Green New Deal

Andy’s Green New Deal Timeline:


1750 (Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide level was 280 ppm) – Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide at 280 parts per million (ppm), the highest level achieved during the time of preindustrial humanity. For at least the last 2.1 million years, in-and-out of ice-age glaciation periods that can last 100,000 years, the full range of atmospheric CO2 was between 170-297 ppm, with the peaks averaging at 280 ppm. The atmosphere is currently between 411-415 ppm, increasing at an accelerating rate of 3 ppm per year.

1957 (CO2 was 315 ppm) – Roger Revelle & Hans Suess published the first scientific research paper announcing and warning of the “Greenhouse Effect.”

“The last time that I was here I talked about the responsibility [sic] of climatic changes due to the changing carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere . . . it is fairly easy to predict that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere could easily increase by about 20 percent. This might, in fact, make a considerable change in the climate. It would mean that the lines of equal temperature on the earth would move north and the lines of equal rainfall would move north and that southern California and a good part of Texas, instead of being just barely livable as they are now, would become real deserts.” 

Roger Revelle

1957-1958 – Roger Revelle and many others launched International Geophysical Year (IGY), which included the first significant research in Antarctica by scientists from around the world.

1957 – Andy Caffrey was born. Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide at ~315 parts per million (ppm), an increase of 35 ppm since the preindustrial high of 280 ppm.

1956-1958 – Roger Revelle and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) set up the Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Program with Charles Keeling and began measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at Mauna Loa Observatory.

1962 (CO2 was 318 ppm) – John Hollin’s research warns that atmospheric warming-caused sea-level rise could break up Antarctica’s ice shelves.

1964 (CO2 was 320 ppm) – A.T. Wilson proposed a theory that inland Antarctic ice is inherently unstable. He suggested that it builds up during Pleistocene interglacial periods, the decades with the greatest global warmth and strongest wind circulation. At some point, the bottom of the ice sheets reaches a pressure melting point which combined with heating from the constant geothermal heat flux from Earth’s interior initiates a massive surge of ice. As the ice starts to flow, friction causes the base to heat up even more and the movement gathers momentum unleashing most of the ice sheet onto and into the Southern Ocean.

1965 (CO2 was 320 ppm) – J.T. Hollin suggested that a surge might start from one of the least mountainous sectors of the coast of Antarctica, but it would capture the drainage of half of half the ice sheet, reducing the thickness in half and spreading a 200 meter thick ice shelf out over the ocean all the way to 55 degrees S. He pointed to what happened at the end of the last two interglacial periods when sea level went up 6 meters and 25 meters. Frozen remains of whole animals suggest they were very rapid, disastrous events.

1970 (CO2 was 326 ppm) – First Earth Day, April 22, 1970.

1973-1976 (CO2 was 330-332 ppm) – Andy was a student (1973), then a teacher’s assistant (1974), and then an assistant instructor (1976) for Barry E. Shapiro at the Institute for Inshore Marine Biology. From that training, Andy developed his Tidepool Analogy for determining the limits of climate change that Earth’s ecosystems can tolerate. Because of the twice-daily retreat of the tides leaving exposed tidepools that heat up and become saltier, creatures in tidepools evolved wider tolerances to temperature, salinity, and pH changes than open ocean creatures since they have experienced these bigger changes.

The planet’s ecosystems and their creatures that evolved during the last 2.5 million years of the Pleistocene epoch have only experienced carbon dioxide changes in the range of 170-297 ppm. Normally 280 ppm is the top limit, so Andy argues that we can not presume that these ecosystems can tolerate prolonged immersion in carbon dioxide limits above 280 ppm. This is why he has called for a crash program to get off fossil fuels in ten years to get us back to 280 ppm as fast as possible. This is the basis of his critique of the 350 organization: getting back to 350 ppm is still way above the tolerances of our 170-280 ecosystems as they have evolved over the entire Pleistocene epoch of the last 2.5 million years, so not supported by science.

1975 (CO2 was 331 ppm) – Andy briefly attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. This would later give Andy the insight that since becoming an officer is perceived to be crucial to maintaining our national security–all expenses were covered for midshipman: health care, gym, clothing, housing, books, and food to the point that Andy was fed Cornish game hens for lunch–if the climate crisis is perceived as a national security threat, then the expanded social safety net for all U.S. citizens would be fully justified and funded. Cost is no option to Americans when it comes to protecting national security.

Andy and his squad mates of Echo Company at Annapolis, July 1975

1975-1981 (CO2 was 331-340 ppm) – Andy was a student at UC San Diego and had a number of Scripps Institution of Oceanography professors, including Roger Revelle who taught Andy and his classmates about the Greenhouse Effect in chemistry class, Fall 1975. A few years later Professor Revelle would point out that the global temperature curve made a sharp bend upwards in 1976, redirecting the planet away from the next ice age glacial period. that was an important reason they became alarmed about hunab-induced climate change

Andy trained and was NAUI-certified as a Divemaster for the UCSD SCUBA club, the Sea Deucers, and as a member worked on Scripps’ research project with lobsters. Andy was also employed in the SIO machine shop where he worked with professors and other scientists to machine their deep-sea research equipment, such as manganese nodule collectors.

