Victory Plan Discussion: General Feedback
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!
*Comments have been transferred here from the original discussion page on our website — we have moved them to this page to better facilitate discussions.
[From Jenny Lisak (original post)]:
So very exciting, I think it’s brilliant! I’m not sure this was addressed, I didn’t see it in the first read through but I believe we should address cleaning up our environmental messes; old infrastructure is emitting loads of methane and pollutants, resolving some environmental injustices are included in cleaning up as many are drinking contaminated water and the problem is likely to get worse if we only decommission and not actually remove aging fossil fuel infrastructure.
Great work Ezra! We are so proud of what you accomplished in this Victory Plan! I am sure people will have all sorts of feedback, but please know this is a terrific contribution to TCM, and, I think, to all life.
SUPERB! Congratulations for “Victory Plan.” It’s rigorous and it covers so many angles. And it’s elegant. I like this: “The U.S. could not defeat the Axis with a fleet of Studebakers.”
I also like: “Energy planners need to examine the fastest possible technical scenarios for abolishing fossil fuels. Speculation about the limits of ‘political acceptability’ in the neoliberal era should be left to historians, sociologists, and politicians.” The issue of acceptability might also be left to planners at Homeland Security and other agencies charged with maintaining public order. It’s wise of you not to go there, and to affirm twice that constitutional rights must be maintained. It’s wise to endorse the primacy of democracy. To do otherwise would bring charges of jack-boot thuggery. Of course, as you know, those charges are coming anyway. Big fat government butt on everybody’s faces. The boondocks will boil over. But let them boil over. They’re boiling over as it is.
I’d like to flag something. On page 43 you quote Heinberg & Fridley. “Even assuming a massive build-out of solar and wind capacity…renewables will probably be unable to fully replace the quantity of energy currently provided by fossil fuels, let alone meet projected energy demand growth.” You comment, “Despite these challenges, Heinberg and Fridley argue that a massive mobilization can generate 100% renewable energy. But it will take an immediate shift in government policies.” Generate 100% of what? Not 100% of energy demand, presumably, given the demand projections. There’s a bit of a waffle factor here. It probably deserves to be clarified a bit. It’s a tough issue to talk plainly about. I refer to degrowth, of course. But Ezra, you’re so brilliantly plain about so many issues in this document.
I think Victory Plan will ring bells and resonate widely. What a great job!
[From Lawrence Lincoln (original post):
No need to tear down Bill McKibben as you put your plan forward, because he has gotten us this far long before you were involved. Don’t foolishly tear down the movement or create divisiveness.
Ezra, 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
[From Harry Gregory]:
Excellent work, Ezra! You are writing the road map for the 100-day summit. My comments are checkers moves in your game of 3D chess:
- 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.
- 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.
Superb plan overall. I thought Paul Gilding’s 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.
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
As global warming has surged this year, so too has America’s ambition for heroic climate action. Politicians, economists, and activists have been looking to America’s astonishing mobilization for World War II as a model for victory in the twenty-first century’s great climate emergency.
This spring, Senator Bernie Sanders called for a World War II-scale climate mobilization at the CNN presidential debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In July, the Democratic Party included in its campaign platform a climate plank that read, in part, “We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II.”
In August, climate activist Bill McKibben wrote in The New Republic that we are “literally at war” with climate change, and, like the America of the 1940s, we will have to retool our economy for wartime production; this time, he argued, the weaponry will not be not planes and tanks but photovoltaic solar arrays and wind turbines.
Critiquing McKibben’s article, Elliot Sperber argued forcefully that simply shifting to non-fossil energy will do nothing about the exploitation of humans and ecosytems that nourishes both capitalism and the global climate emergency. Yes, the mobilization for World War II has something to teach us about dealing with today’s ecological crisis, but we can’t forget that those wartime policies and actions went far beyond stepping up the production of armaments, to a complete reshaping of the political and economic landscape.
The climate movement tends to ignore those challenges and focus on technical production goals such as achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050. But that’s far from enough; we have to rein in the economy and eliminate net greenhouse emissions far sooner and be prepared to deal with the economic consequences.
