The Climate Mobilization's "Victory Plan" aims to detail how a fully mobilized United States government could drive our economy to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, restore a safe climate, end the sixth mass extinction, reverse ecological overshoot — and revitalize America.
This is far beyond anything proposed in today’s polite political debates about climate action. We believe that unless policymakers, advocates, and citizens envision what "victory" might actually look like when facing the complexity of our looming emergency, it's impossible to determine a horizon for our ambitions that is in line with the increasingly stark realities of climate science.
Thanks to TCM co-founder Ezra Silk for this enormous effort, and to our ally Paul Gilding for providing an excellent foreword.
This is still in draft form, and we are seeking input from experts and citizen Mobilizers to help us take it to the next level.
Any constructive feedback is welcome. Please let us know what you think!*
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Congratulations on the plan, but -- As you know, Ezra, you and I had started a Business Process model of functions to be done for the Victory Plan, now delayed at least. This is not to be mistaken for documentation, but fleshes out the Plan to include inputs and outputs to functions performed by the various organizations envisioned. The Plan is currently presentable and shows intentions but is not validated or actionable until some formalization like IDEF models show the business processes, data passed between them and organizations performing them in detail and graphically (description available from firstname.lastname@example.org). Unfortunately, I have not found any references mentioning WWII mobilization efforts that talk to these points. Uniformly, they feature personalities, politics and manufacturing plants. An effort to rationalize TCM efforts may have to be constructed out of whole cloth and should involve representatives from all stakeholders.
Another question; where exactly will the US government borrow all this money from? China? And by the time all is said and done, how much will the yearly interest on the National Debt be? If it is too high, and takes up too much of the GDP, we will be in a lot of trouble.
How will you get the folks in "flyover Country" to agree to this? They will see it as rich city liberals confiscating their land and way of life. And they will be as bitter about it as any other group whose land and livelihood have been taken from them. It is politically naive to think that the inhabitants of Wyoming or Texas will be thrilled to sell off their ranches and cap their oil wells. So what you are probably looking at is Civil war round 2, as Texas, the deep south, Alaska, and the Great Plains states attempt to secede from the Union. Whoever wins this war, it will make achieving the stated goals difficult to impossible. What is your plan for this? Or will you wait until 100% of the American people back this?
The large corporations gained considerable power as a result of the WW2 mobilization. The following book is an important reference for how we approach this. Kolko, Gabriel. After Socialism: Reconstructing Critical Social Thought (see p. 101). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.
Superb plan overall. I thought Paul Gildings foreword was excellent, as was the structure and language of the overall plan. I believe he should talk up a little more about how it was a time that was well remembered, the feeling of purpose- worthy of it's own section perhaps. The buildings section was a little short for me; I think the part about the residential and commercial being 13% or so of emissions, but all of electricity generated (nearly) is routed to buildings residential or commercial.
I am having an interesting dialectic that I need to parse out. As someone who came from the Northeast but has lived in the far corner of the continental U.S. most of my life, I have developed and practiced a regionalist approach. I have been a bioregionalist with a strong Cascadian identity, and that crosses the border into BC. That grew out of a set of thinkers who strongly influenced the 70s and 80s, E.F. Schumacher, Kirkpatrick Sale, and their predecessors, including Leopold Kohr and Lewis Mumford. I am a decentralist at heart, believing significant innovation always starts from the bottom up.
I was early into the sustainable cities movement, there by the late 1980s. The group I helped found in 1998, Climate Solutions, had as its original vision to make the Northwest a global warming solutions model. Acting at the local and state level on climate was an outlier idea when we started. But when Bush came in, it became quite the vogue. Our group even had a little to do with warming the waters for California AB32. That idea, modeling solutions at the local and regional levels, has driven my work. Even now, my practical organizing through 350 Seattle is about hatching a Community Solutions campaign that builds community power and climate justice through rebuilding the commons – community-owned energy and housing, much improved and more accessible transit.
So there is a natural tension with the federally-oriented, dirigiste approach of the Victory Plan. Not tension in the sense of opposition, but in the sense of coming at the challenge -from different directions. At this point, we are so far beyond the danger point in climate that we need the kind of actions contemplated in the Victory Plan. At the same time, it is those kind of centralized actions at the federal level that draw the most resistance and are most politically difficult to achieve.
Are there ways to launch the actual mobilization from the ground up, actions that can be taken by state and local governments, by individuals, enlightened businesses and the nonprofit sector? The increases in renewable electricity goals recently enacted in California, Hawaii and Oregon might be one example, though only Hawaii goes 100%, and that by 2045. In Washington state, the forces associated with the Our Children’s Trust lawsuit here are pushing legislation to have the state adopt carbon limits indicated by the Jim Hansen science team backing them, admittedly less ambitious than the TCM 10-year goal.
