Climate Change

A Jobs-Killing Civilian Climate Corps Is Not the Way To Fix Climate Change

Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have proposed the creation of a counterproductive $130 billion federal behemoth.


Establishing a new Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) is one of the items in the Democrats' $3.5 trillion 2022 Budget Resolution Agreement Framework. According to that framework agreement, funding the new CCC would come out of $726 billion being overseen by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; the $135 billion allocated to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; and the $20.5 billion managed by the Committee on Indian Affairs. The Biden administration has proposed an initial budget of $10 billion for the program. More ambitiously, Sen. Ed Markey (D–Mass.) and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) have introduced legislation creating a CCC that would hire 1.5 million Americans and spend $130 billion over five years.

The new CCC would be modeled on Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps from 80 years ago. That program, launched in the depths of the Great Depression, eventually hired some 3 million unemployed young American men between 1933 and 1942 to build national park facilities and trails, plant 3 billion trees, and fight forest fires.

Progressives are nothing if not persistent. Back during the Great Recession in 2009, some 80 progressive activist organizations proposed the creation of a Clean Energy Corps that would hire 600,000 Americans to "comprehensively apply cost-effective, energy-efficiency measures—from adding insulation to replacing inefficient boilers—to over 15 million existing buildings." Also in 2009, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D–Ohio) introduced the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act that aimed to "employ unemployed or underemployed U.S. citizens in the construction, maintenance, and carrying on of works of a public nature, such as forestation of U.S. and state lands, prevention of forest fires, floods, and soil erosion, and construction and repair of National Park System paths and trails." Kaptur has since reintroduced her bill in every subsequent session of Congress.

In June 2020, congressional Democrats released their Solving the Climate Crisis report, which outlines their "action plan for a clean energy economy." The report called for Congress to reestablish the Civilian Conservation Corps and to create a Climate Resilience Service Corps that would engage in such efforts as reforestation and remediating abandoned mines and oil wells.

On January 27, President Joe Biden issued an executive order entitled "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad" that, among other things, directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a strategy to create a Civilian Climate Corps. The new CCC would, among other things, "mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs" with the goal of restoring public lands and waters, increasing reforestation and carbon sequestration, protecting biodiversity and addressing climate change.

The congressional Democrats are basically correct when they assert in their letter that "2020 was the worst fire season on record, burning over 10.2 million acres and costing over $16 billion in damages and $3 billion in suppression costs." U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Jeremy Littell and his colleagues find that there have been three eras with respect to the amount of area burned in the western U.S.: Extensive burning declined from the 1920s and '30s in part due to more vigorous fire suppression activities in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s, and then began to rise again after 1990.

The 2020 burned area figures calculated by Littell in the chart below for my chapter on how insurance could be used to manage fire risk in California in Adapt and Be Adept were provisional. By the end of the year, a record of 9.4 million acres had burned in the 11 western states cited in his earlier trend analysis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's new Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) notes, "There is medium confidence that weather conditions that promote wildfires have become more probable in Southern Europe, northern Eurasia, the USA, and Australia over the last century."

Besides the contribution of climate change to increased wildfire risk, increased forest density is responsible for the build-up of fuels in our national forests. A U.S. Forest Service article recently reported that 58 million of the 193 million acres that it manages need thinning and prescribed burning to restore natural tree density to improve tree health and mitigate wildfire risk. The estimated cost: $65 billion.

Are damages in the U.S. from climate change actually rising? Yes, if one simply totes up monetary losses. The Democrats' letter notes that "the United States experienced 22 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2020, shattering the previous annual record of 16 events." These data derive from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) database that has been tracking since 1980 weather and climate events that cost at least $1 billion dollars in losses.

However, in recent congressional testimony, University of Colorado environmental science policy researcher Roger Pielke Jr. explained that the NOAA data cited in the congressional Democrats' letter "actually shows a combination of poor methodology and the consequences of a growing society, with more people and property in locations exposed to loss from extreme weather. It is not an indicator of climate change." The NOAA methodology fails because it cannot tell you if the weather is really getting worse or if there is just more new stuff—houses, businesses, roads—for the usual storms to destroy, argued Pielke. The Democrats' letter also observed that in 2020, "the U.S. experienced a record-breaking 30 named tropical cyclones, 7 of which became billion-dollar disasters—also a new record."

In his testimony, Pielke noted that the picture of U.S. weather damage trends that "emerges is very different than that conveyed by the misleading NOAA dataset." In describing those trends, he and his colleagues aim to account for "the economic impacts of floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, considering growth in wealth and exposure." This process of normalization adjusts historical economic damage from extreme weather to remove the influences of societal change from economic loss time series to estimate what losses past extreme events would cause under present-day societal conditions.

