Rhiana Gunn-Wright, the architect of the Green New Deal, offered her wisdom to MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on Thursday.
(Please scroll down for the exchange which begins at 6:40.)
Velshi asks how Green New Dealers plan to make climate change an important issue in the 2020 election as opposed to something like health care.
“Climate change is not just an issue, it is the issue,” explained Gunn-Wright.
So in the issues that you just brought up, climate change is one of the main drivers of our public health. So the difference between, say, 1.5 degrees of warming — which is the least that folks think that we can get — to 2, you are talking about 150 million deaths. That’s 25 holocausts, right? So how is that not a health issue? How is that not about health care?
Velshi doesn’t question her about how she arrived at this number. Of course.
She adds, “So even the issues that you outline, all of them are affected by climate change and how you decide to deal with climate change is how you decide to deal with all these other issues.”
Velshi says, “Let’s talk about cost.” He cites a study that found the cost to the country’s largest 200 companies for addressing climate change would be roughly $1 trillion over five years. Velshi asks, “What’s the cost of not doing something about it?”
Right. And I think that’s indicative of the ways that we have just absorbed the cost of not doing anything on climate change right now. So the cost of fossil fuels, of oil, the fuels that we use to power our cars are lower than they actually are because we don’t count the effect that they have on the environment, the effect that they have on public health, the fact that it’s causing people to get asthma and cancer and all of these other things.
In a lot of ways it’s just the status quo. But the fact is that we have to start thinking about the cost of inaction because they are mounting and they are mounting quickly. And everyone agrees that they are higher than what we can even estimate right now. And so you cannot talk about the cost of dealing with a problem if you don’t talk about the cost of not dealing with that same problem.
“Kind of interesting, though, that we do, right? That’s the habit society has gotten into,” Velshi responds.
Gunn-Wright said that “We like to think that the way we live right now has no cost and we know that is not true.” She continues with a litany of the “knowns.”
We know that people, especially people of color, are dying daily from fossil fuel pollution.
We know that we are losing a million species right now because of climate change.
We know that there are costs to the ways that we live right now and the sooner that we grapple with that reality, the sooner that we will all be able to build an America and a world that is safe and prosperous and healthy for all of us.
Velshi takes all of her random and preposterous conclusions as fact. He doesn’t ask her to explain why, for instance, people of color are dying at a faster rate than whites. How has she concluded that we are losing a million species right now due to climate change? Not once does Velshi challenge her remarks.
He then thanks Gunn-Wright for coming on the show and explains that “she is a policy director at the think tank “New Consensus” and is an expert on climate change and the costs associated with it.”