Andy later worked up the road at the Salk Institute operating their photographic processing lab. He worked taking groups of children on “Outward Bound”-type camping trips outside of San Diego with the Boojum Institute and was a group leader for the Contemporary Issues program’s course, The Wilderness and Human Values. He studied Conservation Biology with Michael Soule and earned a minor in Scientific Perspectives.

Ohio State University Institute of Polar Studies Senior Research Scientist John Mercer (1922-1987)

1978 (CO2 was 335 ppm) – John Mercer (1922-1987)

1980 (CO2 was 339 ppm) – Andy became one of the world’s first Greenhouse Effect grassroots activists in the first U.S. green party, the Citizens Party. The Citizens Party came together to run an environmentalist for president, Barry Commoner. A Native American woman, LaDonna Harris, was his running mate. Andy was elected twice to the steering committee of the San Diego County Citizens Party chapter.

He was also the San Diego County petitioning campaign director for the Citizens Party’s 1982 Affordable Housing initiative which, if passed, would have grabbed half of President Reagan’s tax cuts for the rich and created a renewing pool of low-income housing loans for lower and middle-class Californians. Andy worked as a staff petitioner for several progressive and ecological ballot initiatives such as the bottle recycling bill sponsored by Californians Against Waste and the Split-Roll Property Tax initiative.

Once he moved to the Bay Area he would canvas for Nuclear Freeze Voter, raising money to contribute to pro-Nuclear Freeze Senate and Congressional candidates, helping elect Democratic Illinois Senator Paul Simon in 1984. He was also a canvasser for CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with El Salvador) to fight Reagan’s death squad wars in Central America.

Building the Green Movement by co-founding German Fundi Green Rudolf Bahro (1986). This is Andy’s favorite book on Green politics.

1980-1984 (CO2 was 339-345 ppm) – The German Green party, UK Ecology Party, and Austrian and New Zealand Green parties were founded by activists at the same time as the Citizens party and frequently exchanged activists to get to know, inspire, learn and work with each other. They declared the Citizens party their sister Green party in the U.S. Andy worked to produce events in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area with German Greens Petra Kelly, Rudolf Bahro, and others of the Fundi Green movement, especially when delegations from those four nations came to the Citizens Party San Francisco national presidential convention in 1984.

One of the main slogans of the German Green party at that time was: “We are neither left nor right; we are in front.” 2020 Libertarian Democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang is now unapologetically plagiarizing it when he professes, “I am neither left nor right but forward.”

Andy was profoundly influenced by Bahro’s speeches and writings and developed his own politics along the same lines, becoming himself, at this point, the lone American Fundi Green! Even when running for Congress in the last decade, registered in the Democratic party, Andy’s politics have always remained Fundi Green.

1982 (CO2 was 341 ppm) – The San Diego County steering committee of the Citizens party took on the role of running the San Diego County Gore Vidal for U.S. Senate campaign against Jerry Brown in the California Democratic Party primary. Vidal was advocating for a Constitutional Convention to convert the U.S. legislative system to a parliamentary system so that with 5% of the national vote, third parties such as the Citizens Party–and later the Green Party–could enter the national legislature, as is the case of almost every other major democracy in the world. That’s the only reason Greens can get elected to the federal government: it ONLY works in nations with parliaments.

Andy Caffrey in 1981 petitioning outside a San Diego FedMart store for the California Bottle Bill initiative and recruiting people into the Citizens party (see button on his jacket).

1985-1988 (CO2 was 346-352 ppm) – Andy was a founding member and coordinator for the East Bay Green Alliance in the second national effort to create a U.S. Green party. A day before he joined EBGA, he joined up with the Earth First! direct action movement. In 1987 Andy founded the Berkeley Greens which met at Shared Visions event center where Andy worked with New Age radio host Will Noffke.

The Berkeley Greens was the first Earth First! Green party group and organized the anti-Frostban GMO microbe campaign, the first grassroots and direct action campaign against genetic engineering. In 1987 Andy hosted a weekly Green Politics radio show, Continuum, broadcast out of Shared Visions on an AM mostly-Christian radio station, co-produced with Will Noffke. Andy also worked on several Berkeley rent-control campaigns.

Andy Caffrey poses in the yard at Berkeley’s Shared Visions with future Climate Action NOW! co-founder, evolutionary biologist, and wilderness advocate David Seaborg after broadcasting his first episode of Continuum, perhaps the first Green Politics radio show in the nation, winter 1987.

