Climate change mitigation is less expensive than projecting military force abroad

Speaking Security Newsletter | Advisory Note for Organizers and Candidates, n°103 | 13 August 2021

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The Green New Deal (GND) is a ‘sense-of’ resolution, meaning that it’s not legally binding, it won’t ever get sent to the President’s desk to be signed, etc. It’s a blueprint.

Below are five separate pieces of legislation based on the GND blueprint that are legally binding. Each one does its own thing, but they’re alike in that each one tackles the climate crisis by addressing some working-class need(s), as opposed to the traditional form of climate politics (which is mostly about telling people to consume less). In other words, they’re as much about climate change mitigation as they are about mitigating the shittiness of everyday life.

The following have been introduced in the House or the Senate or both.* The links direct to the relevant bill texts and press releases/fact sheets; the names in the parentheses refer to who introduced them. (*This might not be an exhaustive list.)


Conservatives, whether Democrat or Republican, will object to the cost of these proposals in the same way as they have with the reconciliation bill.

Republicans don’t have any credibility here because their 2017 tax cuts were paid for by the deficit ($1.9 trillion/10 years). Conservative Democrats don’t either, even if they opposed the Republican tax cuts.

For example, this week Sen. Joe Manchin expressed concern over the reconciliation bill price tag ($3.5 trillion), but voted for the last 5 military budgets (total cost = $3.54 trillion). Similarly, every ‘moderate’ House Democrat who expressed a similar concern in this article voted for last year’s military budget and against Rep. Pocan’s amendment to cut military spending by 10 percent.

So in addition to the whole pollution thing, this is another reason to not shut up about military spending in the context of the climate debate—selective deficit dogmatism needs to be called out, regardless of party affiliation.

Thanks for your time,

Stephen (@stephensemler;

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