Pielke finds that flood damage has been falling as a percent of U.S. GDP for more than a century.

When taking into account increases in both population and values of property exposed to storms, the normalized losses from hurricanes have been flat.

And normalized losses from tornadoes have also been falling.

Pielke also shows that the number of hurricanes striking the continental U.S. has not been increasing.

The backlog of forest restoration projects suggests that there are issues on public lands that really need to be addressed, but that is not an argument for creating a vast new federal bureaucracy with as many as 1.5 million government employees. Public projects, such as roads, ports, schools, sewers, and dikes, are usually built by private companies, not by a new Civilian Construction Corps.

But what about the congressional Democrat's other justification: The supposed COVID-19 pandemic unemployment crisis?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported that the unemployment rate has fallen from its early pandemic peak of around 15 percent to 5.4 percent in July. Employment is still down by 5.7 million jobs—or 3.7 percent from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. However, the Department of Labor reported earlier this week that for the first time ever U.S. employers posted a record 10.1 million job openings in June. Filling all of those jobs would boost overall employment well past its pre-pandemic high.

In addition, lots of economic research finds that public-sector employment fully crowds out private sector employment. "High rates of public employment, which incur substantial fiscal costs, have a large negative impact on private employment rates and do not reduce overall unemployment rates," conclude International Monetary Fund economists Alberto Behar and Jungwhan Mok in their 2013 IMF working paper.

The problem of man-made climate change does need to be addressed, but the creation of a jobs-killing CCC is not a useful way to do that.

NEXT: Biden: It's Time for Afghanistan Forces 'To Fight for Themselves'

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  2. But Ron, you don't get it! You said bad things about Trump! You can't be trusted! Everything you say is tainted with TDS! Love Trump or hate America!

    1. I've had a couple of decent exchanges with you, and then you come up with this stupid dick nonsense.

      Back to the land of mute you are.

      1. Suit yourself. I thought a bit of absurdity would head the trolls off at the pass.

        1. You’re typically absurd enough for the rest of us.

    2. You think about Trump more than Trump does.

      1. Sarc secretly wants Trump to grab him by the pussy.

      2. He [Trump] seems to be enjoying an eviction moratorium in Sarc's head.

    3. And back to drunken trolling for sarcasmic.

    4. Enjoying your switchblade?

  3. The time to oppose this was before Biden was elected and the Democrats were given control of the Senate.

    All this was not only foreseeable but also foreseen. You can read all about it on his campaign website:

    "Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.

    If we can harness all of our energy and talents, and unmatchable American innovation, we can turn this threat into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy sector and boost growth economy-wide. We can create new industries that reinvigorate our manufacturing and create high-quality, middle-class jobs in cities and towns across the United States. We can lead America to become the world’s clean energy superpower. We can export our clean-energy technology across the globe and create high-quality, middle-class jobs here at home.

    ----Joe Biden

    "The Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice"

    The time to oppose this is before people vote, and the way to oppose it is at the ballot box. Everyone who failed to vote for Trump and urge others to do so is partially to blame for this $3.5 trillion socialist nightmare. Trump's loss is the worst thing to happen to libertarian capitalism since the Great Society and FDR's New Deal--and it was not only foreseeable but also foreseen.

    Let's wise up about the consequences of letting the Democrats control the House and the Senate before November of 2022, please. The authoritarian and socialist beating will continue until we are no longer under a one party government controlled by the progressives. Failing to differentiate between Republicans who aren't libertarian capitalists and Democrats who are authoritarian socialists is not a victimless crime.

    1. But a position in the Carbon Polizei will be low effort and have decent benefits.

    2. Failing to differentiate between Republicans who aren’t libertarian capitalists and Democrats who are authoritarian socialists is not a victimless crime.

      You're right. We should distinguish between Team Giant Douche and Team Turd Sandwich. One is a giant douche and one is a turd sandwich.

      1. Dude, according to Ken Republicans are "mere authoritarians" while the left is totalitarian. Totalitarians are totally bad, so authoritarians are less bad. Which means we should vote for authoritarians.

        At least that was Ken's logic before he muted me because pointing out the logic of one's words is a personal ad hominem attack.