The EBGA hosted monthly lectures on Green politics including talks on the Mondragon Co-ops in Basque, Spain, Bill Mollison on Permaculture, Michael Linton on the LETS system barter network, Richard Register on Green City designs, and Peter Berg of the Planet Drum Foundation on Bioregionalism as well as talks on Eco-Feminism and ranked-choice voting, and other alternatives for democratizing our country, such as Ecotopia author Ernest Callenbach on the Citizen legislature.
Andy also became friends with and worked closely in the EBGA and later at Shared Visions with both Charlene Spretnak and Fritjof Capra, authors of the first U.S. Green politics book, Green Politics: The Global Promise (1984).

1986 (CO2 was 347 ppm) – Andy became roommates with independent researcher Larry Ephron who hired Andy as the research assistant for Larry’s book, The End: The Imminent Ice Age and How We Can Stop It, one of the first books published about the greenhouse effect, one year before Bill McKibben’s 1989 book The End of Nature. (Despite being informed of this and four other books on the topic published before The End of Nature, McKibben still falsely claims in interviews that he wrote the first book on the topic!).

The earliest book Andy has seen on the Greenhouse Effect is Future Weather and the Greenhouse Effect: A Book About Carbon Dioxide, Climate, and Mankind by John Gribbin published in 1982.

Andy also contributed to Ephron’s movie, Stopping the Coming Ice Age. Both the book and the movie were about the greenhouse effect from the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Larry and cohorts working with Alden Bryant and Earth Regeneration Society (ERS) were working to stop fossil-fuel use by industrial society as fast as possible and to restore carbon sinks in nature and remineralize agriculture because of the greenhouse effect. However, they concluded that mass tropical atmospheric water vapor formation would migrate to the poles and increase snow accumulation in the higher latitudes leading to the next ice age glaciation period.

Shortly after becoming roommates with Ephron, one night in 1986 they were having a conversation about how “greenhouse effect” and “global warming” were misleading or useless as labels for mobilizing action. Andy coined “climate crisis” and “climate destabilization” that night and has been disseminating them ever since. He’s still waiting for activists and politicians to use climate destabilization, although Alden Bryant and Earth Regeneration Society would incorporate it in the first published prototype of a Green New Deal, Whose World to Lose? (1992)

1986-2018 (CO2 was 347-409 ppm) – Andy met, worked with, and became friends with his climate comrades Alden Bryant, Don Weaver, Fred Wood, Howard Jeter, and others of Earth Regeneration Society, who had a loose association with Larry Ephron. Larry and ERS were all advocates of remineralizing the oceans and soils of Earth based on the John D. Hamaker Theory that global warming would accelerate re-entry into a Pleistocene glaciation cycle. Andy & they became partners in developing the first two prototypes of the Green New Deal.

Andy sits on sofa in basement flat where he lived with author Larry Ephron from 1986-1988 and coined the meme “climate crisis.”

1987 (CO2 was 349 ppm) – Andy Caffrey was a featured speaker at the first U.S. Green Party national convention hosted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA, June 1987. He discussed lessons and organizing potential learned from the Berkeley Greens’ anti-Frostban campaign working with Earth First! He also debated and won three debates against Murray Bookchin and his social ecology cultists, including Howie Hawkins, who had launched a gaslight campaign against Earth First! and the deep ecology movement.

He was also a featured speaker at the first two Eco-feminist conferences at USC and the University of Oregon in Eugene later in the year.

Andy Caffrey addresses assembly at first U.S. Green Party national convention, U Mass-Amherst 1987.
Photo by Orna Izakson.

1988 (CO2 was 352 ppm) – Celestial Arts published Larry Ephron’s book, The End: The Imminent Ice Age & How We Can Stop It! While the emphasis of the book is on technical methods of reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and calls for massive lifestyle changes in middle-class economies, it includes some prototype ideas for an urgent Green New Deal-scale program, largely funded by employee pension funds.

“We have to declare a global emergency and create the institutions we need to get us through this [rapid decarbonization] period. Institutions like a guaranteed minimum income for everyone, enough to buy food, pay reasonable rent and meet other basic necessities. Institutions like an intensive revival of local agriculture, which will provide new jobs, build up local economies, minimize the use of fossil fuels in moving, refrigerating, and packaging food and bring our food production close to home…

“It means seeing the environmental crisis as comparable to a major war or depression, in which no sacrifice is too great for the common good, no idea too radical if it gets the job done. Americans… have done equally remarkable things before–creating federal jobs for millions of people during the depression… mounting during the war the biggest industrial effort the world had ever seen… getting millions of women to work in factories for the first time… We are quite capable of making such massive changes if we decide that we need them for our own survival… The UN can play a central role in helping organize this worldwide effort.”

“We should also create CO2 Councils at every level, whose members are representatives of labor, industry, environmental groups across the spectrum, citizens, consumer groups, and government. [They] would participate in making policy decisions and would help coordinate planning nationally and in their regions… States and individual cities could create their own CO2 Boards, to work with the Councils in making and carrying out relevant policies under the direction of state and city governments.”

