Green New Deal

Andy’s Green New Deal Timeline:


1750 – Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide at 280 parts per million (ppm), the highest level achieved during the time of preindustrial humanity.

1957 – 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.

1975-1981 – 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.

1980 – 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.

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

1980-1984 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 – 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 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 Will Noffke. It 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 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 – 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!)

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!

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

1987 – 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.

1989 – Andy traveled 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.

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

1990 – 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.

Photo by Rick Childs

1991 – 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 – Al Gore published his book Earth in the Balance 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!

1993-1998 – Andy was homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area and southern Humboldt County.

1995 – 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 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 – 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 Green New Deal.

1995-1996 – 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 Andy edited and published the first Green New Deal in 1996. Photo circa 1997 by Rick Childs.

1996 – Andy Caffrey authored and Greg Jalbert published on the Climate Action NOW! web site the world’s first Green New Deal under the new title “U.S. Citizens Mandate for Climate Stabilization and Community Well Being.”

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 and that 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 and to maintain community security, stability, and citizen well being in society during this major transmogrification of humanity’s fundamental infrastructure which required the complete rapid dismantling of major industrial sectors of the global economy.

1997 – 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.

1998 – Earth Island Journal publishes 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.

1998 – 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 –  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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