and urban residents, including by expanding USDA’s Local Agriculture Market Program, and funding food hubs and distribution centers.
- Make government-owned farmland available as incubator farms for beginning farmers
- Pass comprehensive legislation that provides grants and technical assistance to mitigate climate change by transitioning to independent family farming practices that are regenerative, ecologically sound, improve soil health, and sequester carbon in soil.
- Create a new USDA program dedicated to research and policy development for ocean-based farming. Support regenerative ocean farming, a burgeoning, low-carbon industry focused on seaweeds and shellfish, including through the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and Biomass Crop Assistance Program, as described in the Blue New Deal.
- Direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service to issue new guidance and regulations to better prepare fishing industries and communities for the impacts of climate change.
- Support the shift towards healthy food consumption, by expanding access to the quality of food available through nutrition support programs such as TANF, SNAP, and WIC and classify Farmers Markets as “essential services.”
- Direct the Farm Service Agency to issue no-interest, no-match loans via its land contract guarantee program to ensure failing industrial agricultural land is made available to new and small family farmers whenever possible; and issue no-interest, no-match loans to fund equipment purchases, organic and specialty crop operations, and alternative farming practices.
- Secure the rights of migrant and permanent resident workers and their families to healthcare, food, and shelter without prejudice to pathways to future citizenship.
6. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE, PUBLIC LANDS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT
- Create a Clean Water Corps that provides no-interest loans for municipalities and counties to invest in repairing/replacing combined and sanitary sewer systems, building out alternative stormwater management systems (green infrastructure), and performing other abatement measures (replacing lead pipes and upgrading treatment facilities). Pass the WATER ACT.
- Create a new Civilian Conservation Corps through the Corporation for National and Community Service, chartered to hire workers to restore ecosystems, including forests and wetlands, modeled on the California Conservation Corps.
- Create thousands of new jobs maintaining green infrastructure and climate resilient landscapes by providing new grants and formula funding through the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
- Electrify and modernize our ports, to reduce harmful air pollution and prepare for sea level rise, as described in the Blue New Deal.
- Direct and fully fund the National Parks Service and U.S. Forest Service to begin planning for the climate crisis and clearing their backlog of authorized projects, with priority given those that respond to enhanced threats from wildfire, ecosystem migration, biodiversity loss, and sea level rise.
- Direct and fully fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear their backlog of beneficial dredge, habitat restoration, climate adaptation, and infrastructure maintenance projects.
- Direct and fully fund HUD, DOT, and EPA to fast-track the approval and implementation of local parks and open space plans through no-interest loans and competitive grants for state, local and tribal governments.
- Provide grants to state and local governments to establish “energy parks”that combine recreation (e.g., walking and biking trails, swimming areas, etc.) with clean energy generation, storage, and transmission infrastructure (e.g., wind turbines, PV panels, and battery centers).
- Provide funds to public community colleges, colleges, and universities to develop and implement climate risk management plans and green economy training programs.
- Provide new permanent funding for HUD, DOT, EPA, National Parks Service, U.S. Forest Service, and other built and natural environment-focused agencies to hire new architects, landscape architects, planners, and program managers to coordinate the surge in new projects produced by the stimulus, as outlined here.
7. REGULATIONS, INNOVATION, AND PUBLIC INVESTMENT
- Capitalize a national green investment bank to provide no-income (or Fed funds rate) loans to firms and consumers for any green retrofits, low-carbon investment, etc. Minimum $100 billion for initial capitalization.
- Immediately pass a Federal Reserve Bank Act to make green bonds as secure as treasury bills, to drive down the cost of green investment.
- Require that any bailouts or bridge loans to large corporations, like airlines and cruise lines, be contingent on economic, social, and ecological conditions: 10-year plan to substantially cut majority of carbon pollution with targets every two years; use funds to maintain payroll; government gaining long-term preferred shares or other equity in bailed out firms; provide $15 minimum wage within one year; no share buy-backs or dividends; set asides seats on corporate boards for labor representatives; maintain collective bargaining agreements.
- Direct the Departments of Energy and Treasury to assume a larger share of the financial risks resulting from decarbonization and price fluctuations by requiring U.S. banks to report annually how much fossil fuel equity and debt is created, and/or held as assets, with respect to all fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure.
- Diminish financial risks resulting from decarbonization and price fluctuations by instructing the SEC Office of Credit Ratings to direct credit rating agencies to impose process standard — like climate due diligences — that incorporate the physical and financial risks that climate change presents to securities and other financial assets, as well as to the companies that issue them.