“Rather than… dividing up the country geographically, the Energy Districts might be created to match natural bioregions–common watershed areas, climatic and vegetation regions…”

“We have to put tremendous pressure on our local and national governments–an irresistible tidal wave of letters, phone calls, petitions, personal lobbying and demonstrations–which should quickly convince them that we are indeed in an emergency of unprecedented proportions, and that they have to begin immediately to do everything in their power to bring down the CO2 fast. And if we don’t get a quick response, we have to raise the ante.”

Larry Ephron, The End: The Imminent Ice Age & How We Can Stop it (1988)
In 1988 author Larry Ephron called for a mass movement of millions of Americans to respond to the climate crisis with direct actions against politicians and economic interests similar to the anti-Vietnam War movement, including climate strikes at schools and anti-property actions to raise the costs of climate inaction.

1988 (CO2 was 352 ppm) – Dr James Hansen, physicist and director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies from 1981-2013 testified before the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 23, 1988. Hansen testified that “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming… It is already happening now” and “The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now… We already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important.”

Hansen said that NASA was 99% confident that the warming was caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and not a random fluctuation. He said the Earth had become warmer in the past 20 years than at any other time on record. [from wikipedia]

1988 (CO2 was 352 ppm) – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and was later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly. 

1988-1989 (CO2 was 352-353 ppm) – on December 9, 1988, in New York City, Alden Bryant and Earth Regeneration Society presented a paper at the United Nations “Earth Regeneration and the Environment” conference. Bryant’s paper, “Human Rights, Environment and Climate Stabilization,” “emphasized that emergency measures beyond anything imagined in the past must be taken to protect human societies.” Bryant was to Andy’s knowledge, the first to use the term “climate emergency,” in an ERS January 5, 1989 press release and probably earlier.

Alden Bryant’s press release presents “climate emergency” for the first time.

1989 (CO2 was 353 ppm) – Andy travelled as tour videographer and record producer with Australian founder of the Rainforest Information Centre and the World Rainforest Movement John Seed’s Tropical Rainforest Roadshow of the west coast of the U.S. and Canada. One of their stops was at the Stein Valley Festival in British Columbia where they were both transformed into major climate campaigners from watching David Suzuki’s Kick-Ass call for Climate Action NOW! activism at the festival which Andy videotaped.

John Seed closed his tropical rainforest deforestation presentations with a call for a war effort to deindustrialize the modern economies of the world, “Nothing less than a huge mobilization as if for war, will be enough to protect the rainforests.”

David Suzuki rants to recruit climate campaigners in 1989 at Stein Valley Festival in British Columbia, a rant that changed Andy’s life!

1989 (CO2 was 353 ppm) – William McKibben begins publishing a series, “The End of Nature,” in the September 11, 1989 issue of The New Yorker. It includes an early magazine essay warning of the global warming threat to society and the environment. His book of the same name comes out by the end of the year. McKibben, to this day, claims it is the first book published warning of global warming. This is not true. There are at least ten books published prior to his.

After writing this book, McKibben kept writing books on various topics but failed to join the climate action movement for 18 years. He ignored or refused to help other climate activists, some of whom were warning about polar ice sheet collapse until he started his own group in 2007. By that time CO2 had jumped from 353 ppm to 384 ppm (104 ppm above preindustrial peak).

To this day he claims the climate action movement began 20 years after it was launched by activists in the San Francisco Bay Area, with his own 2007 project. He simply wipes out twenty years of history. Too Little Too Late, Bill McKibben! As of 2019, he still ignores that the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and 20-feet of rapid sea-level rise this century is now “unstoppable,” and pretends that the coastal civilization of 132 nations can be saved. It can’t. He should stop misleading people. he needs to call out the climate denialists as traitors who caused the collapse of the cryosphere.

1980-1989 (CO2 was 339-353 ppm) – Numerous record-breaking high-temperature years per decade begins. The six hottest years of the previous 110 years were in the 1980s.

1989 (CO2 was 353 ppm) – The George H.W. Bush presidential administration invents “greenhouse denial syndrome.” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief William Reilly over-ruled by Bush, his Chief of Staff John Sununu, and science advisor Allen Bromley. The US attends Netherlands climate meeting to scuttle goal. White House promotes greenhouse-effect denialist climate report by Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI aka Star Wars anti-nuclear weapons shield proposal) scientists William Nierenberg, Robert Jastrow, and Frederick Seitz of The George C. Marshall Institute.

1990 (CO2 was 354 ppm) – George Woodwell of the Woods Hole Research Center tells David Suzuki that their research shows that by 2000, “we’d have to reduce fossil-fuel use by 75 or 80 percent to get to the point where we are no longer building up carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from that source… The reduction has to be started right now, it cannot be started soon enough. It’s a bit late for discussion and time for action.”

1990 (CO2 was 354 ppm) – “… Beijer Institute in Stockholm, the U.N. Environment Program, the World Meteorological Organization, the Worldwatch Institute, the World Resources Institute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Sierra Club, the Woods Hole Research Center, and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlined strategies for fighting global warming. Each group independently concluded that action should be taken immediately.”