Ultimately, getting down to the practicalities of actually ramping up mobilization scale efforts in Washington state and Seattle, it's about the money. Most state and local governments are fiscally limited. So ultimately a big federal pull is required. Could we push state energy planners and regulators to begin doing Jacobson-style plans for fossil fuel phase out with a 2025 parameter? Could we push legislation and initiatives to do this? I know we'll be thinking about it out here.
So the need to begin action at local and state levels would be my main comment and challenge to the Victory Plan so far. What does that look like? I would not want to divert to half-measures and gradualism at state and local levels. Actions would have to be consonant with the science. But it seems that this approach broadens organizing opportunities when it is placed in the context of pushing national and global action. Again, an interesting dialectic.
Raising the minimum wage has been tried before. It does not give us better quality of lives for long, it does not lead to economic justice, it does not close the gap between the rich and poor. It will lead to inflation. Companies will raise their prices to pay for higher wages and maintain their profitability. Wages will not go far as prices for food and gas go up as well. Even with a pay increase we are still at a starvation wage. The middle class who do not see wages increase just find their standard of living hit even harder. Essentially, raising the minimum wage without growing the economy just puts raising the poverty line up and the middle class closer to it. Raising the minimum wage will hurt small businesses. The labor force becomes too expensive and small businesses are not able to compete on prices losing customers to larger corporations. Small business will be force cut back on benefits, hire fewer employees, or go out of business. Larger companies will continue to outsource jobs where they can find cheaper labor. People seeking employment will find fewer jobs available. Let’s stop trying to solve the problem with the same tried and failed fixes. We must try more innovative ways to improve our economy and people’s lives. There are other solutions that will lead to greater economic justice. Yes, we need higher wages across the lower and middle classes. One of the best ways to get higher wages is JOB GROWTH. When employers have to compete for employees they will offer higher wages, better benefits, sign-on bonuses, job training and whatever else they must to be the employer of choice. When jobs are created, there is more to go around and we all experience greater abundance. We also need to close the wage disparity between the executives and hourly workers. We need to incentive companies to adopt conscious capitalism practice such as a PAY RATIO where the highest salaried executive and the lowest earning worker would be set. We can follow the example of Ben and Jerry’s to see corporate success can be achieved at a ratio of 5 to 1. Greedy executives may not be willing to give up having six mansions, so perhaps they will find a 20 to 1 ratio more palatable. It is still a drastic improvement from the current ratio of 500:1 or even higher. Instead of offering tax breaks to major corporations who are paying low wages and outsourcing jobs, we can incentive EMPLOYEE OWNED corporations where employees are vested and share in the company’s success. Let’s establish WORK COUNCILS in large corporations that are the greatest violators of low wages to ensure employees have negotiation power to push for higher wages when it is economically feasible for a company and they can directly influence business decisions to avoid massive layoffs aimed solely at increasing profitability. Instead of pushing legislation that indiscriminately hurts everyone, let’s support practices that benefit everyone and improves our economy.
You write "Electrify almost all building services to enable shutdown of natural gas distribution networks." You are overlooking the power to gas (methane) technologies which allow long term storage of renewable energy in the gas pipeline network.
A problem to address in the Victory Plan = The structural distinctions between the U.S. Federal government and corporations are vastly different today from what they were in WW II days. Supranational corporations predominately create and enforce policy through the complex dance of money and the revolving door peopling of nation-state governments from their own ranks. Suggested by Carol Cina.
To achieve the level of ‘change’ needed now to ‘slow down’ and hopefully HALT climate change at this point in time is the “Solution 2 Pollution” system for responsible fuel combustion as I now call it. 1986 would have been a better time to see it ‘commercialized’ under P.E. Trudeau at EXPO ‘86’ when the WORLD came to visit ... Because it WAS already available, then at COP 21 PM Justin Trudeau could have “UNVEILED” it to the ‘World’ AGAIN! ... But NOW IT IS IMPERATIVE to initiate! Re; http://www.thepetitionsite.com/670/085/292/tell-pm-justin-t.-to-stop-jesting-me-on-climate-change-...-now/
My comments are checkers moves in your game of 3D chess: 1. I am concerned about abuse in the Transition Compensation and Adjustment Authority. I would like to see a mechanism to deny compensation to companies that are guilty of misleading the public on the seriousness of the climate emergency. 2. I would like to see language added to the Pledge to Mobilize to the effect that individuals, candidates and elected officials have read and endorse the Victory Plan.