        1. I just completely reject the line of thinking that we must never vote our conscience, but instead vote strategically against this or that person or party, because they are just So Awful(tm) that we can't allow them to win. That is just letting fearmongering work. It is how politicians manipulate voters into voting for them. They cannot attract support on their own merits, based on a positive message, so they have to inspire fear and hatred of The Others in order to win. Don't fall for such obvious demagoguery and don't let the fear merchants win. Vote your conscience. At the end of the day, you have to live with your conscience. And if your conscience dictates that you affirmatively support Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians, or someone else, or none of the above - then make that choice. But if you let your vote be decided by fear, then the demagogues win.

          1. I'm with you 100%.
            Lately I've been repeating a Mencken quote about how the job of political parties is to convince voters that the other party is evil, and they're both right.
            I'm embarrassed to say this, but I voted for McCain. I felt dirty after. Like I'd just rolled myself in slime. That was the first and last time I ever voted for one of the majors. Gross. And when the country elected a gameshow host I just gave up.

            1. You two should fuck each other. You can pack each other’s bullshit. I hope you like fatties.

            2. Your principles mean nobody can ever compromise except under authoritarian rule. No two individuals will agree in totality. You have a flyer to recognize basic facts in human interactions. You call this a moral principle when it requires actual authoritarianism to realize. That is the ignorance of you and Jeff and why you are I capable of ever actually learning or even changing your views no matter their being based in utter ignorance.

              The first step towards liberty is understanding no two humans believe the same shit. So in a government of individuals compromise with a focus on maximizing liberty is required.

              The problem is your solution maximized authoritarianism. You dismiss 3 steps towards liberty because it included 1 bad step towards authority. Then claim that is equally bad as 4 steps towards authority.

              Youre a know nothing ignorant fuck.

          2. I just completely reject the line of thinking that we must never vote our conscience, but instead vote strategically against this or that person or party

            Vote your conscience in one hand and shit in the other and see which one gets full first. Hell, you can even take my conscience votes in the one hand if that helps.

        2. Because everyone knows there's no such thing as gradations of terrible. Anyone who's less than absolutely perfect is literally Hitler and unworthy of support or compromise no matter how awful the alternative.

          1. Nice straw man. Fact is that the lesser of two evils is still evil. Rarely do people vote for someone. More often than not they're voting against the other guy knowing that their guy sucks. They rationalize it by saying the other guy sucks worse.
            I'm done with that bullshit. Call me when there's someone I can vote for and I'll re-register.

            1. I like how you call his argument a strawman and theniterally reinforce it in the next sentence. Lol.

              Your principles lead to greater authority than someone who chose the lesser of 2 evils. You think you have a moral righteousness for having done less.

              Youre a fucking child who takes his ball and goes home instead of finishing the game.

          2. It isn't just graduations of awful. This $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill wouldn't be happening at all if Trump were president OR if one of the Republicans in Georgia had won the runoff elections. Nothing avoidable is unavoidable, and if Trump had won or the Republicans controlled the Senate, this $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill wouldn't be happening.

            1. Are we allowed to say that Trump did win? I don't know how censorious the "free minds" website has become under our new overlords.

              1. Anyone who says we can’t say that needs to understand they’re going to get hurt if they keep pushing their oppression.

            2. Oh, I agree. I just think sarcasmic is being utterly dishonest here. The choice, as you noted previously, was clear and obvious before the election. Multi-trillion dollar spending packages, national virus mandates, and Green New Deal or....mean tweets. Sarcasmic apparently thought both were equally undesirable and refrained from supporting either. Now, when the consequences of that non-choice come to fruition, sarcasmic disclaims any responsibility.

              1. "Sarcasmic apparently thought both were equally undesirable"

                Um, no. Read what I said.

                It's as if you're saying "How dare you not vote for who's going to jam their penises up our collective asses! This guy's penis will hurt less than that guy's!""

                1. You still can't attack biden and the actions of the DNC without bringing up the gop as your initial argument you dishonest shit.

        3. I'm fully in the "both sides bad" camp.
          But when one side is spending twice as much as the other, it's fair to say which side is worse.

          1. It isnt just the spending either. Bidens platform included the takeover of the energy industry with GND. He also played to national unions and the NLRB to condition employee freedoms to unions. With the NEA and the DoEd he is returning to federal pressure to remove rights against false accusations in campus kangaroo courts. Wont even get started on the entire movement backed by the DNC with diversity and equity. 2 different bills that gave race based preferences to covid funds.

            But sarcasmic says they are exactly the same and even then only attacks the lesser side.

            He is full of shit.

