David Roberts @drvox Seattleite transplanted from Tennessee; now blogging for vox.com/ about energy politics. Climate hawk, deficit dove. Not a doctor. May. 18, 2019 2 min read

My new post: The climate plan that Jay Inslee is releasing (piece by piece) is more than a campaign document, it's a detailed roadmap for US decarbonization. The next president should use it, whoever that is.  https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/5/18/18628870/green-new-deal-jay-inslee-2020-climate-change 

1. In the post above, I raise a somewhat fanciful possibility -- one I'd like to mull over a bit more. Basically, my thought is that Inslee's campaign has an expertise on this issue that no other campaign is going to be able to match. So why should they try?

2. Just take Buttigieg, as a random example. He *could* go out looking for good climate wonks that haven't already been claimed & try to put together some sort of bold plan that is distinct from Inslee's, but I'm skeptical he would succeed & I don't really see the point.

3. There are other ways for Buttigieg to distinguish himself, stuff he probably knows & cares about more. Why not, when it comes to climate, just say: "Jay has a great team of experts, they've put together a fantastic plan, and I endorse it." Seriously, why not?

4. You could say the same for Harris, Booker, Castro, that bland white guy, that other bland white guy ... none of them are climate experts, so why force them to pretend during the campaign? Just say: our party's got a climate expert & a great climate plan. Let's do that.

5. They could all choose different parts of the plan to emphasize (it is capacious!). Or they could add supplementary, signature bits to it (like Warren's policy on climate at DoD). They could use it as a framework.

6. The problem with the Green New Deal is that, lacking any policy to fill out all the aspirations, it's become symbolic -- people are just arguing over abstractions like "realism." It's all signaling & posturing, an environment where Fox et al. will always win.

7. Inslee's plan is taking the GND aspirations -- total, sector-by-sector decarbonization, massive job creation, protection of vulnerable communities -- and translating them into detailed policy language that references existing programs & state-level successes.

8. The grand ambitions seem a little less daunting in this form. Like, yeah, it's a big job, but here are the programs, the policies, the acronyms. "War-time mobilization" is big & scary. "Implement dynamic line ratings on transmission systems" is doable. Boring even!

9. That's what the GND debate needs right now: a little less sweeping symbolism and a little more, "yeah, we've got a giant instruction manual in hand, please just get out of our way and let us get started." Less rhetoric, more techné.

10. Anyway, Inslee's done the work. Why should the other candidates replicate it? This is the kind of detailed, nitty-gritty translation of the GND to policy that people have been asking for. Why not just embrace it?

11. It won't happen, I know, because ... politics. But I still think it's worth pondering. Thoughts, questions, concerns? </fin>


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