- Restore a climate test, such as the social cost of carbon, as a metric for federal procurement and permitting decisions. These tests should be consistent with the goal of limiting warming to as close as is possible to 1.5°C.
- Reevaluate the discount rates used in all benefit-cost analyses. The discount rates currently used in regulatory analysis have not been updated since 2003, and as the Council of Economic Advisers pointed out in a January 2017 report both the economic understanding of discounting and the real economy have evolved since then.
- Provide technical and financial assistance to state universities, community colleges, and technical schools in launching green energy and economy training programs and degree options.
- Elevate EPA and NOAA Administrators to full Cabinet Secretary status.
- Ensure major government green procurement purchases are both green and include project-labor agreements or prevailing wage requirements (renewable energy, storage, retrofits, low-carbon cement, etc).
- Provide immediate federally-backed bridge loan support to green firms.
- Streamline and fast-track permitting for offshore wind energy, and subsidize offshore wind farm projects, while ensuring projects are sited based on environmental impact assessments, and that Community Benefit Agreements are in place to ensure communities onshore of wind farms receive a share of the benefits as this industry develops. Do not allow visual and aesthetic impacts to be considered as a factor for denying permits (See Blue New Deal plan.)
- Increase ARPA-E funding by up to 100x and look to develop parallel agencies in the Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, and Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Ensure that federal research and development funds in ARPA-E include funding directed to the Mariner program to develop macroalgae for use as feedstock for fuels and chemicals, as well as animal feed.
- Double the budgets for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Office of Science.
- Enable communities to invest in their own low-carbon infrastructure through state-owned public banks.
8. GREEN FOREIGN POLICY
- Reinstate and expand Science Envoy Program to assist US embassies in partnering with ministries, emerging cleantech companies, and university partnerships and exchange.
- Expedite aid packages, including green technology transfers, with priority funds for lowest income countries that adopt national 1.5 degree C roadmaps.
- Ensure fair trade agreements are centered on worker and environmental protections and (where applicable) include indigenous consultation.
- Support local and sustainable farming systems in the US and internationally by removing agriculture from the purview of the World Trade Organization, investing new resources in sustainable timber and forest management cooperatives and companies through the USDA’s Climate Smart Forestry and Agriculture Initiative, and creating new markets in the building industry for sustainably harvested cross laminated timber and other sustainable wood products.
- Classify food supply security as a national security issue and pass trade policies that safeguard food security and food sovereignty at home and around the globe.
- End all funding, direct and indirect, of fossil fuel infrastructure through multilateral organizations connected to the United States, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, OPIC, and the Export-Import Bank.
- Increase funding to the Green Climate Fund to help grow the green economy worldwide, to make U.S. contribution to Green Climate Fund in line with historical U.S. fair share of historical contribution to climate emergency. Consider a progressive tax on the highest carbon-emitting polluters to finance this contribution.
NOTE: The ideas here draw on proposals from a range of Democratic primary campaigns, in particular those of Corey Booker, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren.
Note: affiliations are listed for informational purpose only, and do not imply organizational endorsement.
Johanna Bozuwa, Co-Manager, Climate & Energy Program, The Democracy Collaborative (@johannabozuwa)
J. Mijin Cha, Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy, Occidental College; Fellow at Cornell University Worker Institute; Senior Fellow at Data for Progress. (@jmijincha)
Daniel Aldana Cohen, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2, University of Pennsylvania; Senior Fellow at Data for Progress. (@aldatweets)
Billy Fleming, Wilks Family Director of the Ian L. McHarg Center (@mchargcenter), University of Pennsylvania; Senior Fellow at Data for Progress. (@joobilly)
Jim Goodman, Food sovereignty advocate, signing without organizational affiliation
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D, Marine biologist, founder of Ocean Collectiv and Urban Ocean Lab, and advisor to the Blue New Deal plan. (@ayanaeliza)
Daniel M Kammen, Professor in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley. Former Science Envoy, United States State Department. (@dan_kammen)
Julian Brave NoiseCat, Vice President of Policy & Strategy, Data for Progress (@jnoisecat)
Mark Paul, Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, New College of Florida; Fellow, Roosevelt Institute; Senior Fellow, Data for Progress. (@MarkVinPaul)
Raj Patel, Research Professor, Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; Research Associate, Unit for Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa. (@_RajPatel)
Thea Riofrancos, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Providence College; Senior Fellow at Data for Progress; Faculty Collaborator at Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2. (@triofrancos)