        4. It is amazing how stupid you have to be to continue with this jeff banter on who can be more ignorant. Ken has been very clear about his view. The sides are not equal. Only retarded fucks protecting the left claim they are. Thats why you live in Jeff's realm now.

      2. What an original thought. I’ve never heard that before.

  4. As far as "thinning" the forests, over 4 million acres burned in CA in 2020 - a record year. What most folks don't realize is that the science tells us this is just a bit more than is required to maintain a healthy ecosystem (about 3 million acres, every year). Those fires caused more pollution than the total pollution generated by automobiles. So, in short, we need to cut a lot more trees, or lose them to forest fires. While "cutting the forest" to "save the planet" might seem counterintuitive, this is what the science tell us.

    1. Correct. We allowed a lot of good lumber to go to waste.

  5. How dare you call 130 billion giveaway to friends of fascists "counter productive"?

  6. If Trump wanted my vote he shouldn't have taxed by EO and not put a eviction moratorium in place. Republicans who didn't stand up to him and his unconstitutional policies are partially to blame for losing the votes of those will principles while trying to gain votes from progs. And Trump is completely to blame for his own lose.

    1. Should have replied to Ken. Damn phone.

    2. If you can't differentiate between spending $3.5 trillion on the Green New Deal and not spending $3.5 trillion no the Green New Deal, I don't know what else to say.

      With Trump, you get positions A, B, C, D, E.

      With Biden you get positions D, E, F, G, H.

      You're telling me that there's no difference between them because they both have "D" and "E", but in reality, Trump has no "F", "G", or "H", and "F" is spending $3.5 trillion on the Green New Deal.

      1. D and E may fall under “poisoning the well” fallacy.

      2. There's also the (distributed) false option/dichotomy aspect of it.

        Absolutely, don't vote for Trump. Take every vote you've got and vote for all the Libertarians running for office that Reason highlighted as opposing the lockdowns, taxes, and eviction moratoriums.
        Whatever's left, vote for all the Democrats Reason highlighted as opposing the lockdowns, taxes, and eviction moratoriums.
        If you've got any votes left after that, vote for all the Republicans Reason highlighted as opposing the lockdowns, taxes, and eviction moratoriums.
        Then after you've voted for the stadium full of libertarian, democratic, and republican political candidates who opposed the lockdowns, taxes, and eviction moratoriums that Reason covered extensively. Cast any remaining votes for Trump or NOTA at your discretion.

        I'll give 10:1 odds that you vote some combination of a Trump, GOP, NOTA ticket. 20:1 odds that if you vote a NOTA ticket, the GOP/Trump wins or the same/worse policies go into effect.

    3. Virtue: signaled

      Enjoy it

    4. So because you lost one freedom you also lose under Biden you also wanted to lose freedom of reduced taxation, reduced regulations, no GND, etc?

      Sounds like a totally sane plan you have there.

  7. I'm surprised they didn't call for drafting all 18 year olds into this Corps for two years. Given the "overwhelming popularity" of "doing something to stop the death of Mother Earth" I doubt the voters would rise up and punish those calling for involuntary servitude.
    Progressives win because their public intentions tug on our heartstrings and we want to help, while Conservatives' policies mean giving up fun things and making it harder to goof off and accept responsibility.

    1. I'm just glad the mean tweets have stopped.

    2. That's the next step. Add women to the draft pool, then make the CCC an alternative to the Army if you get drafted.

  8. "The new CCC would, among other things, "mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs"

    Hey Tony, do you know what Henry Ford said about opportunity? He knocks at everyone's door, but when they open it he is wearing overalls and looks a lot like hard work. But this gig should be easy, just show up most of the time and lean on a shovel and sort of look like you're gonna do something with it. Think you can manage that?

    1. You think the CCC jobs will involve shovels?
      I'm suspecting they will include a lot bureaucrats to vet and study new proposals, and a lot of monitors to go around seeing how much carbon people use, and issuing fix-it tickets.

      1. You are correct; it will be one environmental impact study after another. Shovels and other implements that involve actual work won't even be in it.

        Boon doggle

        1. Not so! You guys are wrong. There will be fat contracts to hand out for minimal work. Like $15k* to “clear brush and debris” from an area where a new road sign is to go up. (Another $15k to put up the sign.)

          *2011 cost to the state of WA per the Seattle times. Probably twice that now.

          Just get in on the graft and stop bitching! Haha.

  9. A Jobs-Killing Civilian Climate Corps Is Not the Way To Fix Climate Change

    They don't care. Fixing the climate was never the point.