The EPA states that “in order to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide at current levels [~350 ppm], carbon emissions must be cut by 50 to 80 percent.”

In May 1990 the IPCC “warned that if carbon dioxide emissions are not cut by 60% immediately, the changes in the next 60 years will be so rapid that nature will be unable to adapt and man incapable of controlling them.”

“With those figures in mind, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and chair of 1988 Toronto international climate conference Stephen Lewis says… The major policy of the Western world has to be ‘to virtually eliminate dependence on fossil fuels overall, as fast as humanly possible to achieve.'” [all quotes from Gordon & Suzuki, It’s A Matter of Survival]

1990 (CO2 was 354 ppm) – Anita Gordon & David Suzuki produced the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio series It’s A Matter of Survival from interviews they conducted with dozens of the world’s top environmental scientists about the current threats to the biosphere. They published a book with the same title which provoked Andy to write the first Green New Deal in 1991.

In the book, they cited three climate reports published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Woods Hole Research Center, and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which indicated that humans must reduce atmospheric Greenhouse Gas levels to 50-80% below 1990 levels by 2000-2005.

Andy looked into history to try to find some way in the past that masses of humans organized themselves to make such massive changes to their societies with great urgency in a relatively short period of time and came up with FDR’s New Deal as a model. In 1991, Andy launched the call for a Green New Deal. This was before the World Wide Web, so it was not published at the time.

These three reports were the basis for the Green New Deal call to reduce global fossil-fuel emissions 80% over a ten-year period since they only gave us 10-15 years to reduce emissions 80% below 1990 levels.

Andy became frustrated with that name, however, since he and others would often mistakenly say New Green Deal, as Thom Hartmann and pundits at Fox News are wont to do today. That’s not good for a meme.

Over the next couple of years, as Andy studied the New Deal, he realized that it was not the New Deal that so radically changed America’s infrastructure. It was actually the effort to wage World War II that stopped the production of automobiles for almost three years, changed the metals in coins, brought large numbers of women into the workforce, created Victory Gardens, gasoline coupons, and mandatory recycling. So Andy began to call it a “War Effort to Convert from fossil fuels in ten years.”

As a Green party member, Andy felt that using a war-waging metaphor for a meme would be unpopular among Greens and other activists of the Left. That problem was solved when Andy learned that the “war effort” was launched by FDR signing a call for a National Emergency in 1941. So, ever since, Andy has been calling for a presidential Climate National Emergency Declaration to rebuild our national infrastructure around bioregions to get off fossil fuels in ten years, including in the first published GND in 1996.

Gordon and Suzuki expressed in the book the first warning Andy had read about concerns over the instability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet ad 16 feet of sea level rise:

With global warming will come a rise in sea level of as much as 1.5 meters (5 ft.)… Warming at the North Pole will free water now trapped in glaciers and icecaps, raising sea level even more. And if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet starts to slide into the ocean, the world could be looking at a 4.9 meter (16 ft.) rise in sea level.

For years glacial mapping and radar surveys have suggested that the ice, a slab the size of India, is dangerously unstable. The fear is that global warming would weaken it further and set large chunks of it moving.

“We’re facing a problem of survival that represents a threat to the planet as great as, or perhaps greater than, the threat of nuclear war,” cautions Jim McNeil, secretary general of the 1987 Brundtland Commission on the Environment.

Something in the order of a third of the world’s population and more than a third of the world’s economic infrastructure are concentrated in coastal regions with altitudes below 1.5 meters (5 ft.)

“All that is at risk over the next 40 to 60 years,” says McNeil. Whole nations are at risk. A country like the Maldives… and many other island countries are no more than 1.5 to 2 meters (5 to 6.5 ft.) above sea level. Today more than 75 percent of Americans–more than 180 million people–live within 80 kilometers (50 mi.) of a coast.

Andy’s first visit to Andy’s home after the October 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm. Photo by Rick Childs

1991 (CO2 was 356 ppm) – Andy and friends lost their home in the Oakland, CA Firestorm as a result of repeated droughts from global warming. A year later he developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the following year, he became homeless for what would become five years. In 1999, Andy’s write-up about his experience would be published in a book by Oilwatch/ASEED, Cold Catches Fire: Essays, Poems & Stories Against Climate Catastrophe, to hand out to delegates at COP 5 in Bonn, Germany in 1999. You can read that story here:

“A Change in the Wind: Climate Change and Human Trauma”
by Andy Caffrey

1992 (CO2 was 356 ppm) – Alden Bryant and Earth Regeneration Society published, based on the Hamaker Theory call to remineralize the world’s soils and oceans to prevent the next ice age, a Green New Deal prototype in a book, Whose World to Lose?

