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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 2/22/21

Fossil Fuel Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein on Deadly Deregulation & Why Texas Needs the Green New Deal

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Millions of Texans are still suffering after severe winter weather devastated the state's energy and water systems. About 8 million Texans remain under orders to boil water, and 30,000 homes still have no power. Around 70 deaths have now been linked to the winter storms, including at least 12 people who died inside their homes after losing heat. Republican lawmakers in Texas are facing increasing criticism for their handling of the crisis, their decades-long push to deregulate the state's energy system, and their unfounded attacks on renewable energy and the Green New Deal.

Naomi Klein, senior correspondent at The Intercept and a professor at Rutgers University, says Republicans' reaction is "because of panic" over their own culpability. "The Green New Deal is a plan that could solve so many of Texas's problems and the problems across the country, and Republicans have absolutely nothing to offer except for more deregulation, more privatization, more austerity." Klein also discusses the Biden administration's early policies on the climate crisis, the dangers of continued fossil fuel development, and her new book, "How to Change Everything."

Transcript

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AMY GOODMAN: Today, we'll start in Texas, where millions are still suffering after severe winter weather devastated the state's energy and water systems. About 8 million Texans remain under orders to boil water. About 30,000 homes still have no power. President Biden has declared a major disaster in 77 counties. Around 70 deaths have now been linked to the winter storms, mostly in Texas, including at least 12 people who died inside their homes after losing heat, including an 11-year-old boy named Cristian Pavón, who froze to death in his bed in his family's mobile home in Conroe, Texas. In Sugar Land, Texas, three children and their grandmother died in a fire while trying to stay warm during the blackout.

Republican lawmakers in Texas are facing increasing criticism for their handling of the crisis, as well as their decades-long push to deregulate the state's energy system. Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz faced outcry for flying to Cancún, Mexico, to stay at the Ritz-Carlton while millions of Texans were suffering. Cruz initially blamed the trip on his 10- and 12-year-old daughters. On Sunday, protesters brought a mariachi band to play outside his home in Houston.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has used the crisis as a way to attack the Green New Deal by falsely claiming the state's partial reliance on renewable energy was to blame for the blackouts.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT: This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America. Texas is blessed with multiple sources of energy, such as natural gas and oil and nuclear, as well as solar and wind. But you saw, from what Trace said, and that is, our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid. And that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power in a statewide basis.

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to Governor Abbott's claim by writing, quote, "The real 'deadly deal' is his failed leadership." Over the weekend, Ocasio-Cortez traveled to Texas to help relief efforts. On Saturday, she volunteered at a food bank in Houston. So far, she's helped raised over $5 million for Texans impacted by the storms.

To talk more about the crisis in Texas, we're joined by Naomi Klein, senior correspondent at The Intercept, professor at Rutgers University, along with Juan Gonza'lez. She has just written a piece in The New York Times headlined "Why Texas Republicans Fear the Green New Deal." And she is author of several books. Her most recent is the one that's coming out tomorrow, How to Change Everything: The Young Human's Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other. Her previous books include The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and This Changes Everything.

Naomi, welcome back to Democracy Now! Talk about the Republican leadership of Texas blaming this catastrophe on what hasn't even happened yet, and that is the Green New Deal.

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