According to leading climate scientist Michael Mann, the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere two years ago was already sufficient to eventually warm the earth 1.7°C. Mann has projected that if the world community carries on with a business-as-usual emissions trajectory, the earth will push that warming beyond 2°C by 2036, and we’ll descend into climate catastrophe; on the grave danger presented by that two-degree threshold there is broad scientific consensus.
Yet last year’s Paris climate agreement foresees greenhouse gas emissions actually rising until 2030. In the real world, those emissions have to drop off a cliff right now. We must start abandoning fossil fuels much faster than we replace them with renewable sources.
We are trespassing across other critical thresholds. For more than seven years, a group of leading ecologists from eleven countries has been monitoring the biggest threats that human activities pose to life on Earth. For several threats, including not only greenhouse emissions but also landscape disturbance, species extinction, and disruption of nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, the scientists conclude that humanity has already transgressed safe “planetary boundaries.” We must pull back within those limits very soon or risk global calamity.
The necessity for the consumer economy to get by on a lower input of energy and other resources while achieving sufficiency for all brings us back to the World War II model. If we’re to emulate the “Greatest Generation,” we can’t do a halfway job of it, focusing solely on “green” production; we have to build a fairer economy as well.
So far, I have seen only one effective strategy for doing that: a “Victory Plan” recently drawn up by Ezra Silk, a co-founder of The Climate Mobilization movement. (It can be downloaded here.) The document, radical and at the same time realistic and practical, calls for reworking the government and economy even more thoroughly than during World War II, in order to cut America’s net greenhouse emissions down to zero by 2025 while also reversing degradation of ecosystems and halting the mass extinction of species.
Necessary steps will include phasing out fossil-fuel use within a decade; directing a large share of our energy, materials, and labor toward building a renewable energy sector and a high speed rail network; restoring our forests, grasslands, and croplands so that we are putting more carbon into the soil and less into the atmosphere; deeply cutting meat and dairy consumption; and converting a large portion of the U.S. military into a kind of climate mobilization force.
All of that will require a national reallocation of resources among sectors of production, one that diverts a significant share of a necessarily declining resource budget into building green infrastructure and leaves the consumer economy a lot less to work with.
We know from wartime experience that with resources diverted away from the consumer economy, shrinking supply will collide with still-high demand, bringing the threat of runaway inflation. Price controls will be essential, but with goods in short supply at reasonable prices, we will have to move quickly to prevent severe shortages, hoarding, and “rationing by queueing.” As in the 1940s, that will require fair-shares rationing.
Anticipating those circumstances, the Victory Plan calls for a declaration of a “national climate and sustainability emergency” under which new agencies will be formed for investing in a massive program for jobs at solid wages in green production, supporting research and development, allocating resources, stabilizing prices, and rationing goods and services according to their ecological impacts in a way that meets everyone’s basic needs while preventing excess consumption by anyone, whatever their wealth or income. That will be accompanied by much more progressive taxation, including a marginal 100 percent tax on income over $500,000.
If we take these necessary steps to place both a firm ceiling on society-wide consumption and a secure floor under household income and standard of living, affluent America will be asked to engage in shared sacrifice to a degree not seen since the 1940s. The nation will either make those sacrifices over the next decade to save civilization or wait and lose everything as we veer toward civilizational collapse. If capitalism can’t survive such sacrifices, that tells us something: that we can have healthy capitalism or a healthy planet but not both.
In a deep-green future, with the balance of economic power shifting from corporations and the kings of finance to working people, we won’t be providing our affluent minority the material luxury to which they have become accustomed. But for the majority of us, it will be a future of mutual aid and shared striving for the common good, one in which we eliminate economic exploitation and reduce inequality.
Our national acclimatization to ecological reality can succeed only with sweeping grassroots support and participation. It’s the job of the American people to launch that mobilization—not next year or in the next decade but right now.