    1. Only insane people think you can fix what the climate has been doing for the entire life of the planet.

  10. Well, if the want people to work for this new CCC they'd better stop paying them to stay home.

    1. Especially since $130 billion for 1.5 million employees over 5 years is $17,333 a year.

      Then no one will sign up with all the unemployment dollars they want to make permanent. They'll have to double, no triple!, the funding to provide high paying, public sector union jobs and they just created a self-sustaining class of do-nothing jobs that reliably vote Democratic. Meanwhile, there will continue to be climate related disasters and after each one that part of the bureaucracy will demand more employees and higher pay to save the planet.

      This is the post-9/11 DHS and military script for climate warriors.

      1. They can't possibly be self-sustaining unless they are given some kind of method of extracting money from those they are supposed to monitor.
        Otherwise it will be nothing but another theft of the working man's money to pay useless bureaucrats.
        Eventually, you're going to run out of that working man's money.

      2. $130 billion That's just seed money. They'll want MORE. They always do.

  11. Whatever they call it, the CCC is the Civilian Control Corps.

    1. They need to add something... the Civilian Control Corps of Peace

      CCCP ftw

      1. +1

  12. Interesting, then, that accused pussy grabber Joe Biden is encouraging OPEC to increase exports of oil to the US to pre-pandemic levels. He’s also having domestic oil companies investigated for price gouging.

    1. Correction: Pussy penetrator Zhou Bai-din.

  13. None of the hundreds of billions in new spending (and either new taxes or new debt to cover it) will change the climate at all, in any measurable way.

    It will create thousands of new government employees, to join the 87,000 new IRS employees Biden is planning to bring on board to scrutinize how any small business made it through the lockdowns.

    Which is the real point, and will allow Biden to say he created tens of thousands of new high paying jobs.

    1. In Western Europe, the progressive wing’s utopia, government employees make up about 1/3 of their workforces. In America, counting federal state, city and county employment, it’s somewhere around 15%. Also, they get 7 weeks vacation and can retire at 60.
      The progressive fringe are so clueless they think the healthcare and education there is “free”.
      What they don’t understand is that “free” stuff means they pay over 60% income tax each week, 120% if they’re married living on 2 incomes. Sales tax is 25% and the yearly auto excise tax can be a few grand a year.
      Oh, and gasoline is $5.80 a gallon.
      Yup, it’s “free”.

      1. Here, on the west coast, our gasoline prices are close to that, already.

  14. They are running into the ground as fast as they can.

    Prepare as best you can; it's gonna have to hurt before anything changes, if then.

    1. Didn't you listen to the mostly peaceful protesters?

      "This is what democracy looks like!"

      (Bonus: "no borders, no wall: no USA at all")

      1. It’s time to purge the progs.

  15. As an independent voter from Massachusetts, what we refer to here as being an “unenrolled” voter, I’ll tell you for certain my Senator Ed Markey is as bright as a 2 watt lightbulb and would be in way over his head making a ham sandwich. Add him and AOC together and their combined IQ lands about 3 molecules above a chimp’s.
    It’s been shown repeatedly a disproportionate amount of GHG emissions are coming from China and India, as the USA has been lowering them. What part of that simple fact do these two simpletons not understand?
    This is idiocy and, with the exception of Reason and a few others, the media just plays along like the cluelessness fools they are.
    Foolishness like this will kill our economy and the cost of it will hit the working-class the hardest.
    I heard a millennial say AOC will be president some day because she “represents what we want”. I feel sorry for my millennial son and nieces and nephews because their future doesn’t look so bright.

  16. Why no picture of Markey? Like AOC, he’s a brave visionary fighter for the people also…

    … who’s been in congress 45 fucking years.

  17. Wait, wait, you mean left libertarians aren't slobbering all over the Biden and AOC reign of terror? I thought orange tweety bird was the bad guy here.

  18. It’s almost like we need to limit
    Immigration of low IQ Latinas.

  19. CCC representative....

    Oh never-mind all those tons of smoke from forest fires so thick in the sky the temperature dropped 20-degrees... Save the trees, kill the fuel, cut off your electricity, go back to the horse & wagon and windmill days and let the forest BURN!!!

    1. And in other news; Obama's new diesel pollution mandate stops emergency fire trucks in their tracks. BURN baby BURN!

  20. Climate Change. Sure. Want to see some real climate change? See A History of Britain - The Humans Arrive (1 Million BC - 8000 BC)

    What these shrieking faux religious hysterics are going on about today is weather, not climate change. If they saw real climate change, they'd all jump off a bridge and it would be a blessing for humanity.

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