Have You Read the Green New Deal?

What do you think would happen if the Green New Deal resolution was passed by the House, the Senate and then signed by the president?

Nothing would happen.

The Green New Deal resolution does not mandate any action. It is aspirational. It is a listing of aspects of our society that the authors feel need change. I believe it is intended to be a guide to further legislation. In that respect it is similar to the New Deal under President Roosevelt in the 1930s. Also, it should be considered with an emphasis on its “New Deal” aspect because it is not just an environmental resolution. Just like the fixing of the economy in the ’30s was to be accomplished by building bridges, roads, etc. this new New Deal aims at repairing aspects of our economy that are having a deleterious effect on our environment.

Before I read the Resolution I had heard that it contained provisions requiring the end of the use of fossil fuels for electric generation by 2030. I thought that was ridiculous. In actuality, there is no such thing in the Resolution. There is also no requirement that we all become vegans to prevent cow flatulence, which one “commentator” asserted.
There are a lot of commentators making similar assertions about and refutations of scary things that are just not in the document.

Personally, I do not agree with the entire Resolution but it is so much more interesting to talk about it after reading it. Read it yourself. Find it here If you skip most of the first page it is only about 2000 words and will take about 5 minutes.

Ellis Burruss is a longtime Frederick County advocate for environmental causes and common sense change. He lives in Brunswick.

Note from Green Frederick:
Here is another assessment of the Green New Deal from the Sierra Club of Maryland.

New City Leaf Policy – Storms of Change

Some people eren’t happy about the City of Frederick’s new “leaf collection policy” when it was put in place last fall.

Interestingly, it’s just another example of the indirect impact of impact climate change on our everyday lives.

Better maintenance of Frederick City storm drains-including discontinuing leaf sweeping into streets–could help with freak storms like the YMCA flooding. (photo by D. Farrar)

In an attempt to soften the change in service, the city positioned it as an increase in service: weekly leaf pickup service would be replacing the every-other-week collection that city residents have been used to for decades. However, in reading the fine print, (and in the print left on warning tickets for those who didn’t know or didn’t comply last fall), leaf-rakers found that the increase in service came with an important difference: now they had to pile their leaves into reuseable containers or brown bags in order to have them collected.

A newspaper letter writer was dubious about the change, speculating with a tongue-in-cheek comment that the city’s vacuum truck broke down and the policy was to avoid replacing it!

City personnel explained in a press release that the new policy is for “pollution prevention. EPA’s Phase II Municipal separate storm sewer system permit requires good housekeeping.” . But this is not the kind of pollution that would typically think come from street sweepings (cigarette butts, glass, trash and road grit). That’s actually less than 1% of the volume of contaminants, according to the city streets and sanitation department.

No, the more troubling problem is the leaves themselves, when they are swept in massive piles to the curb. Why? “They clog infrastructure including swales, pipes and inlets,” the release notes, increasing the risk of flooding. Think about it—and the crazy storms that flooded North Frederick and the area surrounding the YMCA; and that nearly swept away the Town of Ellicott City twice. Many of these flooding and severe weather incidents, attributed to the increasing impact of climate change, are causing major headaches for homeowners, road and infrastructure planners, and politicians trying to figure out how to lessen their damage. We’re not the only city dealing with this issue: see http://cleanbayous.org/debris-can-clog-storm-drains-2/.

Next time you hear someone complain they can no longer sweep their leaves into city streets where they end up clogging storm drains (and eventually adding sediment to Carroll Creek and the Monocacy River) remind them of the increasing number of “freak” storms and the help they are providing their fellow citizens by bagging their leaves. And if that doesn’t work, just remind them of the flooded YMCA and Ellicott City. That should help them to understand.



An Inconvenient Truth Sequel: A Green Frederick.org Review

Follow Al Gore around and you can get a close look at what happened behind the scenes at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of 2015 in Paris.
First, the film, set as a follow on to the 2006 film, An Inconvenient Truth¸ first sets up the actions in the summit with recent visits by Gore to Greenland, where things are looking dire. For example, the Swiss weather station is up on stilts from its original location in the Arctic Sea.  Now, 12 feet of airspace separate the station from the icy waters.

Scientists show Gore the holes in the glaciers, looking like so much Swiss cheese. Gore talks to Erik Rignot of University of California at Irvine, stationed in Greenland, about the situation. The dramatic footage leaves a sense of urgency as things turn to Paris.
But first, we see how his network of Train the Trainer sessions—which have grown exponentially and which he personally attends—take place. A local Frederick Countian, Ron Kaltenbaugh, who happens to chair the Frederick County Sustainability Commission and is president of the  Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, DC, is now one of the trainees and attended the film’s screening to provide commentary afterward.

 Ron giving a local talk.
Gore discusses to one training group his frustration that the Bush-Cheney administration had cancelled a nearly completed satellite designed to gather data from solar storms that would have gathered data from the earths surface. (In 2015, it was launched https://www.nature.com/news/al-gore-s-dream-spacecraft-gears-up-for-launch-1.16711)

Then, the film turns to the drama of the attempt to have the Paris treaty ratified. Gore and his team’s work to bring together Tesla CEO Elon Musk and India to solve a third world problem with first world technology.
The regional audience, which included many members of the Catoctin Group of the Sierra Club, which sponsored the event, was intrigued with the potential of solar power and peppered Kaltenbaugh and his fellow panelist Dr. Mona Becker, (Below)
a Westminster, MD city councilwoman and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Department Chair at McDaniel College with questions about local solar initiatives.  She urged members of the audience from Westminster to lobby the council for more initiatives. Kaltenbaugh recalled that in 2010, the kw price for a 7-watt solar installation was $550 /watt and  in 2013 through the solarize program it was $250/watt—a dramatic reduction.
Kaltenbaugh said he has been doing talks since his Climate Reality Project training in Denver with 900 others           2016, and recently mentored at last year’s session in Pittsburgh with 1,200 people.
The pair acknowledged that while many in the environmental community are discouraged at President Trumps actions to back out of the Climate Accord. Currently 174 Parties have ratified the Accord.