Stan Cox (@CoxStan) is the author of “Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing” and most recently, with Paul Cox, of “How the World Breaks: Life in Catastrophe’s Path, From the Caribbean to Siberia.” Contact them at email@example.com.
From a graphic design point of view, your eagle looks like the USPS delivering a package to hell. From what I can tell, it’s a package of BS.
Who is funding you lot?
I was directed here from the Post-Carbon Institute, an organization which I once respected and which (I thought) had a handle on our dire situation. Now they are pumping ridiculous hopium into my in-box. What is the point of making people think they have any kind of power over forces now vastly beyond our control? We cannot (and never could) “dial in” a desired planetary temperature the way those in developed nations zero in on a comfortable HVAC reading in their homes.
All of your web-siting and messaging and “mobilizing” is only that much more entropy-creation… that much more breaking-down of energy gradients… that much more global warming in the service of…what? Anything “mobilizing” is only contributing to the problem.
At least you are correct when you say. “it’s impossible to determine a horizon for our ambitions that is in line with the increasingly stark realities of climate science.” …and the stark reality of 250k new people to provide for every single day, don’t forget that small detail.
Since it’s impossible, give it up already.
Your laughable “Victory Plan” sounds suspiciously like the “War on Terror”, including the underlying concept that what we need to wage is a war on ourselves, since we are the ultimate terrorists.
Salutary as it may be for the overall planet, we’ll never come around to doing that, and the oil which will run out and the seas which will rise will guarantee the Fukushima-style failure of all the nuclear-power plants on earth.
We are looking at checkmate, and you want to play checkers, it seems to me.
Feedback from Karen Jeffers Tracy (was left on website, have asked to post all new stuff on here):
“Hi I wanted to thank you for the Victory Plan! I am studying it now. I’d like to suggest changing the formatting to make it easier to read. You saw how Bill McKibben’s article was laid out with large clear type, sidebars, callouts, nice white space, bold face section headings — all of those layout and design features contributed to the accessibility of the information. I also think that the historical references (which you refer to at each point, in order to show us that the proposals are possible) could be — set apart with layout/formatting and design (typeface, etc.) — which would make it easier to see the actual proposals as a complete list — using the historical examples, but FOCUSING on the current plans for climate mobilization. / Just my feedback from my first delve into it. I will send more in a couple of days when I’ve studied it further. / My main question I hope will be answered is — what lifestyle changes are being advocated? I don’t think we can or should “mobilize” to replace energy at our current (wasteful) usage rates. But instead embrace housing designs which care more energy efficient, and make Tiny Houses legal! Thank you for all you are doing and for the really exciting vision you are calling us to!”
This mobilization is a reaction, using powers of US government and global finance, to climate change by achieving extreme carbon emissions reduction, in the absence of a framework at the UNFCCC over 30 years of global dialogue. As such, it’s kind of a revolution but via trying to reform government rather than attack it. It also abandons any pretense of achieving the necessary framework grounded in equity that the UN has been trying to put into place. Unfortunately when any country tries to go it alone, it doesn’t get that far. There isn’t the necessary consensus, particularly from the biggest players.
The other side of the global effort is the faith movement which emphasizes collaboration and consensus on the methodology of reducing emissions, using media as an outreach. The focus is on environmental justice and using the direction that http://www.planb.earth/ is taking with litigation in the world’s courts. It includes consensus and understanding as a means of moving action by all the world’s people, its largest call has been via the Pope’s Laudato Si. Its prime emphasis is on a global, non-dollar equity structure implemented at the UN level. This movement acknowledges that the supremely difficult issue in all of this is that the fundamental economic structure of the large countries is comprised of a highly destructive system called GDP, which runs on the petrodollar scheme agreed to by the US and Saudi Arabia.