On February 4, 1992, Congressman Ron Dellums introduces into the 102nd Congress the ERS-authored legislation, H.R. 4154 Emergency Climate Stabilization and Earth Regeneration Act of 1992. The National Academy of Sciences submits an Unfavorable Executive Comment on the legislation, likely due to the call to massively remineralize soils and the oceans.

The legislation called on the federal government to develop national and international programs to, “create and develop a secure, environmentally sustainable way of life consistent with long-term climate stabilization… Establishes a Council on Climate Stabilization and Earth Regeneration as an independent Federal agency…” It provided for Federal, State, and local climate stabilization plans.

This qualifies H.R. 4154 Emergency Climate Stabilization and Earth Regeneration Act of 1992 as the first introduced Green New Deal legislation.

Whose World to Lose? called for a “crisis program… [for] rapid replacement of fossil fuels with alternative technology development (not nuclear or waste incinerators) …to deal with “the three basic environmental conditions of our lives (pollution, ozone, climate)… Their solution must now be combined into one massive jobs, alternative technology and investment program. This is a global action, which must be backed up with global attention to the life needs of all populations: housing, food, health, education, land, jobs, peace and justice.”

Does this qualify Whose World to Lose? as the first published Green New Deal? It was never called “Green New Deal” but was inspired by FDR and The New Deal. It did point out that we were already in a “climate emergency.” It included climate emergency legislation introduced by Congressman Ron Dellums.

Solution: One package

Require that the U.S.: 1) Stop pollution and clean up hazardous wastes, 2) Do its share to protect the (high) ozone layer, 3) Take the lead for global climate stabilization.

On a foundation of full employment and meeting the basic needs for food, health care, housing, education and social justice.

We emphasize the need for full employment, transition, retraining, new technology, re-investment in most sectors of industry, and funding from (a) military budgets, (b) utility energy technology construction, (c) reduced welfare, unemployment, illness and crime costs, and (d) a necessary revised tax structure.

Alden Bryant and Fred Bernard Wood, Earth Regeneration Society, Whose World to Lose? (1992)

1992 (CO2 was 356 ppm) – In January, Al Gore published his book Earth in the Balance–which concludes with a call for a Global Marshall Plan–and traveled to Berkeley to read from the book at Black Oak Books. Andy was very impressed with Gore and had a lengthy chat with him after the reading. This is when Andy passed on the meme “climate crisis” to Gore when he asked Gore about the three reports in David Suzuki’s book.

“Oh! I saw David two weeks ago. He’s a friend of mine,” said Gore.

Andy continued, “Well, he cites reports of the IPCC, the EPA, and the Woods Hole Research Center all saying we have to get our fossil-fuel emissions 50-80% below 1990 levels by 2000-2005. Do you think capitalism can handle such a rapid change?”

Gore responded, “Well, I think, if we start the process now, by the time the ten years is up, we will have found a way to do that.”

Andy has been dumbfounded by this incredibly naive and lame comment ever since.

Just a few months later, Bill Clinton asked Gore to become his vice-presidential running mate. They won. They had the White House for eight years but they never passed a single climate bill. Instead of sending Gore on a national educational climate crisis teach-in tour (like Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth tour ten years later) so that we could pass climate legislation, in 1997 Clinton sent Gore to Kyoto to gut the Kyoto Protocol, which Clinton signed in 1998, but could never get ratified by the Senate.

So much for Al Gore’s magical thinking about the wonders and capacities for change of capitalism!

Ironically, in the Forward to the 2007 paperback edition–without giving the Black Oak Books conversation with Andy Caffrey credit for the idea–Gore called for “The Coming ‘Environment Decade.'”

However, seventeen years before, the slogan Earth First! used for the 1990 Redwood Summer nonviolent direct-action campaign was, “The 90s are going to make the 60’s look like the 50s: This is where the 90s Begin!” The Environment Decade Earth First! was waging already happened! And it was against what would for eight of those years be the Bill Clinton-Al Gore Decade. We were waging an environmental decade of action but it was against Al Gore! Al Gore was on the wrong side during the Environment Decade!

Seventeen years too late, in 2007 Al Gore wanted an Environment Decade for us to fix what he and Bill and friends in both plutocratic parties destroyed! Now, twelve years after that, Al Gore says he likes the Green New Deal, something written by Andy Caffrey against Clinton-Gore climate politics 28 years ago.

Also, in the original 1992 edition of Earth in the Balance, there is no mention of “climate crisis,” a meme Andy used with Gore during the 1992 bookstore tour by Al Gore when he read in Berkeley. In the forward to the 2006 edition, however, Gore uses “climate crisis” ten times!

In 1992, in the conclusion of his first book, Al Gore called for a Global Marshall Plan. A year earlier, Andy Caffrey launched the cry for a Climate Emergency response Green New Deal to reduce fossil-fuel emissions 80% by 2000-2005.
Al Gore may have published a book calling for a Global Marshall Plan in the 1990s, but environmentalists had to wage an Environment Decade against Bill Clinton & Al Gore at the same time. And we lost to Al Gore & Bill Clinton. Now the polar ice sheets are collapsing because we lost to Gore & Clinton.