This is a very interesting document. Obviously, it is VERY United States-centric. The role of international agreements (COP21 anyone) or other national efforts are utterly lacking. In fact, if you accept the urgent tone on face value, then one could argue that the very future of civilization rests on Hillary Clinton winning the election and then her being convinced to essentially immediately pursue the emergency measures outlined in the plan (not to mention getting it through Congress!). None off the timelines presented are remotely achievable if we do not start until after the 2020 elections or later. In a similar vein, there is very little in the plan on how other nations might synergize with the US if it pursued the plan as described. If the US were to adopt these measures, will the rest of the world fall in line and head off catastrophe? The plan is pretty thin on this point. My other major comment is that I am not convinced that the economy as currently structured is robust enough to accommodate the massive changes envisioned in a very short time. The shuttering of various industries, and the scaling up of others, as envisioned, would cause vast dislocations in labor markets. Millions will become unemployed while millions will need to be trained and re-employed. The plan envisions trillions in government spending. I’m just not sure that the economy can accommodate such massive changes and remain stable. Finally, there is essentially no science in the document to back up the urgent timetable. There is not universal agreement that there is zero carbon budget remaining, for example. While I understand not putting the science in the plan, it will need to be part of the larger plan to convince President Clinton to pursue the program outlined. Good luck!
Erza, you have outdone yourself. A great and needed work. Are you planning on writing about how we mobilize politically to make the rest of the mobilization feasible? If not, what readings or organizations do you recommend. Best, Rev. Earl W. Koteen
The US should lead the charge in greening the world's economies with a Green New Deal, put forth by the Green Party and endorsed now by the United Nations. (http://gpus.org/organizing-tools/the-green-new-deal/) The goal is to spend the next 13 years transitioning our economy to 100% clean energy, phasing out all fossil fuel use by 2030. The bill is written, the plan set, we just need politicians willing to enact it. It would create at least 20 million jobs in the US alone, offsetting the unemployment from the scale-down of industries like fossil fuel, oil, and carbon in addition to the military industrial complex. Other countries with their own Green Parties should be able to enact this somewhat seamlessly, and the US should work directly with our neighbors, Canada and Mexico, and assist other countries where possible. The severity of the climate crisis has passed the point where we can afford politicians who believe we're making good progress (and "safe fracking") more than those who believe it's a Chinese hoax or "God" will prevent the decay of the planet; neither can we afford those who oppose government regulations in the name of small government and "freedom." We must call this what it is: a Climate Emergency, and clean House (and Senate) of any 'incremental change'- and status quo-endorsing politicians. It has been proposed by many different people since at least 2008. Every year that we ignore this crisis is a year not only wasted but a year of driving up fossil fuel use and contributing to the already-growing threats the changing climate poses (Fossil fuel use has increased under President Obama more than under President Bush, FYI). If we continue preoccupying ourselves and fear-mongering about the "lesser evil," we prolong the inevitable. Instead, we must think outside the bounds of elections--by, for example, voting Green this election in America, even if the current nominee doesn't win, the Green Party would be much more competitive in 2020 and 2024, even if that means dealing with four years of the "greater" evil. If, instead, everyone flocks to the "lesser" evil, then the non-corporate political parties which support these movements never grow and we have the same status quo "we are making good progress; fracking is OK" people in power, forever fearing the greater evil, and rationalizing the very things we are afraid of when they're given to us by the 'lesser' evil.
Because he has gotten us this far long before you were involved. Don't foolishly tear down the movement or create divisiveness.
Feedback on the document. First, immense congratulations on an incredibly detailed comprehensive document. The following comments are meant only as feedback, and not in any way meant to take away from congratulations. The document is so dense that it would likely take me months to absorb so as to do it justice (and then distract me from other ways of contributing). Thus I can scan it, but I cannot not offer critique in detail (even if I had the expertise to do so). What would be most helpful to me would be a 4-5 page summary of key points, from whence I could then refer back to the document in depth if needed (by myself or others in discussion). This summary needs to be near the beginning and easily extracted from the main body, thus available for wider distribution. On a number of occasions, the transition from referencing the past to referencing the present is too rapid, and I was initially left in confusion. A specific example is on page 30, para 2 (past) to para 3 (present) “The President should . . .” A lead-in such as “In the current emergency response to global warming, the President should . . .” would be very helpful. What follows is a tricky point (please remember that i am simply telling my truths so as to be honest; this is the nature of feedback, not criticism): Overall, the document is heavily orientated to America. I am a Canadian. I am very aware of how, even in Canada, there is an anti-American stance that objects to the strong tendency of Americans to language as if the only country was America. And unfortunately this document is of that ilk. For example, America did not win the war — the Allies won the war, albeit the massive industrial weight of America was a major factor.But when you say America won the war, you lose the contributions of Canada, Britain, etc. I am not being picky; there are many other examples I could give. And the last thing needed at present is to alienate other communities, especially ones who wish to applaud the work you are doing. Global warming is a world issue, not an American issue. And it is an emotional issue, not just a technological one. If mobilization is to be effective , the mobilization must eventually be international in its scope. As a simple remedy, I would suggest adding a paragraph or two at the beginning in which you acknowledge the international scope, both of winning WWII and of global warming, and that the need is for international mobilization. You could then indicate that the current document addresses the American scene, and may provide a model for how international and other national bodies might respond in kind. Somewhere in the body of the document, you could then scope out how, for example, American and China might then interact more effectively. Again, thanks for all the work. Dave MacQuarrie, West Vancouver, BC.