Why is CO2 such an ECONOMIC issue?
a) 90% of the World’s Formal Energy Supply comes from Fossil Fuel Burning
b) 80% of global CO2 emissions come from fossil fuel burning
c) GDP:CO2 correlation remains globally unbroken at this time
This is from a paper to the Climate Working Group over 20 years ago, for COP1 and the UNFCCC. http://www.gci.org.uk/Documents/Nairob3b_.pdf
Therefore, the Climate Mobilization would do well to recognize the genesis of this revolution will necessarily rely on global participation in a different type of economic system, along with a framework that enforces the carbon emission reduction within a fair framework, driven by equity rather than dollars. The UN effort should not be abandoned. Economic structures and governments have to be reformed by consensus and include the needs of all people and life on this planet.
I have further suggestions that the US could play its part by providing the necessary science oversight of global carbon emissions. The https://www.eia.gov/ is the database for all energy supplies globally, and is accepted as a tracking mechanism by businesses and governments worldwide. This can be used to monitor consumption. Emissions can be further tracked by NASA’s satellite and data gathering system and reported to the world at the UN level. A comprehensive, transparent and neutral oversight has to be supported rather than self-reporting, for obvious reasons.
@Stan-Cox Thank you so much for writing this piece, Stan!
I am REALLY PLEASED to see that you, Ezra Klein, are part of this effort!
MY SUGGESTIONS: keep this front and center in the next 5 weeks. LIke: get the Clinton/Kaine ticket to endorse it publicly, since you believe there is no chance for a Stein/Baraka win at this point - or is there still? Just suggesting to keep an open mind. We don’t know what might erupt: a health emergency? An indictment from Judicial Watch?
Another effort that is important: communities need to be developing some legal form of a sustainable community or transition town - what my own non-profit has as a mission. Here in CA, for instance, the state recognizes cities through its League of CA Cities, for making efforts on climate through its Beacon program. What about making an effort on this through your media channel, asking readers to set up such a team, and become a non-profit (this enables it to work closely with the town/city and school district).
Let’s get started!
Ezra - One more plan to bring Americans together on this:
We need 35 MORE STATE LEGISLATURES to do what MA is doing (and I will soon here in CA with my state senator), to create a CARBON FEE and REBATE bill. This will accelerate a carbon tax/fee like we have attempted with Congress for a few years now - transitioning OFF FOSSIL FUEL and ONTO RENEWABLES.
CONGRESS WOULD HAVE ITS HAND FORCED TO ACT, if 37 states carried this out. I worked for Marriage Equality - why not this?
THIS could roll the mobilization out, setting the stage for it…AS LONG AS WE GET THE RIGHT PRESIDENT, of course!
My best - Priscilla Rich, Danville CA (aka Polly)
Great work! I’m interested in whether and how effective mobilization could proceed at a state or regional level if federal action proves too slow in the short term. The US is not the same nation as 1940. The population and economic power of many US states rival or surpass many nations of the world. While not a complete victory plan, I’d like to look at a 50-state mobilization or regionalized plan that then could exert pressure on national and international actors. Any thoughts?
The Victory Plan is an exciting and thorough document that can become one of the most important documents ever written. I plan to re-read it and look forward to the next draft. Thank you for this effort!
One thing that concerns me is this: In FDR’s day, Presidents had the power to declare states of emergencies without limiting their scope or duration. Since 1976 however, the Act can be used to terminate certain authorities on national emergencies still in effect by an enacted Joint Resolution, subject to Presidential approval.
Given the current political environment where corporations (and specifically fossil fuel giants) can bribe US politicians to protect their interest through campaign contributions and Super-PACs, my concern relates to the US electing a Republican President that could terminate the state of emergency in 2020.
For this to work long-term, we have to get the money out of politics.
A possible pre-emptive solution to this problem would be to get a Constitutional Amendment passed through an amendment-proposing convention of State Legislators at the earliest opportunity. Work is currently underway towards this aim through www.wolf-pac.com, and 5 out of the necessary 34 states have come on board.
38 states ratifying such an amendment could overturn Citizen’s United and bring back free and fair elections, which will enable the Climate Mobilization to follow through on its decade-long mission.
Getting money out of politics can and must be done. The good news is that 78% of the American people wants big money out of politics already (http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-09-28/bloomberg-poll-americans-want-supreme-court-to-turn-off-political-spending-spigot).