1993-1998 (CO2 was 357-367 ppm) – Andy was homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area and southern Humboldt County.

1995 (CO2 was 361 ppm) – While hanging out in the magazine section at Cody’s Books on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, Andy became alarmed when he saw articles and photos in both Time and Newsweek about an iceberg the size of Rhode Island breaking off of a West Antarctic ice shelf. Wondering if this was rare but normal or a result of climate destabilization, Andy then spent months in the Berkeley Public Library reading every peer-reviewed scientific journal article published in the previous ten years about the Antarctic Ice Sheet and ice shelves. What he put together was alarming! He learned about the Madhouse Century!

Are we doing enough to save the earth? How much would it cost to rebuild our entire civilization? Is this the ecological deficit we are leaving for our children?

The magnitude of the climate crisis requires nothing less than an all-out emergency effort to convert western economies away from fossil-fuel dependence. To build a truly sustainable economy and eliminate human interference with global climate cycles… in what must become one of the greatest mobilization efforts in human history.

Andy Caffrey, Climate Action NOW! 1996 web site introduction

1995-1996 (CO2 was 361-363 ppm) – Bay Area forest activist and software engineer Greg Jalbert introduced Andy to Mac computers and the Internet. They co-founded the world’s first grassroots climate direct action group Climate Action NOW! (a meme coined by Andy) with ERS president Alden Bryant, other ERS members, and evolutionary biologist and wilderness advocate David Seaborg.

1995 (CO2 was 361 ppm) – in the year before its publication online, Andy presented the Climate Emergency War Effort to Convert from Fossil Fuels Green New Deal idea to Harry O and a city of San Francisco radio audience in Live 105 FM Modern Rock interview on The Green Hour, Saturday, September 17, 1995.

This is definitive confirmation that Andy Caffrey is the original author and proselytizer of the Climate National Emergency declaration Green New Deal to convert off fossil fuels in ten years.

1995-1996 (CO2 was 361-363 ppm) – Andy & Greg published the CAN! web site at Greg’s web site, including Climate Crisis Journal, introducing to the world both memes: “climate crisis” and “Climate Action NOW!” (capital letters in NOW and exclamation point mandatory–inspired by “Earth First!”)

Andy Caffrey and Alden Bryant at Earth Regeneration Society/Climate Action NOW! HQ in Berkeley, CA where in 1996 Andy edited and published at the Climate Action NOW! web site his now re-named 1991 Suzuki-inspired Green New Deal. Photo circa 1997 by Rick Childs.

1996 (CO2 was 363 ppm) – Andy Caffrey authored and Greg Jalbert published on the Climate Action NOW! web site the world’s first 1991 Suzuki-inspired Green New Deal under the revised title “U.S. Citizens Mandate for Climate Stabilization and Community Well Being.”

By this point–and not when Andy wrote the 1991 GND–the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves were collapsing and had spawned U.S. state-sized icebergs in 1995. Andy had learned about the Madhouse Century’s 20-feet of rapid sea-level rise 120,000 years ago and how it could be happening again now. Rapid sea-level rise and the now-urgent threat of global coastal inundation had to be emphasized obstreperously at the Climate Action NOW! web site.

Andy also wrote and published the Climate Action NOW! Mission Statement at the CAN! website to outline the broader organizing project to support the implementation of this Green New Deal.

Andy believed the meme Green New Deal could be co-opted by corporatist Democrats since its inspiration was originally a liberal Democratic program. The Green New Deal needed to be explicitly anchored to its purpose–a national emergency effort to get the world off fossil fuels before it became too late to restabilize Earth’s climate systems, especially the polar ice sheets–and to maintain community security, stability, and citizen well being in society during this major transmogrification of humanity’s fundamental infrastructure, one that required the complete rapid dismantling of major industrial sectors of the global economy.

1996 (CO2 was 363 ppm) – Alden Bryant and Andy Caffrey developed, and Earth Regeneration Society published, “COPES–The Measuring Stick for the Future.” It evaluated the 1996 presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Robert Dole in five fundamental areas of a Green New Deal: 1) Climate Stabilization in 15 years, 2) Ozone layer protection, 3) Pollution cleanup and replacement of toxic products, 4) (Full) Employment, and 5) Social Support (“Full social support: food, housing, health, education, social justice, or we can not get the work done in time. Cover basic needs for all people in the U.S…. on a crash basis, with restructured tax and income distribution legislation and programs.”)

1997 (CO2 was 364 ppm) – Climate Action NOW! Director Andy Caffrey wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore to plead for them not to gut Kyoto Protocol in upcoming treaty conference. Andy emphasized

 “Some analysts are concerned that persistent, multi-year droughts may increase the likelihood of large brush and timber fires. The 1991 fire near Oakland, California (which caused more than $3 billion in damages) is indicative of the kind of events that could occur with increasing frequency as a result of accelerated greenhouse warming.”

He warned that victims would very likely get PTSD for the rest of their lives.

“So, for me, I look upon Global Warming as a National Security issue of the highest and most urgent concern. And the traitors are still in power. Are you one of them? Is Vice President Gore? As Commander-in-Chief it is your duty to call for an immediate war effort, an effort to defend the property and lives of all Americans, to pursue the goal of achieving the reduction targets of the three reports mentioned in Gordon and Suzuki’s book.”

Anything from you less than a call for sustained, emergency action would be evidence that you are cavorting with the enemy, those who become wealthy from the continued burning of fossil fuels-in four words, I mean the OIL INDUSTRY and the AUTO INDUSTRY (of course, they have too many allies to list).”

Andy Caffrey, Director, Climate Action NOW!

On Sept. 19, 2019, in an interview with Chris Hayes for MSNBC’s special, Climate in Crisis, Al Gore said he supported a symbolic Green New Deal resolution in the way that he valued the Nuclear Freeze Movement of the 1980s. But he didn’t say that the original Climate Emergency Green New Deal published by Climate Action NOW! in 1996 was written to prod Bill Clinton and him to do what it took to keep fossil-fuel industry funded politicians from destroying the planet. Gore didn’t say that he has been covering up the Green New Deal for 22 years! Ever since he got it from Andy Caffrey and Climate Action NOW!

1997 (CO2 was 364 ppm) – President Bill Clinton, a traitor to the planet, sent Al Gore to Kyoto, Japan to subvert and gut the effectiveness and requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. Clinton signed it in 1998, but the Senate never ratified it so it failed to become a treaty binding the United States. So much for the legacy of the Al Gore vice presidency!

1998 (CO2 was 367 ppm) – Earth Island Journal published Andy’s research about the Madhouse Century 120,000 years ago when sea level jumped 20-feet and then fell 50-feet in the 100-year period that initiated the last ice age glaciation cycle. Andy discovered that we were very likely going to bring about a new Madhouse Century because human greenhouse gas emissions were destabilizing the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the likely source of the water that caused the 20-feet of Madhouse Century sea-level rise.

Antarctica’s “Deep Impact” Threat: Is A Madhouse Century Knocking at Our Door?

Ever since this publication, Andy has hoped that new scientific research would show Andy’s hypothesis was wrong, but to date, all of the science is proving him right. On May 12, 2014, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists announced that the total collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is now “unstoppable.” It is now too late to save the coastal civilization of 132 nations with ocean coastlines from at least 20-feet of sea-level rise commencing in the next few decades, or perhaps much sooner.

Andy now changed the call for a Climate National Emergency from an 80% reduction of greenhouse gasses, as he published in 1996, to a 100% reduction of greenhouse gasses in a ten-year period (or as fast as humanly possible) because we must buy humanity as much time as possible to rearrange civilization away from the coasts and give us as much time as possible to decommission the world’s coastal nuclear power plants, which take decades to cool down enough to be relocated from the coasts. This is perhaps humanity’s most critical priority.

This is now the central project of Andy’s work, the Clear the Coasts of Nuclear Power/Climate Emergency Green New Deal roadshow, and the #ClimateCrisis #YearOfOutrage national direct action campaign.

It wasn’t until 2018 that peer-reviewed science presented at a December 2018 meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C. confirmed Andy was correct in his Earth Island Journal Madhouse Century article 20 years earlier to point to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet as the cause of the Madhouse Century, now dated to 125,000 years ago.

1998 (CO2 was 367 ppm) – Internationally respected physicist and author Dr. Michio Kaku (Pacifica and Fox News science analyst) was the only scientist to interview Andy about his 1998 warning that global warming was accelerating the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, threatening 20-feet of rapid sea-level rise coming in the next 50 years and another Madhouse Century, as happened 120,000 years ago.

As you can hear in this Pacifica interview of Kaku’s science show, “Explorations,” everything Andy predicted has been proved correct. On May 12, 2014, NASA-JPL-UC scientists announced that the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is now “unstoppable.”

Andy also proposed in the interview a World War II-type climate national emergency conversion Andy originally called, and is now popularized as the Green New Deal.

The program was broadcast over the Pacifica network on May 5, 1998, 12 years before the Green party would put together its first Green New Deal in August 2010.

Photo by Rick Childs

1999 (CO2 was 368 ppm) –  Andy’s write-up about his post-1991 Oakland Firestorm climate refugee experience was published in a book, Cold Catches Fire: Essays, Poems & Stories Against Climate Catastrophe, by Oilwatch/ASEED to give to all the delegates at COP 5 in Bonn, Germany. You can read that story here:

“A Change in the Wind: Climate Change and Human Trauma”
by Andy Caffrey


Continue to part 2 of Andy’s Green New Deal Timeline: From Climate Emergency to a New Green America! (under construction)

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