Comments on Victory Plan
Great way to take action on personal values and beliefs that can bring people together and support a common cause. Applause for the research, organization, framework, outline of roles and responsibilities, reasoning, examples, details and bold recommendations for new government agencies.
Review of first 20 pages
Need more visualization of information and relationships to include feedback loops.
An example of a Mobilization Plan that might offer an outline, then insert different details, is Joint Publication 4-05, Joint Mobilization Planning, February 21, 2014.
As of October 24, 2016, there are 63 nuclear plants under construction in the world and total 61,845 MWe (electrical output). http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics/Nuclear-Units-Under-Construction-Worldwide
All of the threats to humanity’s survival are traceable to one root cause: the belief in a utopian self-regulated market economy without a moral or ethical compass. The market economy relies on individualism that promotes a lifestyle without a moral code. The market economy relies on corporate propaganda that has no ethical compass.
What The Victory Plan proposes is no less than a rapid transformation away from the belief in a utopian self-regulated market economy, to a belief in equity, a government-regulated economy and a progressive tax.
The Climate Strategy Framework emerges from a three dimensional framework of Core Ideas, Practices and System Concepts as defined in the Next Generation Science Standards. Climate Practices guide investigations and the design thinking for problems and solutions to support implementation over time of the Core Ideas. The Climate Practices depend on science and engineering skills, capabilities and experience. The System Concepts bridge the gaps between the Core Ideas and inform the Climate Practices. http://turnock.blogspot.com/2015/07/climate-strategy-framework.html
The Victory Plan must take into account more about Russia’s role and responsibility. Russia supplies the majority of petroleum and gas to Europe. Russia’s government revenues are estimated to be 70% from the sale of fossil fuels. The world can not risk the collapse of Russian government due to rapid transition away from fossil fuels. America needs a plan for dealing with Russia.
Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. New York: Broadway, 1997.
Generations influence events, and events influence Generations as each cohort moves through time and space.
Baby Boomers (born 1943 - 1960) will all be Elders over 60 in 2020.
GenXers (born 1961 - 1981) will all be in Midlife, between 39 and 59 in 2020.
Millennials (Born 1982 - 2004) will all be Young Adults, between 16 and 38 in 2020.
This alignment of generations beginning in 2020 is significant because it only happens once every 80 years. The last Fourth Turning was 1929 to 1946. According to Neil Howe, the current Crisis Era began in September 2008 with the Great Recession.
A Fourth Turning has four stages: Catalyst, Regeneracy, Climax and Resolution.
The first event, the Catalyst, triggers or starts the Turning: “a startling event (or sequence of events) that produces a sudden shift in mood.” The second stage, the Regeneracy, marks the beginning of “a new counter-entropy that reunifies and re-energizes civic life.” The third stage, the Climax, is “a crucial moment that confirms the death of the old order and triumph of the new.” The fourth stage, the Resolution: “a triumphant or tragic conclusion that separates winners from losers, resolves the big public questions, and establishes the new order.”
Each Generation has roles and responsibilities during the Crisis Era that are critical to the success of the outcome. Boomers are suppose to lead with morals, values and beliefs. GenXers are pragmatic and practical, managers and supervisors. Millennials are the Heroes, the foot soldiers, like the GI Generation was in the last Fourth Turning.
The Victory Plan needs to include the roles and responsibilities of each Generation and divide time periods up into the four stages. In addition, each stage represents a new level of commitment by each Generation to the outcome. The pace of mobilization in 2016 feels slow, however we are at the beginning of the Regeneracy. The 2016 election will secure the Democrats leadership in climate change and take action to invest in the Regeneracy. As the pace increases, events will feel they are overtaking us, as we rush toward the existential crisis of the Climax.
The current Climax stage is probably 2018 to 2022. Like 1939 to 1943, when the outcome of WWII was constantly in doubt. The consequences of climate change include collapsing governments leading to a climate holocaust.
The Resolution includes the death of old institutions and the growth of new institutions, and the complete transformation of social norms such that consumerism will be taboo.